The Sweet Beauty of Failure

Our Commander is this cool guy who wants to capitalize on social media. He challenged us to create videos about how we inspire wellness in our department.

I’ve responed by writing a hip hop song about sanitizing your hands.

It’s about as goofy as it sounds and I believe there’s some decent humor in it. The whole process has been very energizing for me. I love the creative and even more I love getting people on board. My favorite part has been involving my co-workers in the project – seeing them laugh when the hear the song and seeing the song increase in quality due to the collective creativty. Each person has added a lit bit.

Yesterday I tried to start shooting the video and failed miserably at it.

Several coworkers had agreed to be a part of the video. I set a date to get together at lunch and shoot the first scenes, but not everyone showed up. We had three guys, and it just wasn’t enough of a critical mass to achieve the effect I was going for. One or two more guys would’ve made it work, but as a result of lack of participation I had to pack everything up without any footage. It was disappointing not only to myself, but also to the folks that did show. It was at that moment as I defeatedly folded up my tripod that God started doing a beautiful thing. Immediately I thought, “this is what Church planting is like. ” (or really, any kind of high-stakes leadership.)

You try to inspire others to join it, people commit and then leave you hanging. It’s not really because they don’t care, everyone who didn’t show had a pretty good reason to not be there, but this is simply he nature of leading. You work hard and stress and push and try to make things happen. And they don’t.

But I am so happy they didn’t.

Defeat and failure are God’s sanctifying agents in our lives. This one event is making me a better leader than the many successes I’ve achieved. The primary bonus here is that God is preparing my heart to be let down, over and over again. He’s allowing me to learn how to push through, rely on Him and creatively shift plans.

Ultimately there were several other immediate bonuses to this short-fall:

More involvement:

Because of this set back we’ll actually have a better video in the end. Initially I simply invited a few folks from my own department, but seeing the need to “over invite” (as no doubt people with have legitimate reasons not to be at the rescheduled shooting) I went all around the building getting more people on board. I invited the 1st Sergeant and he invited the Commander. I would’ve never done this had my original plan gone my way. Several other folks will possibly come on board and the final product will be that much better.


One thing I’m convinced of is that younger men need encouragement from older men. Every chance I get I try to speak into the lives of younger guys. There’s a man at work that I have a great deal of respect for. When he saw my debacle he took the opportunity to speak some encouraging words. It was like fresh wind blown into the sails of a ship that’s been stagnantly afloat for too long. Without failure we miss out on these types of opportunities.

A Chance to Show Grace:

Not everyone is an attention addict like myself. Some folks are just camera-shy and aren’t totally psyched about the idea on being on screen. Rather than getting angry this was an oppertunity to allow people a gracious out if they wanted to take it. I’m pleased to say that most folks commited to the re-shoot.

My hope for you is that you experience a suffering defeat today. Such things are wonderful fodder for the Holy Spirit.


1 Response to “The Sweet Beauty of Failure”

  1. 1 Sr July 13, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Temporary failure represents the process and tenacity is the mother of success !!!

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