My Favorite Mistakes of 2018!


My Favorite Mistakes – 2018 Edition

I like to do a little summary at the end of each year to mark my hits and misses and to ponder the learnings that have come from that. This year like in the past, the problem wasn’t finding great blunders. The challenge was editing it down to a reasonable length!

First, here are a few things I forgot:

Forgot that dying tends to take the starch out of your life

As much as I’d like to forget it, it’s still true that I have a remarkable percentage of energy, etc. that’s partly due to my age, but largely connected with my NDE. (Near Death Experience)

There is a sense in which each of us must get to know, enjoy and give freedom to be who we are.

Forgot that I tend to forget

One could hope that our lessons learned in previous years would carry over. Sometimes that’s true, but sometimes even important ones tend to have a short lifespan with me.

Forgot to bounce  

A fair bit of life is more on the recovery end of things than in their successful launch.

It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce. – Zig Ziglar

One time, in particular, I didn’t bounce so well.

Forgot to keep looking down

It’s a good idea to pay attention to the direction our feet are pointed, especially when going down steps. Forgetting that one has caused a couple of problems this year. A few years ago I missed a step and broke my left humerus, but this year’s missing step beat the arm episode.

On my way to the airport for a long trip, I misjudged the depth of a step and had a big-time physical trip (insert rimshot here). I did a 180 as I fell forward and bonked my head. Now Janie, my wife, has even more reason to wonder if I have “dain bramage”. I broke both feet at the same time. That equals nine casts and about a year of recovery time.

Forgot how easy it is for a vision to blur…

 Especially the long-standing vision for what’s imperative for us, and the world around us.

How do you focus on the vision? Three things – first communicate it! Second, communicate it! Third, communicate it!

In the midst of some forgetting, there was also some decent remembering of lost lessons…

Remembered – success comes from attention to the “ROI-in-R” (Return On Investments in Relationship)

It’s a great idea for leaders to have a grip on the management of limited resources. Measurements can be helpful, but some of what’s most important can’t be easily calculated, especially in the short run. Invest in relationships above all else. All our momentum is built on relationships.

Remembered – the importance of thinking time

I was privileged to visit the Billy Graham home and museum in North Carolina shortly after Billy’s passing. They showed an interview with him that was shot toward the end of his life. He said his biggest regret is that he didn’t spend enough time in reflection, listening to God and just plain thinking.

I need chunks of pure, dedicated thinking time. You need a measure of that too.

Remembered – outreach is a simple combination of just three things –  a learned lifestyle (learning to be friendly 48%), inspiration (at the moment 48%) and a tiny bit of gifting (2% which you already have). 

I’ve spoken to tens of thousands about the do-able-ness of showing generosity and kindness and how it opens amazing doors to people’s hearts. It’s still difficult for people to “get it” with outreach till they step into an actual outreach setting. To a degree, the more we simply ponder outreach the results are backwardly momentous. We tend to talk ourselves into thinking outreach is impossible.

That’s something we can all do with just a little bit of availability. Less than ten minutes a day equals one percent of our waking hours.

Anyone who steps into the practice of going out of their way to show kindness three times a day in those ten minutes will revolutionize their lives.

Remembered – my calling to grow as a turtle, and shrink as a hare

The turtle and the hare are opposites. More than just slower versus faster and more harried, the greatest difference between those approaches to life – focus.

I will never evolve into just being a turtle, as healthy and desirable as that may be.

I’m a turtle, not a hare. Once upon a time, I thought I could walk (hop?…) away from having hare-like responses to life.

There will always be a turtle versus hare dynamic in my life.

It seems that deep down my wiring is more hare-like than akin to a turtle. Naturally, and by the externals, I’ve lived through that I doubt I’ll ever be known as a full-fledged hare. On the other hand, I won’t be utterly hare-less.

Remembered –  it’s a marathon interspersed with an occasional sprint.

I like track events in general, whether it’s a 100-meter dash or a marathon.

They have their place.

One mistake I intend to not make is to be diffused in my goals. I actually have just one biggie goal – the rest are details that will fall into place on their own.

Most New Years resolutions jump off the track each year is we take on too many things. If you can nail, or even come close to nailing just one goal, then you have lived a great year.

My singular goal going into 2019 is to grow in one area specifically – communication. The most significant factor in our lives that determines to the most significant degree how well we do in life – with others, ourselves, God even.

What’s hot that you want to see turn even hotter? There’s something there.

“I hereby appoint myself Mistake Maker in Chief as I go into 2019.” Funny how it works. If you are willing to embrace the great flubs, it’s likely your best will shine through before long.

Steve Sjogren here – signing off for the year!   


Steve has spoken, mentored and modeled to churches and leaders around the world with the simple message that anyone – regardless of their gifting or experience – can be involved in bringing God’s loving kindness to others. His first book, Conspiracy of Kindness has been translated into several languages with more in the works. His first book has sold over 300,000 copies. Altogether his books have sold over 500,000 copies.