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Trevor E. S. Smith | What will be different?

Published:Sunday | December 17, 2017 | 12:00 AMTrevor E. S. Smith

You are restless in bed in hopeful expectation. The big moment arrives and you are breathless in anticipation.

However, your hopes are dashed and expectation turns to frustration. What went wrong?

Now that time has elapsed, you are again excited and optimistic about this new opportunity. The adrenaline is pumping, hope is alive, and you are all energy and drive.




- What will be different this time?

- Why will this end in satisfaction and not frustration?

- Have you adjusted your strategy to avoid another tragedy?

- Failure or lesson?

Life is a harsh teacher. We are forced to go through excruciating pain and shame-faced embarrassment. Those situations hurt deeply, and the scars may last as a permanent reminder.

All that comes to nought if we fail to learn from those experiences. While life is busy teaching, are we learning or merely grieving?

There is great benefit in revisiting those traumatic experiences, and digging deep to identify what took place frame-by-frame, step-by-step. Hopefully, we learn what went well and what were the missteps.

That exercise empowers us by giving us experience in handling an important real-life issue. The more objective and brutally honest we are in the review process, the better equipped we will be to deal with the next challenge.




Our minds are geared to protect us from pain. Consequently, we deceive ourselves. Lying covers the need to explain, and rewriting history shields us from the pain.

It is not our carelessness and lack of preparation that led to the problem - it is just less painful if we find someone to blame.

When we can't find a convenient target, we resort to cursing our luck or making excuses related to our gender, race, location, etc.

This escape from reality is stopping up our eyes and ears while life is sounding out important lessons. We must remove the blindfold and earplugs to be ready for the next challenge.


Knowledge transfer


One cause of repeated disappointment is the failure to apply lessons from the past. We might even have performed the painful, honest analysis and identified our failings. Yet, somehow, we fail to apply what we have learnt. The circumstances might be a little different or maybe our memories have faded. Whatever the reason, we end up making similar mistakes.

I use the analogy of a prankster tying a string across a doorway. It trips us up repeatedly. It makes no sense, yet it happens - we repeatedly pursue failed strategies.

One of life's mysteries is identifying what it takes for us to consistently apply the knowledge and the skills that we acquire at the right time. We need it in that moment, not afterwards, shaking our heads in remorse.


Being Right


Great benefits can be reaped from developing the discipline to do the right things, in the right way, at the right time and for the right reasons. The key word here is discipline.

Doing the right things means breaking with tradition and getting rid of habits that are dear to us.

Doing the right things means stomping out "I can't be bothered".

Doing the right things might offend others and may require courage, endurance, and faith.

"Reasons"is another clue.

Right reasons give us the motivation to get things done well.

Right reasons encourage us to shut out distractions and to focus on the goals.

Right reasons help us to visualise the prize, and to use that as an added incentive for excellence.


Call to Action


Learn from the past with your team through an employee satisfaction survey or 360 performance appraisal assessments. The process is swift, logistically-friendly and cost-effective. Extract powerful insights at a surprisingly low cost. Request a no-cost consultation and quotation.

Save February 16, 2018 for the 2018 Exclusive Breakthrough Boot camp: Guided Path to Realising the Next Level of Your Journey as Best-selling author and Fortune 500 Consultant Keri S. Smith brings breakthroughs to Kingston!

• Trevor E. S. Smith and the Success with People Academy team prepare and certify leadership coach/mentors and develop high performing teams. hire smart with their recruitment solutions. Now enrolling for the January cohort of the ICF/SHRM-Accredited Certified Behavioural Coach programme.