Monday Motivation: Learn From Your Missteps

trailrunI had an interesting insight while running this weekend.  I have a few courses that I run pretty regularly near my house and can point out most of the spots where I have either stumbled, tripped, or rolled my ankle in the past.  The combination of running in the dark, on trails, or new terrain is a recipe for the occasional fall.

As I was running, a thought occurred to me.  I never hurt myself in the same place twice.  Instinctively, I know where to swerve, where to shorten my stride and what places to avoid altogether.  Clearly this is a self-preservation response to ensure that I don’t get hurt again.  I have a favorite trail that I haven’t run on in over a year since spraining my ankle.  Is there a point where I should forgive that trail or is that just a recipe for another sprained ankle?

My thoughts then went to times in life where I’ve been hurt.  I can easily rattle off a list of relationships where someone hurt me or perhaps I hurt them, and in an effort not to be hurt again, I either made certain topics off limits or avoided that person entirely.  Clearly this is natural but is it healthy?  Here are the things I am contemplating as I examine this in my own life.

1. Is this a defense mechanism I have set up that prevents me from growth and improvement?

2. Is this defense mechanism completely healthy or could I potentially grow by tackling a difficult issue?

3. Is there anything to be gained by letting down this defense?

4. Is this something I can potentially work through with another person who can see my blind spots?

5. What can I learn from my missteps and turn it into a positive experience?

Does this resonate with you?  My fear is that my natural self-preservation instinct would keep me from reaching my full potential as a father, husband, boss, employee, among a number of other roles I fill.

Are you missing out on some beautiful paths in life because your first venture resulted in injury?

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Jeremy Watkin is a Product Marketing Manager at 8x8. He has more than 19 years of experience as a customer service professional leading high performing teams in the contact center. Jeremy has been recognized numerous times as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, and more. When not working you can typically find him spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis. Be sure to connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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