We all make mistakes – it’s part of being human. Those of us who make mistakes and are willing to accept our role in them and work to correct things not only grow as individuals, but become valuable assets to any organization.
I have worked in management positions for much of my career. When I encounter a problem with an employee, it most often involves an unwillingness in them to understand that while I can support them, recommend additional training or provide other assistance; the solution to their challenges begins and ends with them.
Perpetual “problem” employees tend to be those people who want to blame everyone and everything for their shortcomings instead of looking at what they need to do to impact positive change in their own lives and careers. Since most of us can think of at least 1 person who acts in this manner, their behaviors and attitudes can serve as a useful learning opportunity for those of us who desire personal growth.
In spiritual studies we learn that if we want more abundance in our lives, we must avoid a mindset that sees our experience through the eyes of lack. Emerson wrote that if we want to have a friend, we need to become a friend. In medicine, doctors encourage a positive outlook for battling the most aggressive diseases because they’ve seen the difference in patients with one, and patients without one.
In short, we cannot be (externally) what we are not on the inside: the truth of who we are will out-picture in our lives.
A couple years ago a neighbor shared with me that their young child didn’t seem to have any friends at school. This worried her – understandably – and she and her husband wanted to help without micromanaging the situation.
In addition to providing the requested spiritual support, I listened to the parents’ concerns and found that their child often neglected to share invitations to birthday parties from classmates with the parents. There seemed to be a reticence to participate in parties that involved activities that may be new for their child.
I shared Emerson’s counsel on finding friends with them, and the parents worked with their child on expectations around the various activities. They wanted to encourage positive growth without mandating behaviors so strictly that it backfired. They told their child that they did not need to attend every birthday party, but needed to choose and attend at least 2 parties or similar events during each semester that year.
A few weeks ago I ran into the mother in the grocery store. She excitedly shared with me that not only was her child now participating in parties, as well as extracurricular school activities; but was regularly going back and forth (at friends homes and in their home) with a handful of friends from school.
I was thrilled for her, and for her child. In pondering the unfolding events for this family I thought of the hard work the child had to do (mentally) to change their trajectory. With the parents’ help and loving encouragement, the child was able to think differently about interactions with kids at school.
Early on, I recall the child expressing that sometimes the activities didn’t sound like they would be very much fun; hence part of the reticence to attend. To move from that position to where they are now, this child had to change on the inside; to decide that they could see an upside/potential good in the parties or activities. And they confessed later that even the most dull-sounding events turned out to be fun.
The ancients taught, and modern gurus, sages and wisdom teachers remind us that the answers we seek lie within. It is phrased in different ways, but in essence it comes down to this: if we can change how we think about things, our lives will change.
We can move from being the problem employee to a valued contributor; we can change from being someone who isn’t included in group activities to someone with a robust social calendar and a circle of friends; we can move from seeing how much we DON’T have in our lives to living a life that is an experience of abundance (recognizing that abundance is much more than money).
When we pivot our thinking and plant seeds for a more positive outlook; life opens up before us providing opportunities we never expected and blessings we couldn’t have seen coming before we shifted our mindset. And so it is.
(c) 2019 Practitioner's Path