We Are Not Defined By Our Struggles

Occasionally I will pay attention to events, trends, and concepts that are developing, especially those items that could explode into the mainstream or media at any time.  For those of you who know me, you know the “occasionally” comment was highly sarcastic.  While what I am about to say technically isn’t new, it is becoming a hotter and hotter topic.  This idea is that we are defined by our struggles.  Without commenting on right/wrong, notice the recent Jenner headlines.  All about the struggle of an individual – with who they are, how they cope, their decisions.  Likewise, the race relation and police issues over the past year.  And the same with politics.  As the 2016 election heats up, the focus is on the struggles or difficulties and how that defines the candidates.

Unfortunately, the same happens with people in companies/organizations.  Individuals as well as teams tend to get defined, and sometimes woefully define themselves, by their struggles.  This is evident when the words, “well, we are just a ‘late’ bunch of folks,” or, “I am just this way,” or “that team just can’t deliver anything on time.”  While these words seem harmless, they identify an attitude and a construct that limits us to what we cannot do or what we struggle with.

In Agile, we focus on what we do well.  While we always try to improve and iteratively correct mistakes, there is an understood power in accentuating the positives and putting energy into further improvement/enhancement of those positives.  Sorta like fertilizing a yard so that the strong grass chokes out the weeds.  This becomes a point of success for the team.  Likewise, as an individual, it is time to stop defining ourselves by what we don’t do or what we struggle with.  I am not my failures, my challenges, or my past mistakes.  Rather, I am my successes, my strengths, and my character.

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