Lately, we’ve been doing more and more work helping teams face the obstacles in their path – see our new “Raise the OFLAG” program. Too often, we think the problem we face is external, something “out there.” At TRP, our skill is to help teams look at what the opportunity for learning and growth is, “in here.” Looking at what we can change (instead of what we can’t), is deeply rewarding, if not easy. We get to hear amazing stories in this process. For example, while working with a client this past week, we asked our participants to reflect on this question:
What is a setback that you have experienced in life, which turned out to be a hidden opportunity for learning and growth (an O-FLAG)?
A remarkable answer came from a female participant, about 40 years old. She shared that about eight years ago she filed for divorce from a man who turned out to be not who he appeared to be when they married. It had taken her years to develop the courage to make the move to end the marriage. Her young daughter at the time, was seven years old which made the decision all the more difficult for her. She had very little money, and the divorce left her with almost nothing. To make ends meet, she realized something drastic would be required of her.
She held a yard sale and sold nearly everything she owned. She was left with no possessions, but was able to take the money she made and start a new life. For a short time, she and her daughter actually lived in her car before her parents ended up taking them both in. It took the better part of the year, but slowly she got back on her feet. Today she is a proud home-owner, single mother to a teenage daughter, and working for an employer in a job she truly enjoys. She went on to describe all the good things that had come out of that challenging chapter in her life and how she looks back on it as one of the best things that could have happened to her. It was a profound opportunity for learning and growth.
Her fellow participants sat in awe of this tale, you could feel their admiration. When she finished, I asked her, “What do you think your daughter learned from that period of life that the two of you shared together?” She paused only for a moment before replying: “I believe that my daughter learned, that no matter what is presented to us in life, we have the strength to see our way through it.”
Her answer came with the clarity of one who has sold all she had, lived in her car, and found through all of that, what she is truly made of.
Perhaps for each of us there have been events that appeared to be a “setback” and over time, we made meaning of that event. Or perhaps there are challenges that lay ahead, their significance yet to be uncovered. Our task is to discover the hidden opportunity for learning and growth that waits within.
As president, Daniel leads the team at TRP Enterprises to help inspire and uplift through world-class training programs.