"The Man, The Mission, The Passion" Husband, Father, Attorney, CPA, Steward Leader, Entrepreneur, MBA, Author, Builder, HBS OPM 25 Class, Mentor, Teacher

Turning Adversity into Advantage

never stop learning

I am still humbled by how often I stumble, how frequently I fall short of my aspirations. Somehow I’d expected that as time passed, it would become easier, that with the coming of silver in my hair, wisdom would more automatically translate into behavior. Alas, life continues to require vigilance and effort: just as getting and staying physically fit is an ongoing process, so too is spiritual fitness. Doing as well we know is a challenge we face daily.

When I do encounter adversity, I endeavor to transform it into advantage by re-framing, asking myself several powerful questions: “How can I use this to grow? What can I learn from this? What does this tell me about myself, about the accuracy of my world view?”

I recently was showing off a project I had worked very hard on over an extended period of time and of which I was very proud. Someone pointed out what I felt was a rather minor unfinished trim issue (on the INSIDE of a cabinet)! I explained that I was aware of it, I just had not gotten around to it. They continued on about how they would deal with it, offering me unwanted advice (I already had a plan in mind) which felt like criticism. I attempted to stop them a second time, reminding them that this was the weekend after Hurricane Irma and to say the least, I had other priorities and I’d deal with it when I could. Somehow that wasn’t enough and they continued to give me their input on what they thought I should do. At that point, after my third attempt, I turned and left the room.

Later, I asked myself “What was the lesson in this experience?” The person genuinely wanted to be helpful BUT they weren’t; growing, developing, mentoring people is a major portion of my job. What could I learn from this situation to make me a better coach/teacher?

While somewhat different rules exist in a social situation than in business (respect is due in both, however in business it is understood that feedback/inspection/review is expected as part of the process/role), I felt the deepest learning opportunity for me was to use this to remember how sensitive the human soul is; how invested we can get in our efforts, how vital it is to choose the right time to give feedback (often the instant moment when emotions are high is the WORST time to try to teach) AND then pick the right amount of feedback (to give more input than the person is open to absorbing is foolish and ineffective, more likely to backfire and create resistance).

Closing Quotes:

“O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us. It would from many a blunder save us.” – Robert Burns

“Questions provide the key to unlocking our unlimited potential. The quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions.” – Tony Robbins

“The main difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is the way you react, the way you use them.” – Proverb

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

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