To The Future Leaders: All Your Experiences Structure Your Path Forward

Leadership Lesson: You can’t build up into the future without looking back at the foundation of knowledge, skill, and experience you’ve built to date.

In this previous post, I introduced this current series which covers a top-ten list of ideas I had provided to students at Quest 2017, a one-day summit hosted at Southern Connecticut State University by Connecticut’s Chapter of Prospanica, in partnership with its community and corporate partners. The annual event is filled with motivational presentations, speakers, and workshops providing students with tools for the next chapter in their lives.

The list is made up of tips students should consider as they continue on in their life, work, and careers and is made up of some of the top items on The Self 60.

While the items on The Self 60 tend to be more specific, these items allow for the lesson to be broadened and more encompassing.

In each post, I provide general information about the item and a breakdown of what it is, why it’s important, where to get it, and why the item made this top-ten list.

In this post, the item I’ll be breaking down is…

All Your Experiences Structure Your Path Forward

General Info / What it is…

This tip means that everything you’ve done and experienced to date influences and can impact everything you do today and going forward.

Living in the moment is a hot topic now – being mindful. And being in the moment is important. You do need to realize, and be able to focus on, what is in front of you. But it’s also important to bring with you, into that moment, all your experiences, so that you can make the most of it.

You have to balance living in the moment with viewing your life as a collection of lessons you take forward with you. And the most important part of this mindset is that lessons can be drawn from any experience, even some of the most unlikely.

Why it’s important…

By harnessing all your experiences, you continue to round yourself out.

Counter to what is probably your first instinct — to put things behind you — you should avoid discarding experiences, regardless of whether they were good or bad. The memories of both types of experiences should be retained, each for their own reason. The good experiences will reinforce who you are and lead you down the path where you look for familiar and desired circumstances and energies. The bad experiences teach you what to avoid, challenge, or improve.

Maintaining those lessons builds your character and galvanizes who you are. The more you know about yourself, the more you can present to others with integrity and confidence.

You should know what you’re worth and what you’re made of.

Where to get it…

Look at every experience, both good and bad.

In the good experiences, what were the specific circumstances that helped you create a successful result? What can be recreated? What was unique to that experience? What are the best attributes you took away from the experience?

In the bad experiences, what could you have changed to have altered the outcome? If the outcome couldn’t have been changed, how would you mitigate the impact if the circumstances are repeating themselves again in your life today? How did overcoming that experience make you a sharper person?

The good experiences can come from anything in your life – being a paper boy or girl, being a sports team captain, launching a successful project, having a great mentor or boss, building overall strong relationships, etc. What best attributes can you bring forward from those experiences?

The poor experiences can also come from different areas – getting fired, getting passed over for a promotion, being dumped, or having had poor mentors or bosses. How did you get through it? What did you change going forward? How did your resilience develop further after those experiences?

Why it’s a Top 10 off The Self 60…

We all need to know what we’ve been through.

Sometimes we get trapped in the present, only considering what we see in the moment, not taking into account everything we’ve been through.

This is a marquis item because we need to know who we are. And we need to recognize that knowing who we are comes from taking stock and performing an inventory of all the things we’ve done and have experienced.

Most things on The Self 60 can’t happen effectively if we don’t understand or recognize these things in ourselves.

Experience to date can continue in a perpetual cycle. If we see the good we’ve done and achieved, we can look for and create more of it. If we recognize the bad – and give ourselves credit for still standing – we can realize we’ve been through a lot and move forward stronger for it.

There are lessons everywhere — not just in others, but in ourselves. We need to take the blinders off which are forcing us to have tunnel vision as we move from today into the future.

There are so many lessons in our own lives which show us what we’re made of, how strong we are, and how far we’ve come.

Most of the experiences you’ll build in your future are not built in a vacuum but, indeed, built upon experiences you’ve already had in your life.

Don’t discount your own life and experiences.

The Top Ten (in no particular order)

  1. Find your Driver(s) & Motivation(s)
  2. All Your Experiences Structure Your Path Forward
  3. Get An Accountability Partner
  4. Position Yourself For Your Success
  5. Your Worth & Value – Know It / Build It / Provide It / Live It
  6. Face Your Weaknesses & Fears
  7. Always Keep Learning
  8. Develop Your Awareness – Of Self & Others
  9. Be Part Of & Contribute To Your Community
  10. Do Not Wait For Life To Come To You

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