Pressing the Pause Button

Happy Thanksgiving!
Depending on where you are in the world, it is beginning to feel like March of 2020 again as we face uncertainty around the pandemic. As I think about the past 8 months, I have been trying to find some positives and identify things I am grateful for. Oddly enough I did not have to look very far. The opportunity or need to slow down, stay inside, and be more thoughtful in completing activities I had taken for granted gave me plenty of time to think.
For me, I have deepened relationships with my extended family that had lapsed for a number of silly or petty reasons. I have gained clarity around my desire to become a Coach. I have met a number of wonderful people virtually through coaching who have encouraged me and added to my knowledge. I have also had the opportunity to deepen some friendships as we all manage through our current reality. I can now attend video conferences on multiple platforms and even can produce YouTube and Facebook live streams!

Taking stock

In short, despite the events of the past year, I am grateful for the life I have lived and the sum total of all that I have experienced and learned. My belief is that as we face the future, it is instructive to look at past experiences as reference points. I have found renewed energy and focus in thinking about my experiences to date, and the people I have met at each stage of my life. I am grateful for the lessons learned that shaped me into who I am.
I have had great bosses and mentors who taught me the skills I needed to be successful. They also encouraged me to take risks. These people found teachable moments when things did not go as planned. We often debriefed good or bad to go through the lessons learned to prepare for the next time. They also stressed the need to continue to grow and take chances. I am grateful for these people. I have learned from them, and they fostered in me a strong passion for coaching and mentoring others to help them achieve their potential.
There have also been a few difficult bosses and clients along the way. I am grateful for them as well. They were not inherently bad people. In many cases, they were very successful, but not very likable or giving of their time and knowledge. They were talented and smart, and I learned a great deal about strategy and problem solving but not very many positive lessons on leadership and building trust. What I did learn is how the actions of leaders can impact others positively and negatively. This information led to greater self-awareness around the way that I communicate and act at work and at home.

How about you?

Who are you grateful for?
Here is what I did a few weeks back: I made a mental list while cutting the lawn. When I finished, I wrote the list down. It is a simple handwritten list, a deliberate decision so as not to create another spreadsheet on my computer. The list contains a name and a couple of sentences regarding what I learned. Writing the list allowed me to slow down and think about the meaning of the experiences.
It was a great exercise because of the broad range of people I identified, and the lessons learned from each. In some instances, they are people I have not seen in years. But it was interesting to see how they have impacted my life both in the time we interacted and how I can apply their wisdom in the future.
So as you begin to write your next chapter, I suggest you make a list of the people and experiences you are grateful for. With this list close at hand, you will be able to rely on knowledge and experience to help you navigate the great unknown.
I am grateful that you have read my blog and invite you to share your thoughts and comments.
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