|I am not a Pollyanna, and I don’t consider myself to have a particularly sunny disposition. Yet somehow, I still find ways to drive my teammates a little nutty with my optimistic attitude about challenges we encounter in our work and ways we feel like we failed.
Recently, two of us led a workshop that didn’t go to plan. Despite many many hours of prep work, we had to adjust our agenda on the fly multiple times to accommodate some curveballs that maybe we should have seen coming.
I definitely felt defeated for a bit, but after a good night’s sleep and a good meal, I did what I always do. I started asking what was to be learned from that experience.
When my teammates encounter a challenging personality in a partner or one of their projects, I encourage them to view the situation as a laboratory or an opportunity to observe and learn about behaviors that support or derail group processes.
When one of us is doubting ourselves or our abilities, I encourage examining the beliefs beneath the doubt to see what needs our attention. What is the doubt about, and what can it tell us?
To be sure, I am not encouraging bypassing the emotions that come up when we find ourselves confused or frustrated or feeling defeated. I’m just pointing to the reality that there are always lessons to be found. Lessons that, if heeded, can make us, our projects, and our processes stronger the next time around.