Reflecting upon Life Challenges this week and how they connect with Life Lessons, I find there are themes that run through my own history of challenges or hardships, and so I wonder if this is true for you as well. Some of my most challenging trials are ones that did not end well, in terms of relationships or losses in general. Yet, each one did bring me to some lessons about how to approach a similar situation for the future. The deepest of them–literally losing my dog Ellie and not being able to recover her over a six month search; and, relationship endings or shifts—have each carried multiple lessons and insights. In that sense, they were not without value.
I invite you to map your history of Life Challenges and your lessons associated with those. For Stage One, you can use a simple, shorthand technique sampled below in the form of a list. You can map your ages when memorable challenges have occurred in your life, then take note of the lessons or insights you gained from each experience:
Stage One (sample):
CHALLENGE age LESSON
Father’s harshness 4-16 conscience
Fencing tourneys 18-21 practice!
DN turmoil 19 psychological depths
Moving Buffalo to Phoenix 24 inner guidance
Dissertation 32-38 manifestation
SF struggle 41 detachment
CP debacle 42 self-assertion
K’s moving 46 acceptance
leadership challenge 48 good of whole
Ellie’s loss 55 fallibility
Book process 50-60 dedication
For Stage Two of mapping your Life Challenges and Lessons, ask yourself if there are themes or KINDS of Challenges that have recurred in your life. You can group same-themed Challenges together in a new listing. I encourage you to actively contemplate each of these and afterwards you may journal and/or talk with a loved one about the KEY LESSONS you have gained as Strengths from having faced each of these kinds of ordeals.
KINDS of Challenges / Key Lessons Gained
MOVES I have learned to use relocating as a mode of creative transformation, to facilitate new cycles of growth and creative advancement
LOSSES I have learned to accept what cannot be changed, yet to work hard to change what can be changed (St. Francis’s prayer).
PERSONALITY CONFLICTS I have learned to detach from those who might have a negative or competitive reaction to some of my beliefs or leadership style. Live and let be.
GOAL ACHIEVEMENT Persistence, perseverance, inner guidance, trust, belief, joy, gratitude.
What are YOUR Key Lessons? I welcome your insights, comments, and stories!