Last night I was in charge of navigating my girlfriends and myself to an art opening in center city. I have the most experience with public transit, so I was happy to accept this role. We arrived smoothly, although we did walk farther than anticipated. That was the end of my leadership success.
From the gallery I schlepped us to another neighborhood only to discover that our destination was closed and the alternate shop was a block away from the gallery. Then due to traffic slowing our bus, we missed our train home. I suggested a nearby pub where the slow service caused us to miss the next train and my misreading the schedule caused us to miss the last train of the night. Epic navigation fail!
My friends graciously rolled with the continuously changing plan, and we eventually arrived home, two hours later than expected. Somewhere along the line I noticed myself slipping into self-criticism that easily could have led to a shame spiral. I also noticed my frustration was not mirrored back by my friends. They were just hanging out. Not in the environment we had planned, but not letting that disrupt the opportunity to have an animated conversation.
I grasped this cue and realized that while my plan had indeed failed, that didn’t make me a failure. I got to choose if I would sulk on the extended journey home or to embrace the chance to rally and enjoy the good company available to me. I remembered Louise Hay’s words that to be truly loving, we should never, ever criticize ourselves. And just like that I dropped the self-blame and joined in the laughter.