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What Did I Learn from You?

My friend Beth walks through life learning from notable events. For example, if she has a less-than-satisfactory encounter with someone, she’ll pause later and say, “What I can learn from this is…”

My friend Dean used to sit in meetings and pay attention to what she was observing and learning from her colleagues. One time, she talked about this, and gave examples: “From Marianne, I learned this… from Curt I learned that…”

I try to pause and notice what I’m learning from or being reminded about from others. (Some times more successfully than other times.)

The Reflections Are There, if We Take Time to Notice

Here are some positive examples of reminders, which are there just for the noticing (not that any of these people remind me of only one thing):

From Leta, to be organized, friendly, kind, confident, and humble—all at the same time.

From Tish, to make a plan and follow it.

From Tom, to keep a positive attitude.

From Paul, to keep calm and pay attention.

From Brendon, to take time to establish rapport.

From Wendy, to express thanks for others’ contributions.

From Dave, to pay close attention to what people say.

From Shawn, to disagree without being disagreeable.

From Lois, to talk about things that are not comfortable to say out loud.

From (another) Dave, to explain the same thing as often as necessary, without losing patience.

From Cindy, to check on essential details while avoiding unnecessary trivia (and many other things).

From Carl, to offer assistance for no particular reason.

From Dana, to walk out on the ice when someone needs help, trusting that she won’t fall through.

From JJ, to say how things are (really) going in just the right way for the context.

From Shelley, to acknowledge when someone does a good job.

From Margaret, to be great at welcoming newcomers.

From Steve, to ask about how the day is going, and to be interested in the answer.

From Alan, to listen well and to express gratitude for others.

And again, from Beth & Dean, to pay attention to learning from events and people every day.

We’re all modeling ways of being (or ways not to be) all the time, whether we realize it or not.

And if we are paying attention, we are learning, too.

Suggestion. Try making a list like this, thinking about what you notice about the people in your life, past and present. Making the list can be a powerful reminder of the things that are important—to you. And noticing that those around us provide reminders of so many things worth remembering can be a great thing in itself.

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