My Perspectives ..... My Wake
"Whether we intend to or not, we all leave a wake behind us.
Those wakes can be positive or they can be destructive.
As I was heading off to a speaking engagement one day, settling into my seat on a full flight, a woman unintentionally bumped my arm while heading to the washroom at the front of the plane. We acknowledged each other with smiles. There was no problem.
Just as the stewardess was asking everyone to check their seatbelts, I looked up to see this same women heading back to her seat. As she approached, I noticed to my horror that she had a piece of toilet paper hanging from the waistband of her jeans.
I made a split-second decision, then gently touched her arm to motion her to bend over to hear me. “Please don’t react quickly,” I said, “but there’s a piece of toilet paper stuck in your waistband and hanging down.” I held her arm, wanting to prevent her from drawing any more attention than necessary. She slowly reached behind herself and pulled the toilet paper away. She then crumpled it up and went to her seat.
Once we were in the air, she came back to my seat, leaned on the armrest, and said, “Thank you so much, I had no idea. That could have been so much more embarrassing! Thank you
for your graciousness.”
Out of an embarrassing situation, we both gained a new acquaintance.
This story often comes to my mind when I think of how important it is to check the wake we leave behind us.
As leaders, we can become caught up in the vision we’re casting and moving people towards— and that can be empowering. We’re also to be aware of what we leave behind us. Whatever the wake we leave, we are responsible to lead through it and manage it." 1
I find it easy to keep looking through the windshield and focusing on where I am going often to the neglect of checking the review mirror and what I am leaving behind me.
When was the last time eye checked your wake? Two great questions to use in checking your wake, have been mentioned before and yet have great relevance in so many leadership situations.
Learn to ask this you influence:
What do you want to celebrate about me and about my leadership?
What do you want to caution me about myself and my leadership?
May you find grace and wisdom to persevere.
Shifting Perspectives, Jesus Through a Leadership Lens. Ruth Esau,
Available early 2022. Watch for further information.