Take it like a man

Last night I watched an hour-long interview with Jesse James. (West Coast Choppers, ex-husband to Sandra Bullock)

Pier Morgan, who conducted the interview, did his best to find an excuse that Jesse could latch onto as to why he had behaved the way he had.

  • Was it because your father beat you?
  • Were you lonely when Sandra was away working on movies?
  • Were you trying to maintain an image of being a bad boy?
  • Do you blame the paparazzi for shining light on the situation?
  • Were you using drugs?

Down the list Mr. Morgan goes, trying to find a psychobabble-worthy reason why this man had cheated on his wife.

Jesse’s answer?

Here’s a summary of what he said during the interview: It was my fault. I take 100% responsibility. It’s no ones fault but mine. I’ve hurt her. I’ve asked for forgiveness from her. She has given it. I was a horrible person unfit to love anyone and I’ve had to learn to love myself. My upbringing didn’t lead me to this, I made my own choices.

The level of honesty displayed was refreshing. No spin. No softening the blows. Just take it like a man because you brought it on yourself.

When asked if he thought that discussing this stuff and writing about it might hurt Sandra’s feelings he acknowledged that it might, but that she understood he was just out to promote his book. Who admits that?

Dealing with Failure

Dealing with failure is part of life. It is unavoidable that you will mess up. It probably won’t be as blatant or as messy or as public as Jesse’s affair but you will have to deal with the ramifications just the same.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that I need to fail well. Hiding from mistakes, oversights, and outright bad things I’ve done doesn’t help anything. It just makes it worse.

I had a mentor early in my career that taught me how to talk about my own failures in a team setting.

  • Lead with the failure – Don’t bury it in agenda. Come right out and say it because it’s the #1 agenda item.
  • Follow up with how it happened – Don’t just gloss it over, explain how it happened in as much detail is needed. Others might learn from how you got to your mistake.
  • Tell us how you’re fixing it – If you don’t know than ask for help. But you better have a plan for how you’ll fix it or else your silence is giving the team the most logical solution…
  • End with apologizing/taking ownership of the mistake – Don’t weasel out of it. Don’t accept someone else’s apology. Own that mistake, learn from it, and move on.

In short, while failure may display a lack of character which defines you for a moment, dealing with failure well displays the type of character that can define you for a lifetime.

What have you learned about dealing with your mistakes?


3 responses to “Take it like a man”

  1. Jason Avatar

    Part of my overall philosophy in life, ministry, business, whatever… is that ultimately my only true defeat is quitting. It might sound cheesy to say, but it’s really not. The opposite of success is not failure, the opposite of success is quitting. If all successful people have generally failed FAR, FAR more than those that are not. Failure is a key part of the process of success. The older I get, the less I fear failure and embrace it, and as you wrote above, embrace it and learn from it and them make course corrections. Now, if something come crashing down and blown to smithereens in it’s entirety beyond the point of repair, that’s beyond failure, and there MUST have been several massive hints of untreated failure along the way. The day someone signs their divorce papers they cannot accurately say, “My marriage failed today.” In reality, it’s been failing for quite some time.

    All that being said, I work hard to look at failure as a positive sign to make adjustments and get better. They are my warning signs that I need to adjust my direction and get back on the right path.

  2. Dan Murphy Avatar

    Great article and really good points to use as a rule. I’ve saved them for later reference – thank you!

  3. Adam Avatar

    Confession…TRUE confession…not just confessing what I am willing to confess…leads to healing.

    Partial confession leads to piss poor healing at best. That isn’t what God wants, He wants us to fully recover from the damages of sin. Good angle Adam.

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