It is hard to believe that I am on month six of my leadership to interview 50 leaders in one year. As of today, I have interviewed 29 different leaders. Although some are in business, others in education, and others in the non-profit sector, they share many different similarities and themes.
There are no wasted experiences.
Have you ever felt that you were wasting your time? I recently interviewed a leader, who reminded me of the simple fact that there are no wasted experiences. Every experience in life can be used to prepare you for the future.
Mark is a testament to this fact. At age 10, his younger brother drowned. His mother fell into a deep dark depression and was emotionally unavailable for the family for over a year. Instead of looking back on this experience through pessimistic eyes, he realized that this was an opportunity to learn how to take care of himself at an early age.
As an adult, Mark has dealt with the loss of his father, job loss, a series of disappointments and frustrations. All of his experiences inspired him to start a new business, which has blossomed into an organization that builds products and men. He is committed to mentoring and shaping the lives of the men that work in his organization. Without the painful experiences, he may have never started a business that is impacting the lives of others in his community.
What about you? What experiences are challenging you emotionally, physically, and spiritually? What experiences make you want to quit or give up? It is often within the most difficult and painful situations, where we find our calling or purpose.
There are no wasted experiences. Every experience, whether good or bad, is an opportunity to grow and blossom into the person that you are supposed to be. This is easy to say and tough to do. Perhaps the diagnosis meant for bad will provide you with experiences to have empathy and help others. Maybe the job loss will inspire you to pursue a more rewarding career. The horrible boss that you have may inspire you to become a different kind of leader. The frustrating career may inspire you to go back to school or change direction.
Whether they are good or bad, don't waste your life experiences because they are yours. Your experiences and challenges are unique to you and your circumstances. They are the blueprint to your future and you never know what they will blossom into.