I recently attended a personal development seminar and learned a lot about myself and how to handle the obstacles that have hindered my growth in business and my personal life. We all face obstacles and regardless of their sizes, they are all called by the same term…Obstacles!
Are you struggling with moving forward in specific areas of your life? Perhaps you believe that all is well but in reality, we all have obstacles that we are facing on a consistent basis. How would it feel if you learned how to recognize them, deal with them, push through them, and achieve the goal or success you have always wanted?
Here is one experience I had at this wonderful seminar.
Many years ago, I was so excited to graduate from high school with all of my friends. The ceremony was long as usual and mass confusion was everywhere as parents and loved ones tried to find their graduates to take those photos that would last a lifetime. In spite of the chaos, it was not impossible to find these graduates (we were the ones with the cap and gown outfits).
I searched for my parents and family members. As time ticked by and the crowd began dispersing to their graduation luncheons or parties, I was still searching for my parents. After a while, my heart sunk as I realized that I was not going to have my picture taken to remember this milestone in my life. Taking off my cap and gown, I walked home as I usually do from my school but unlike a regular school day, today’s journey was a lonely one. It was rather quiet or maybe it was my ears trying to shut out the rest of the world while I contemplated on how empty my high school graduation ceremony really was for me.
Then a spark of home revived my spirit – perhaps my parents tried to find me but got overwhelmed with the crowd. YES, that must have been the reason why I didn’t find them. My pace quickened as I walked the last two blocks to my house. I arrived home to see my parents car in the garage. That was a good sign because I would have felt worse if the car was not there which meant that they were still at the school trying to find me!
I dropped my cap and gown in my room and went upstairs with the intent to ask them what they thought about the ceremony. On my way to the kitchen, I glanced at the dining room table looking for any sign that my parents had attended my graduation. There were no evidence of brochures or programs from the ceremony. Well, maybe those things were in the kitchen where my parents were (I could hear them talking as they sipped their afternoon coffee – a ritual they enjoyed for many years).
As I entered the kitchen, I quickly surveyed the table, counters, and all nooks and crannies. There was no trace of my graduation ceremony here either. In fact, there was no trace of my graduation anywhere in the house except for what I brought home. They asked, in a blasé manner, how was the ceremony as they continued to sip their coffee. There was no offer of taking pictures with me after the fact or a proposal to take me out to dinner to celebrate my achievement. For years, I resented what happened as my two younger brothers were celebrated for their achievements at their graduation ceremonies. Their pictures were taken and memories were lasting for them.
As for me, it made me feel that I was simply “not worth it”. I carried that throughout my adult years when it came to my parents and though I didn’t realize it, this singular event contributed to my inability to receive compliments because… I am not worth it.
At this recent seminar, we had an exercise in which we listed one of our hurts from the past. We were instructed to write it down on a piece of paper listing the “fact” (my parents did not attend my High School graduation) and my “meaning” of it (I am not worth it). We were then instructed to write in our course notebook the exact same wording of the “fact” but this time, write a new “meaning” to help us push through the hurt.
The song, Hero, was played as we were asked to close our eyes and listen to the first verse. We were instructed that only IF we were willing to let go of that hurt, we could come to the front of the room and viciously rip apart our piece of paper (not the one in the course notebook) and with authority, throw it (not drop it or toss it) into the black plastic bag that lined the trash can.
I was the first one to step forward and rip my paper. A tear trickled down my face as I performed this final act of this hurt. Viciously I ripped the paper as the instructor cheered me on. With authority, I threw the paper into the black bag forever!
Soon, other courageous individuals came forward to tear up their papers. At the end, the instructor gathered up any stray pieces of paper on the floor and tossed it into the bag. She tied the bag tight and shouted for an associate to come to the front. She thrust this bag into his chest and with authority, she yelled at him to “take this trash out of this room and throw it away!” He quickly ran out of the room while we all cheered.
But wait! There were a few minute pieces of paper still on the carpet. The instructor picked up those tiny pieces, yelled for another associate to come to the front, and carefully placed those pieces in her hand. She instructed that person to quickly take this trash out of the room! The clapping continued as the instructor told us that she did not want to see ANY trace of our hurts left in the room! POWERFUL!!
Never again will this hurt me and if it ever does come back to mind, I will now remind myself the words I wrote on my course notebook of my new meaning:
I AM ACCOMPLISHED!!!
What hurt have you been hanging onto that has held you back from your success? I hope this story inspired you to do something about it.
Here is the chorus of the song:
And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you’ll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you