I like a good play list as much as the next guy. Tunes I pay attention to are ones that have grown in my heart and mind over the years. Artists who hit a particular chord with me stay on my list a long time. I don’t shuffle all that often. However, I am open to new songs from young, aspiring artists.
Just like a good play list, the tapestry of leadership has been woven from experience shared with mentors, old bosses, and sometimes, younger, aspiring leaders too.
I like to look back at the influences that are now colorful threads in my own tapestry of life. I find it helpful to do a look back on a regular basis. By looking back, I get a fresh renewal of ideas and values.
Who Made You Be You?
Think back on your own story. Who contributed to getting you where you are today? More importantly, who made you who you are today?
No doubt there are experiences and little bits of perspective sprinkled all across the weaving. Good and bad, do’s and don’ts, to be versus not to be.
It is the wise who can take a bad experience and learn from it. Lessons like “OK, that’s NOT something I ever want to do again” are just as valuable as the good experiences.
If you are blessed, you will have a series of people who made great contributions to shaping you to be you. Perhaps they shaped values and principles for you. Or maybe they taught valuable lessons with tangible results. Some likely helped you set personal boundaries. Was there anyone who told you about the power in YES and NO!
Revisiting the Milestones
I firmly believe there is value in revisiting the milestones in your life. Take a moment to reflect on the mentors and their lessons. Recall the details of what they were teaching you.
Renew and refresh your own understanding of those key teaching points. Remind yourself of the golden truth you may have once learned.
We get beat up in day to day living. We forget things. Or more likely, things get fuzzy in our minds. We forget the distinct edges of the key principles we once learned.
Values get compromised and worn down.
This is why taking time to reflect and renew your core beliefs and strengths is so important.
We’re a Product of our Environment
There is little denying the fact that we are the sum of our parts. Whether good or bad, the experiences from the earlier chapters of life shape us and make us become what we are today.
You can reject the bad things that happen. That is fine. Going through a particularly bad chapter in life will make you stronger if you choose to learn from that experience. Take away a lesson. Let it simmer and ruminate into a contributing element of growth.
You can choose to be bitter, but that is very counterproductive. Rather, choose to take the best possible outcome. Even if the lesson is “I never want to be that way”, it is a lesson that can mean something significant for your own growth as a person and as a leader.
Stroll Down Memory Lane
Allow yourself to recall the best parts of the learning you’ve experienced through life. Don’t get caught up in a pity party of lost opportunity or bad choices. Instead reflect on the things you chose to keep. The ones that made you grow. By properly aligning the right experiences, you will see a beautiful path of stepping stones.
Look at the outcome. Celebrate a win. Rejoice in victory. Use that energy to push you forward today. Let it power you through a tough time you may be experiencing right now. Realize that the sun really does come up tomorrow.
Use the best from your life’s tapestry to mold and shape your future from here forward. Hit the replay button on that play list of greatest hits. Love it, use it.