An Article by Debbie DiVirgilio, MDiv, MNM, GPC, CGT, President, Faith Based Non-Profit Resource Center

Did you ever notice how it is the little things that get you?

A couple of weeks ago, our office was having a really busy day. It was one of those days where things are humming and everyone is doing their part to get all the work done — one of those days where you need everything to go just right — technology needs to work just perfectly, the printer needs full ink cartridges and hopefully, the toilet doesn’t back up.

I am sure we have all had those days.

Fortunately, in our office when those days come along, our team works really well together and we are able to support each other in the tasks we have been given. I have worked hard to help each person see how their piece of the task fits into the big picture. Everyone has an important role to play.

And, so it was just a few weeks ago…

We were in the midst of printing a document that was large and one that needed to be precise. Getting it printed early in the morning was essential for making the rest of the day flow smoothly. Unfortunately, just a few pages in and the printer makes a horrible sound and flashes an error message on its screen. PAPER JAM it was shouting at me.

I checked all the normal spots where paper gets hung up, pushed the clear button and started again. But, the JAM message popped back up. This time I moved the printer looked in the back, pulled a couple of levers and hit reset. Once I hit the clear button, the message popped up AGAIN.

You can imagine my frustration, we went through this process five or so times. I was ready to scream and, if I am being honest some things came out of my mouth that I regret. Recognizing we were getting anywhere and the whole day was on its way to being derailed, we got serious looking for where the jam was occurring. Finally, we found it. But, we couldn’t reach it. Fortunately, in an office full of women, someone had a set of tweezers, but the tweezers weren’t long enough.

Digging in our supply closet, we found a long flat-head screwdriver. Very carefully, we held the paper with the tip of the screwdriver, pulling it up ever so slightly. Then, we were able to use the tweezers to pull it out. Imagine the look on my face when this piece of paper that was not even two inches square came out. All of our problems were being caused by that one piece of paper. Immediately, I knew that piece of paper was a teaching lesson. I have kept that piece of paper on my desk as a frequent reminder of the lessons I learned.

  • It’s not the big things that get in the way of our life for Christ, it’s the little things.
  • When the pressure is on, the little things seem really big.
  • Always be ready to apologize to your team when you turn the little things into big things.

But perhaps one of the biggest lessons learned is that when you have developed your staff into a team, they can overlook and forgive your mistakes because they recognize those mistakes are not really who you are.

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