I recently shared an important session with Stacy, my pick for the Leave 2010 With No Regrets Challenge. She is well on her way to closing out this year completely content with the direction of her life. Stacy has been diligent in her efforts to maintain her focus, keep the insignificant opinions of other at bay, and move forward with her professional goals. I am extremely hopeful that her life will remain on track. Unfortunately, some unpleasant circumstances from Stacy's past have resurfaced, and she was thrown off track for a moment.
The difficulty that Stacy was trying to work through was, quite honestly, self-inflected. She is comfortable admitting that before committing to her personal development goals, she would make major life decisions on a whim. She wouldn’t give much thought to the consequences of her decisions and when things didn’t work out, for some reason, she would be surprised…really.
I kept asking Stacy this question, what have you learned? Even after the work we have done together she still had a hard time coming up with an answer that I would accept. At first she blamed others and then she blamed herself. But I helped her realize that there is no lesson in the game of blame. Eventually, her lesson was learned and she made it through the difficult moments, confident that she can face whatever’s next.
Here is what I learned about the, what have you learned, question:
In order to answer the question, you must get past the surface. It’s not just about the present circumstance. You must look at what led up to it. If you have made one bad major decision, more than likely, there have been others.
In order to answer the question, you must locate the start of the pattern. There is a spark that
ignites every fire. You must find out why you make the decisions you make.
In order to answer the question, you must be willing to admit to wrong doing. Being wrong isn’t easy. That is especially true when being wrong causes pain. Admitting what is wrong about you will lead you on the path that is right.
Those are just a few reasons why it is important to recognize the opportunity that learning life lessons can bring. Every time you are face to face with difficulty, you are also standing face to face to face with opportunity. You are giving the opportunity to move forward with the tools needed to do better next time.