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Leadership
Neely McQueen

Neely McQueen has been working with teen girls for over 15 years. She works at Overlake Christian Church in Redmond, WA. She is also married to a pastor and the mom of 3 cute kids.

A few Wednesday nights ago, things got a bit wild after youth group. We were a little short on volunteers and all of this led to a bit of chaos. I was tired and trying to get everyone out the door…when a student got hurt. I didn’t see it happen and after talking with them I came to the conclusion that he was fine. The parents did not come to the same conclusion. Bummer.

By the end of the night I realized I had made a mistake. In fairness, the student was fine, but I should have contacted the parents and let them know what had happened so that they weren’t alarmed when he got home.

I hate making mistakes. I have intense internal dialogue with myself when I make a mistake. I try to rationalize my decision followed by berating myself for being such a failure. Safe to say…both of these are not healthy ways to handle making mistakes.

We all make mistakes. But there is a better way.

When the internal dialogue begins in my head, here’s what I do:

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Embrace my imperfection. Plain and simple, I am not perfect and I will make mistakes. These mistakes don’t define me…they are just part of the growing process. I am trying to not be the youth workers who acts (or believes) like I have it all together and that I have arrived at perfection.

Own it. Confess it and make it quick. The longer I have the internal dialogue over a mistake big or small…without fail it turns into a HUGE mistake…at least in my head. When I confess it and admit my mistake and make amends, the mistake loses power over me and the dialogue has to come to an end. Confessing may be to multiple people…supervisor, parent, or student…in doing so, I am “owning” up to my imperfections.

Learn from it. I try really hard after I make a mistake to ask myself, “What would I do differently?” or “What did I learn?” I don’t want to keep making the same mistakes over and over again. While embracing my imperfections, I still strive to grow and be better than I was the day before. Learning from my mistakes seems to make them less of a mistake…at least for me.

By Thursday after the incident I had spoken with all involved and made amends for my mistake. It was a bit painful and embarrassing…but again I was surprised by grace from those around me. I like surprises…especially ones covered in grace.

Neely /@neelym

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