Shock, disbelief, betrayal, and anger. These are some of the emotions I experienced as a result of the phone call informing me, “Not this time perhaps next time. We have decided to go with someone else.” At that time I was distressed and shocked. I eventually found out though, that you can right your life when you hear devastating news.

In 2005 I applied for and was not successful in getting a promotion that I thought I had deserved and wanted so desperately. This was the job that would have put me at the top of the organizational ladder. This set back though created outcomes that became totally unexpected. In fact, the outcome of failing to secure that promotion set up a series of events that eventually resulted in success a few years later.

Although I was upset and devastated at the time, it really ended up being the best outcome that could have happened for my growth and development as a leader.

Through adversity, trails and failures come strength.
This setback and blow to my ego definitely tested me.

Today, I can admit with humility it was not necessarily the right time for me to get that promotion in 2005. At the time, I would not have made that bold admission because my pride and ego was damaged. I also felt shame and did not want to face my colleagues, my friends, and my family.

However, after a number of years, a number of humbling experiences later, and a lot of learning since, the stumble at that time has been easier to talk about.

In retrospect, the first thing I should have done is to spend more time asking myself some pertinent and penetrating questions. Essential questions that required a real honest and deep look into my heart. Questions that would have allowed me to honestly determine if it was the right time to lead.

R—Have I put in an appropriate amount of time in researching, reviewing and preparing myself to take on the additional responsibilities of the role?

Have I spent enough time asking questions and being mentored? Am I ready to be the leader in charge of the organization? Am I aware that I ultimately will be the one accountable for the day-to-day management and leadership of the organization? Am I really ready for this challenge? Am I willing to take this Risk and not be afraid of making mistakes and for dealing with criticism?

I – Have I seriously defined who I am and what I stand for?

Have I established a true and honest identity that not only defines who I am but also act congruently with what I say? Am I a person who leads with integrity and with the intent of caring for, supporting and loving the people that I will be leading? Have I communicated this to the people whom I will lead through my words and actions and if I have not, how will I ensure that the people I will be leading get an honest and clear picture of who I am?

G – Do I have the fortitude, determination, and grit necessary to carry out the responsibilities of the job effectively?

Do I have the ability to make the unpopular decisions that will upset people, and may generate criticism and personal attacks on my character? Do I have the toughness and persistence to stand up for myself, for the people I lead and for the organization I represent? Do I have the courage and strength to challenge and confront individuals?

H – Am I willing to humble myself and put the needs of others first before my own needs?

Am I willing serve and not expect to be served? Will I be able to serve with a selfless heart, show Humility and serve without any expectation that it will be returned? Am I willing to allow others to lead and encourage them to do so? Will I willingly be a follower as well as a leader?

T – Do I trust in my beliefs, talents, and strengths to be able to carry out the responsibilities of the position?

Do the people I lead have Trust in me and if I am new to the organization, how will I go about developing trust with the people I will be leading? Is establishing an organizational environment of trust a priority for me?

If I had genuinely examined these questions around risk, identity, grit, humilit,y and trust I would have been in a better position to understand myself and my motivation in applying for the promotion. I still may not have received it, but at least I would have put in a lot of reflection and preparation time in finding out more about myself.

I would encourage you to go deep and do a serious examination of your heart before embarking on a new adventure and challenge. Check whether it is worth the risk. Whether you truly know your identity. Whether you have the grit to persist in following through on your responsibilities. Whether you are willing to humble yourself and be a follower as well as a leader, and whether you trust yourself and can others trust you.

This examination may help you to determine if any inward heart change must happen first before your time is right. Use these essential questions to help you turn failure into success.

* Thanks to the Good Men Project for publishing this post on their website.