Create an Adaptable Life Vol 3 #3: What Have I Learned?
December 23, 2014
At this time of year, we often retrospect, to plan for the new year. I like to do that, too. It’s another question, just like my questions of the week.
Sometimes, it’s hard to ask the “What have I learned?” question. It’s too big. You can make it smaller.
One way to make the question smaller is to make the timeframe smaller. When Mark and I have dinner, we can ask, “How was your day?” We discuss the day’s events. Sometimes we laugh. Sometimes, we shake our heads over the nonsense we encounter.
It can be difficult to learn from just one day. How do you make meaning from just one day? I journal so I can learn from more than one day’s worth of history.
If you don’t like writing, you might try gathering data each week and at month intervals. When I started writing down my weight in my notebook on the first of every month, not just each week, I had two trendlines: each week and each month. I could learn from each week’s timebox, and I could learn from each month. I learned a lot.
Sometimes, your learning arrives long after the event that spawned the learning occurs. I see this in my coaching all the time.
I ask a client to experiment with something, such as smaller stories or more servant leadership. We discuss how to do so. The client selects how to proceed and tries something.
They receive immediate results. Often, those are good. But what happens later is the interesting part.
Several weeks or even months later, the client and/or the team members realize that they have learned more than they expected.
They didn’t realize that my suggestion for smaller stories or to watch their work in progress or to change a question would produce such dramatic results. Certainly not as an experiment.
When you ask this question, “What have I learned?” you open yourself to possibilities. The possibilities are about what you could do next. Isn’t that great?
I have learned much this year, both by asking and answering my questions of the week. The biggest thing I have learned is to embrace my handicaps and small successes. I have learned to build on both.
I wish you a happy and healthy holiday season and much learning for 2015.
If you liked this article about learning, you want to know about The Influential Agile Leader. Gil Broza and I create an environment where you will find it safe to learn. We teach experientially, so you have a chance to practice and reflect on what you learn. Please join us at The Influential Agile Leader. We have early bird rates for California and London only until Dec 31, 2014.
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© 2014 Johanna Rothman