What Do You Do When You Fall?

Sometimes, you take a leap and you fly.  Other times, you take a leap and you hit the ground.  What do you do when you hit the ground?

As I was writing these words, I remembered the film, City of Angels, with Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan.  In the film, Nicholas Cage is an angel who decides to take a fall in order to become human and pursue his love for Meg Ryan’s character. He takes this leap without knowing what he will encounter.  When he hits the ground, his face and hands are bloodied. He feels and tastes things he has never experienced.  Despite his pains, he gets up and begins to follow his dream.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUy6v3oGTOo

When you try something new and falter, you can feel bruised, bloodied, and vulnerable. Now, we aren’t jumping off buildings like Nicholas Cage, but it can feel that way.  The question is, “What do you do now?”  If you are growth oriented, you will be there again!  When you have such an experience, what can you learn and take with you going forward?  I suggest considering the following actions and questions.

First of all, take a break and do something kind for yourself.

When you are ready to assess the situation, reflect upon the following questions.  Because this work can be challenging, talking about it with someone you trust can be very helpful.

  • What happened?
  • What were the positives?
  • What were the challenges?
  • What did you learn from the situation?
  • What did you learn about your strengths and what you enjoy doing?
  • What did you learn about your weaknesses and what you don’t enjoy?
  • What did you discover you want to continue learning?
  • What do you want to leave behind?
  • Did you discover that you were pursuing the wrong work, passion, job, etc?
If you don’t stretch yourself, you won’t grow.  How do you know if your stretch is the right one?  You don’t always know.  Sometimes, it is clear that you should go for it.  Other times, the picture is a little murky. In other cases, the signs are all there that you are heading down the wrong path and you ignore them anyway. What I know for sure is that we have to try new things in order to be effective leaders, have successful careers, and live fulfilling lives.  Learning from a challenging experience can help you build resilience and clarify the direction you want to take in work and life.

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