Let your past make you better, not bitter.
That’s a strong statement. And a true statement. Every single thing that we experience shapes us and our perspective – how we filter the world. If you think about it, even catastrophe changes your filter and helps you grow. Some people may think its peculiar to think tragedy can be positive, but reflection can give you that perspective. Henry and Richard Blackaby discuss in their book, Spiritual Leadership, how tragic events like abuse, alcoholism, and death can shape and prepare leaders for the roles they fill as adults. These events “can either crush an aspiring leader or develop the character and resolve within emerging leaders that enables them to reach greater heights in the future.”
Most of my readers do not know my personal story, as I’ve yet to share any on this platform. An undoubtedly life altering event occurred when I was 15 years old and lost my father unexpectedly in an accident. Little did I realize at the time how that and the 20 years that followed would shape me. I came from a stable, loving, Christian family that basically unraveled in the years following that accident. After many years, and God’s grace, I am able to see how that experience that is shaping me into the leader I am today. Adversity and our ability to talk about what we’ve faced, is precisely what will unlock our greatest potential. If you desire to learn more about how failure, crisis, and hardship shaped some of the world’s most prominent leaders, look up the stories of Martin Luther King Jr. (attempted suicide, abused), Woodrow Wilson (failed to win approval of his father), Winston Churchill (neglected, speech impediment), Abraham Lincoln (bankruptcy), Gandhi (imprisoned), and the list goes on.
When you are faced with a challenge, reflect on how this might be shaping you into the leader you will become tomorrow!