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Un-slumping yourself is not easily done

As Dr Suess notes in 'Oh, The Places You Will Go' "Un-slumping yourself is not easily done". For many of us we get to a place in our career or in our home life where we hit a brick wall and what we choose to do with that brick wall depends on our personal willingness to accept the glorious failure of the situation, how flexible you are to learn from the experience and how easily you can move on to potentially even greater heights.

The other evening while reading Dr Seuss to my children I realized for the first time the powerful message that is embedded in 'Oh, The Places You Will Go'. We all love to be walking along the sunny side of the street smelling the sweet roses and generally living in a moment of flow. That is until we are no longer in flow and suddenly we are facing a mountain that we are ill equipped to climb over.

My son has multiple learning difficulties and so 'failure' in the traditional academic and behavioral sense is ever present in my household but yet my son is possibly the most resilient and creative person I know. More often than not he has experienced glorious failure, faced up the the fear and moved on all before I've even fully understood the issue in question. So what are my son and good old Dr Seuss able to teach us;

  1. Be willing to try and fail. A fear of failure can narrow your opportunities. If you are willing to acknowledge that failure might be an outcome from your actions but are still willing to try then you are allowing yourself the chance to explore and be creative - two vital skills for any modern workplace.

  2. Be willing to learn from all experiences. We are living in a society where we are increasingly valuing the outcome rather than the journey. Sometimes we will struggle to climb the mountain and get knocked back again and again. Other times we try just once and realize that the mountain is unlikely to ever be traversed. In both cases valuing the journey is just as important as the outcome because you will emerge wiser and stronger each and every time you try.

  3. Be willing to explore all over again. Once you hit a barrier a willingness to sit back and re-evaluate is vital. Just because everyone traverses the mountain by foot doesn't mean you have it, there may yet be another unexplored way to get to the top of the mountain, such as by cable car. By allowing yourself time and space you are giving your brain a chance to 'think and innovate' uninterrupted instead of focusing all your effort on a specific desired outcome. That's when amazing things can happen.

By opening yourself up to failure and still value the experience you are allowing yourself to take chances. As Dr Suess suggests it is the resilient, resourceful and creative people who are the happiest not necessarily the ones who are sitting on top of the mountain first.

All opinions are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.


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