What is forgiveness?  Look no further than a bumper sticker to find a fitting definition.  “Forgiveness is giving up all hope for a better past.”

Imagine how much time we would save by giving up all hope for a better past; time we currently waste dwelling on mistakes and events we can’t change.  While the past is certainly a great teacher, we hold back our development and the progress of our teams by focusing too much energy on what has already happened.  Sometimes having a short memory works in our favor.

But it’s not always that easy, is it?  What about times when you make mistakes, when your performance is not as strong as it needs to be.  Do you relive your shortcomings in hopes of making a better past?  Many of us do.

Fortunately, we are all capable of learning from the past while maintaining our focus on what is coming next.  Consider one thing you can do to fine-tune how you process mistakes.

Now we need to consider our role as a leader and mentor.  How tightly do we hold on to the shortcomings of others?  While we certainly need to hold people accountable, we can’t expect our teams to grow if they cannot make mistakes.

As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “The only person who never makes a mistake is the one who never does anything.”  Assuming team members are coachable and capable of doing the job, we can use missteps as effective teaching tools.  Consider how you can create an environment where your team is not hesitant to stretch themselves.

We owe it to ourselves and our teams to give up on a better past.  Instead, by utilizing a healthy dose of forgiveness, we can focus our attention where it needs to be, with what we see in front of us.

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