At a reunion party of my old office mates – turned friends for life, we had a question and answer game for the grand prize – beauty pageant style, complete with criteria, judges, and intermission number.
One of the two questions asked for the “pageant” was how has your experience at the office we worked in, shaped you into who you are today?
A Looking Back
That was such a deep question, that the sponsor for the gift, Coach Pia, asked all of us who worked at that office to answer the question.
And the answers were all different, yet the same. We all had unique experiences, beliefs, and ways of looking at things, but we all shared that through our uniqueness and individuality, that experience has affected us, and has contributed, maybe even informed, where we are right now.
Our experiences have helped and contributed to what we can do, how we think, what we want, and who we are today. That is certain.
But not all experiences may be positive. Not all bring back happy memories.
But all have contributed to who we are today.
What have I learned?
I used to just let things pass me by, but I’ve found benefit in being more reflective, and mining my experiences and memories for what will help me go forward.
I’ve had a lot of learning and lessons encountered over the years, and a lot of those not explicitly taught to me.
Life rarely gives you the answers. It instead makes you work for it, and look for it.
Asking this question to myself after an experience, or an event, helps me to collect and get clear on what I learned, and what I focused on, and how I can see this being useful for me.
What works for me?
Part of the experience is finding out what works for me and what didn’t work for me. Figuring out where I was comfortable, natural, and very effective also was a big help in helping me find and repeat the success that I wanted to go for.
This is also part of the learning process – figuring not only what it is you do that works, but what is it that you have to do to make it work for you?
For me, I discovered I wasn’t all that good when it came to improvising, or “winging it” in the spot. Instead, what worked for me is that I had to do a lot of preparation beforehand, so when the time came to get the job done, I could be more flexible, knowing I had done my preparations and study beforehand.
Basically, a lot of practice and application works for me. And it’s my go to method whenever I want to perform at my best.
Is it still holding me back?
For me, especially, I get tempted to keep looking back to the past.
But not to mine it for lessons or what has worked for me, but to constantly replay what went wrong.
Which then becomes a highlight reel of shame and blame, as to why I didn’t get the success I wanted.
I had to learn to find the nuggets of wisdom that I could use, instead of the chains of gold that I so dearly look back to, and use to inform my decisions.
You want what works for you to inform how to go forward, instead of what didn’t work for you.
Look back with gratitude.
What will help you answer those questions, and not be stuck to the past, is to accept past events and lessons thankfully, with gratitude.
Thanks to those events, you are who you are right now, and I’m sure there are things you know now that you didn’t know before.
That you know what works for you, and what doesn’t work. What you want, and what you don’t want.
That you know what situations, events, and people to avoid, so you don’t end up committing the same mistakes again.
That you know what you can do, so you don’t end up staying at the same place.
Look back with gratitude, move forward with courage.
How has an important event in your life shaped you to become who you are? Please share in the comments below!