Being the Leader of the House
I learned early on that success is measured in many different ways, and that leaders exist in many different forms. One of the biggest ways I define success as the leader of my household is through my ability to acknowledge when I’ve messed up.
Over the years, I’ve learned that it is much better to acknowledge when I have messed up and apologize. Being able to show when I’ve messed up sets a good example for my kids because even though we are leaders of our household, parents sometimes take their role as the authority figure too seriously, and, down the road, there ends up being no reproach for any missteps they make. The whole “That’s just the way it is, suck it up” mentality doesn’t resonate with me. On the contrary, I think it creates barriers between leaders and the other members of the household.
I’ll give you an example: Mother’s Day. I give myself an F– for Mother’s Day this year. I don’t know what I was thinking. Actually—I wasn’t thinking. The reason I messed up was because I really didn’t plan for it, and, lo and behold, I got caught. At the end of the day, all I could say to my stepson—whom I’d employed to help me cover my tracks, mind you—was, “You know what, I messed up. She has every right to be upset” In my experience, successful leaders know when to acknowledge that.
They also know when to pull away from work and set healthy boundaries. I must confess that this is perhaps one of my biggest struggles. For me, understanding when it’s time to step back and spend time with my wife and children without being distracted by work-related things, is another sign that I’m being a true leader of my household. Plus, when I’m completely disengaged from work, I know that I can better commune with God. And, if I’m at peace with God, well now, that’s the ultimate success.
Just remember, whatever we perceive as success one day could be gone the next. As I’ve said before, I am one mistake away—just ONE—from no longer being in the position God has graciously bestowed upon me as a family and work leader. In my forty-something years, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in some deep, deep valleys, which has taught me to never take my successes for granted or lose sight of who I should really be thanking.