Wouldn’t it be nice if things always went as planned? If everything we attempted was successful? If everything we said or did was well-received by others? If people always acknowledged and appreciated the things we did for them? Wouldn’t it be nice? Possibly, yes,... but that’s not reality. Things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes we fail. People often ignore, misunderstand, or misinterpret our words and actions.
No matter what we do in life, there will be times when we fall short of achieving our desired outcome. We can let these failures discourage us, or we can see them for what they are -- opportunities to learn.
In May 1983, I accepted a position as vice principal of a catholic elementary school. I was still working on my Master’s Degree in school administration at the University of San Francisco and my faculty advisor had encouraged me to find an administrative job for the upcoming academic year, for which I would receive academic credit. During my lengthy interview with the principal of the school, I sensed that something just wasn’t right, but I dismissed my apprehension, since I knew the job would serve me well, both academically and professionally. I walked away from the interview having been hired.
I began my work at the school three months later. It didn’t take long for me to be reminded of that feeling of uneasiness I’d experienced during the interview. Without going into detail, suffice it to say that the working environment turned out to be toxic, primarily due to administrative impropriety. It was clear to me that things were only going to get worse.
Fortunately, in mid-November, I was able to successfully negotiate a mutually-terminated contract for that academic year. Despite my departure, the situation on campus continued to decline, leading to the mid-year resignations of two more teachers and, eventually, the closure of the school. I had learned a valuable lesson.
Gut feelings are important. I am convinced they are God’s way of warning us of impending danger. Unfortunately, I ignored the message I had so clearly received during the interview, and I paid dearly for it.
Yes, sometimes we win, and sometimes we... learn. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned in life, especially those I learned the hard way. They have made me the person I am today.