Insight From a Fortune Cookie

“To courageously shoulder the responsibility of one’s mistake is character.” …in a recent fortune cookie



Fortune cookies can be hit or miss as to whether they resonate with you. It depends on what’s going on in your journey through life, love, and leadership. Saturday night I was gathered with friends, and we had mounds of Chinese food in front of us to enjoy. As delicious as the food was, I was eager to read my fortune. At the end of the meal, we all cracked open our meticulously folded cookie and pulled out our thin strip of paper to learn of our fortune.


One of them read; “To courageously shoulder the responsibility of one’s mistake is character.”


Wow! What a challenging assertion, let alone action. One must first acknowledge a mistake was made, then own up to it. Digesting this step alone can sometimes take some time. When I say “Take some time” I mean from a few minutes to a few years . . . if ever at all. Let’s go on the assumption that you’ve gotten yourself to the point of seeing clearly that you made a mistake, and it sits at your feet. If you identify it publicly as your mistake and map a plan to rectify the error, your vulnerability, as frightening as it may seem, is what will earn you forgiveness and trust.


When people see you as human, they are reminded that we all make mistakes. When they only see you as “superhuman” and all-knowing, they tend to hold a “How dare you?” attitude when you mess up. If you are seen as all-knowing, it is often believed that you are always in control and all that you do is intentional. Nothing could be farther from the truth. As humans, that’s IMPOSSIBLE! Shoulder responsibility, build character and build faith from your team. This act will reap the benefits of trust, acceptance, forgiveness, and a tighter bond than ever before.


Reap the rewards of true teamwork by starting with trust. To attain trust, create a safe environment for people to be human and experience “slip and falls” without life-changing consequences. This can be a transformative change for you and your team by shifting the culture away from authoritarian and morphing into one of influence and a strong sense of team. Think with intention as to how you are perceived by the team. Meet them where they are and build the team from there.


Need help? Is there someone on your team that needs a bit of a nudge to shoulder responsibility? Is your team lacking trust? Simplify Nonprofit has expertise in culture shift methods, change management techniques, and team-building sessions that can jump-start the process of building character!


Do you want to learn more? Contact us at Simplify Nonprofit and we’ll take your thoughts into action. We can teach you how to hold yourself and those you work with accountable for building character and trust.

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