The OWL Despatch

A Personal Scare

Trust the new year has treated you well. It sure has tested me.  Already. Amongst a clutch of battles at hand, I have been invited to address a group of young professionals as they climb the corporate ladder.  I should have delved on the fronts that are open before saying yes! But having committed to it, I have been reflecting on times in my life that caused shifts in me. Personal stories of change if you will and stumbled on a personal scare. Something that I thought I will share with you. 

Reflection on my career took me down memory lane. There were moments of great joy that stood out. But the moments that kept coming back were times when I felt challenged. When I felt low. When my managers were tough on me and unreasonably so!

OWL; Our Work in Learning is the curation of the best articles on work and the changing nature of Work

Much water has flown under the bridge and I laugh at those events when I reflect on them now, but boy was I angry and upset back then. I am sure that’s the case with you as well as has been the case with several leaders that I have had the opportunity to work with. Emotions stay. 

Some memories

The math teacher who sent me out of class because I didn’t do my homework.  The Physical Education teacher who kept me out of the team because he thought someone else played better for the team

The manager who, in my opinion, was partial to some other team member and insisted that I relocate to a different city.  Or the void that I felt immediately after losing my dad.  To this day, there are projects that make me feel like a lilliput by their sheer complexity and depth. 

The list is long and endless.  The spectacular public and private failures that I have had and a sense of loss and grieving that accompanies these failures have left an indelible imprint in me.  

The comfort that discomfort offers

Those moments were and are hell to live through. But they have always shaped me for they were real experiences.  The only comfort in all those moments of discomfort is that they teach a heap. They make me present to my inadequacies and offer a pathway to work my way through. It makes me reach out to well-wishers and mentors. The trouble is that the learning quotient becomes evident after the pain of the moment passes. 

So much so, that a personal scare envelops me when I am able to reasonably predict my day and the challenges it would involve. 

Check this out.

Stretch, challenge and opportunities to have a proper reflection on such challenges provide fantastic opportunities for growth.  Not only that. When comfort and a certain level of predictability keep company for extended periods of time, it is a recipe for disaster. A personal scare! 

I hope to build on this theme in the speech that I am to give. I will wish them challenges and stretch. It is quite a challenge to sell this idea. Wait a minute. What did I just say? 

In this edition

This is the 48th edition of The Owl Despatch. And like every edition, here are five pieces that I think you will love reading. 

1. IDEO put out a post titled nine skills that you need to be resilient this year. Practical stuff. Give that a look. In fact, resilience was almost there as my “Word of The Year”.  I chose a different word finally

2. There are a bunch of articles that are nestled in here. All about leaders and leadership. Take a look. I liked the one on “Break Through Your Learning Blockers”.

3. “This is the greatest paradox of wealth—and most people fail to recognize it.” It took my middle-class mind some chewing to get a grip on the idea. I wonder what you make of it. 

4. “The relationship we have with our customers is like your daughter going to marry into another family,” observes Fujitsu corporate senior executive VP Kenji Ikegai. There is much to learn from this article on Japanese Innovation and its contrast with western constructs. 

5. “Words have tremendous power over our food choice. Giving dishes descriptive names can increase sales by up to 27% in some cases”. That was from a fascinating piece titled “The secret tricks hidden inside restaurant menus“.  Some food for thought, that one. 

That’s that for this edition. Writing this edition has done a couple of things for me. For one, it has given me some energy to face the battles at hand. More importantly, my material on challenge and discomfort as a means of growth for the speech to the young professional group has a new sheen. What do you think? Would you have a story or two to share on a personal scare that has helped you grow? I would be grateful if you could. 

Curated reads for the 48th edition of OWL

Image credits Pixabay

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