Part of the Emerging Leaders project meetings involved the following exercise:
Pair up with someone in the room you don’t know. You each have one minute to tell your life story. First, I’d like you tell your life story from the perspective of a victim.
I’ll let you know when one minute for each of you has passed.
Now that you’ve shared, tell your life story from the perspective of being a hero.
Now tell your life story but relay it only from the perspective of the life lessons you’ve learned.
I thought it was going to be a really stupid exercise. I was really, really, really resentful that I was being forced to share my life story with someone I didn’t know at all. I did my best to share but edit gently.
Luckily, I had a really cool partner.
And you know what? I’m thinking of that experience today, and I’m not resentful. I really enjoyed it, and I really learned a lot about myself and my perspective of myself from that exercise.
It was really hard to be the victim. I kept trying to leap to the most positive things that happened, but that wasn’t really allowed. “Yeah, that sucked big time but later on something great happened!” I guess I’m a more positive person than I really thought.
Secondly, I was a bit embarassed to try and be the hero. But I couldn’t tell the story without making it funny. I think that’s true of librarians – we have a hard time making ourselves and our institutions into heroes.
And the life lessons…I hmmmed, and hawed and muttered something about learning to be patient. And now that I’ve had three or four days to think, I’ve realized how many life lessons I’ve really gained. And how I don’t appreciate or refer to those life lessons nearly enough. Wow…crazy…it’s like having an amazing personal resource center and never bothering to use it…
So, I went from resentfully baring my soul to really learning a lot. That six minute exercise is still making me think, days after the fact.
Something to ponder…
(p.s. I tried to find clipart a naked dude wearing a barrel. No dice. It got kinda kinky! Yikes!)