When I turned around to make my return journey, I could clearly see the path I had taken, as no-one else was there. Without me knowing it, my footsteps had left a clear demarcation of my journey in the hard, wet sand.
Three observations came to mind:
- As we go through our day we leave a foot print behind, without even being aware of it. I committed to make sure that my footprint left with whoever I met today. would be a positive one. Leadership is all about making a positive difference, as Marshall Goldsmith would say.
- I also noticed that my footprints were washed away in some places. Obviously I had misjudged the maximum tide line that I needed to run in order to keep my Nike shoes dry! Yet because the tide didn't rush up that far at the specific time I had passed that point, I was blissfully unaware of my error. I wondered how often we are actually making errors in judgement without being aware of it. We might be wrong more often than we realise, as associated consequences do not always show up simultaneously to warn us.
- Lastly, related to the observation above, it also occurred to me that the main benefit in observing my error in judgement was to adjust my path higher up the beach for the return journey. I could do nothing about the steps I had already taken. This learning, rather than judging mindset, where mistakes are seen as useful feedback, rather than signs of failure, is critical to being an effective leader.