Oh the People You Will Meet?



Key Point: The last line in Colin Powell’s book It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership is the following: “The people in my life made me what I am.” That sentence in its simplicity is the essence of his being.

There is an old adage that states, “When the student is ready, the teacher comes.” I believe that every day provides us with an opportunity to learn from others. The people we run into and seek out daily are not just other folks but literally life coaches.

As an example, yesterday I had a meeting with a colleague who taught me how to synthesize and use a metaphor to describe a problem. Observing and listening to a conversation with teammates at another meeting reinforced the principle that self-accountability is the key to career progress. Another person refused to give up his parking place to me, which reinforced the importance of being generous. These are just a few examples, and the day wasn’t even over yet.

Beyond being conscious and learning from our daily interactions, proactively seeking out what we want to learn from others is also important. I doubt that I will meet Colin Powell in person but I can learn a lot by reading about what he thinks and believes. The following are 13 rules Powell uses to guide his life. Click here if you want his further thoughts on each point.

 “1. It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.

2. Get mad, then get over it.

3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.

4. It can be done!

5. Be careful what you choose.

6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.

7. You can’t make someone else’s choices.

8. Check small things.

9. Share credit.

10. Remain calm. Be kind.

11. Have a vision.

12. Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.

13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”

Character Move:

  1. On a daily basis, consciously view interactions with people as lessons to help us more thoughtfully shape who we are and how we continue to evolve.
  2. Seek out your teachers and coaches. Who do you want to learn from? Why? What about them attracts you? Inspires you? Accept what you can also learn from those you don’t choose but for one reason or another enters your life.
  3. While each of us is our own person and continues to uniquely evolve, having a mindset that everyone we interact with is a teacher provides us a roadmap based on the importance of respecting the value of all. Everyone is a teacher. As students, we need to be ready for them.
  4. Remember that ALL the people in our lives will collectively and profoundly shape who we are. Based on that premise, who do you want to seek out? What will you learn from each person you interact with?

People shape the Triangle,