Can You Learn from Every Experience?

learn from experience

I have come to believe that everyone with whom we interact was placed on our path for a reason; that every situation we encounter was put in front of us for a reason.

The real challenge, of course, is to discover what that reason is.

How can we learn from every experience?

In every area of business, for example, I find that I do things a particular way because it was suggested to me.

For example, I use the catchphrase “Digital Marketing Done-for-You” on my website not because I came up with the idea, but because a client of mine once said, “Can’t you just do it for me!” after hearing me explain the value of Internet marketing.

Another colleague used to say that he likes to “take some ground every day”. What did he mean by that?

He meant that he wants to move forward and grow his business by a little bit every day.

I remember hearing those words as though they were spoken just yesterday, and if I never run into those people again, I will always remember what they taught me.

Who is in your orbit?

Your orbit is the circle of people that revolve around you each day — your “bubble of people”.

I find that I am possessive of my orbit — I don’t want to give it away, open it up, or share it unless the person I’m sharing it with has something to offer.

I get my best ideas from the people in my orbit, and I expect to give back and be a valuable contributor to theirs. Some members of my orbit are good at problem-solving and offering timely advice, while others share gems of wisdom that I hear but may not appreciate until later.

Sometimes the answer is “No”

A colleague of mine used to say that you should always answer a question by saying “yes” and then go on to qualify your response if need be. “Don’t use negative words,” he cautioned. Answering a client’s email with the words “No problem” was to be avoided because both of those are negatives.

However, I find that sometimes “No” is the appropriate answer, and we should not be afraid to use it when necessary. That’s because sometimes the question we’re asked comes out of frustration or confusion, and it’s our responsibility to use that as a learning experience.

How can you learn from every experience?

I believe that today I do learn from every experience. I do that by listening carefully and trying to understand what it is that the client or person in my orbit most needs right now. If I can’t determine that on my own, I will often ask, “What’s the one thing I can do that would help you the most?”. That question, the pause that inevitably follows, and then the response to my question, are key elements that help bring mindfulness into my day.

How do you remain relevant? How do you bring value to every experience?