All of us, at some point in our lives, have experiences that shape who we are, how we think, or what we choose to do next. These are the kinds of experiences that you think back on throughout your life. They are the lenses through which you view what happens to you, and the litmus tests for what you should do next.
Often times, you’ve paid a price for these experiences. Maybe you made a big mistake, or saw someone else make one. There are times you saw people you care about get hurt – or helped – by the decisions that you made or stood by their side in joy or sorrow brought on by others others. As I’ve often told my sons, the tuition for your experience is paid for by the mistakes you make. Experience is a powerful thing because it removes a concept, a suggestion, a belief or an idea from the abstract to the concrete. In doing so, it affects your thinking – and your life – in a very real way.
Here’s the thing.
Everyone has these experiences, but most of us keep them to ourselves – not out of selfishness or even embarrassment, but simply because the opportunities to share them don’t present themselves.
I would submit to you that by keeping these experiences to ourselves, we are missing an enormous opportunity to be impactful in the lives of those we meet. If these experiences had the ability to help you, isn’t it possible they might be able to help someone else?
We are the steward of our experiences. While our experiences are often personal, they shouldn’t belong only to us. Sharing what you know with people you care about, with those around you, with others you encounter or are able to influence is an opportunity to be impactful in the lives of others. The more people your life affects, the more significant your life is.
Put another way, the wisdom borne of your experiences isn’t as significant if you’re the only one benefitting from it. All of have a degree of knowledge and wisdom that is the product of the many experiences we’ve had. I invite you to be deliberate in sharing what you’ve learned with others that can be aided by that wisdom. Look for opportunities to visit with peers, subordinates, friends or new acquaintances. Approach every interaction with a desire to be helpful, and you will take a powerful step toward leading a life of significance.
By Shane Walsh