How do you learn your life lessons?

How do you learn your life lessons?


Here we are on Sunday night after a wonderful weekend full of fun activities, Christmas shopping, and seeing friends. We are having a nice dinner accompanied with a good wine, my spouse is cooking steak on the barbecue, life is good!

We’re having this profound conversation about life, and by the time we finish our meal, I noticed a small piece of steak left in my spouse’s plate. When I asked him why he left ONE small piece of steak, I am offered a profound life lesson. Do you want to hear it? Here it is :

“The Reason why I left this tiny bit of steak on my plate is to remind me that I didn’t cook it right and to remind me that next time I can do better.”

Boom! At first, I thought he was being funny, but no he was serious and that was a bit of a shock for me, and here is why. What I often see when training or coaching people, as well as in day-to-day life, is that when people make a mistake, they try to hide it, or even worse, they may blame somebody else or something in their environment. But this man, my love, had decided that he would keep it in sight so that he could learn from it.

Maybe you think it’s funny too, but what if that applies to you? Look around; what is going on in your office? When you make a mistake are you willing to accept responsibility even though it would be easy to think somebody else caused the mistake.

The most common human reaction is to blame somebody or something outside of ourselves. We know for a fact that it’s difficult to accept imperfection, it’s difficult to accept that we may have made a mistake or that we may need to learn or practice a little bit more in order to get it right.

Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself next time you make a mistake: “What have I done that may have caused this result? In what way have I contributed to this result? In what way can I learn and improve myself so that I can become better at whatever I do? Would that help me become a better person?”

When you’re willing to recognize your contribution to a situation, (call it a problem, a mistake, a disaster, or a success), take the time to see what happened and what your part was in it. That way you give yourself the gift of maturity, you open your mind to creativity, and you model the type of leadership that you want others to replicate.

I learned from my spouse that he has a “3-minute rule” when it comes to barbecuing a steak: every three minutes go check your steak, if you miss, too bad, you eat a burned steak. The lesson here is although he did not follow his own rule and that caused the steak to be burned, his reaction was not to blame the barbecue for being too hot, the quality of the meat, or even me for talking too much. No, he assumed responsibility for his mistake and he learned from it.

Small day-to-day situation, big learning! My most sincere wish for you in this upcoming year is that you be willing to look at your mistakes as positive experiences and great opportunities to learn and grow, as well as to demonstrate the quality of your leadership.

Remember that people who never admit to mistakes, lower their chances of really learning how to be better and growing who they are. In other words they don’t see the learning opportunities.

Have fun learning during the Holidays!


Francine Provost 

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