Last Thursday was a particularly challenging day. I came to class feeling very devalued and frustrated; largely due to some work related issues. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was that I had stuck in my craw, but it was definitely irritating me! I initially dreaded class, anticipating that it would add to my frustrations. I could not have been more wrong.
Our work group has adopted the name, the “Game Changers” and as it turns out for me, it has been a bit prophetic in nature. As we worked away on our assignment during class, the stress of day seemed to melt away. The practice of slowing down and deliberately reflecting before speaking really helped me focus on what I perceived as the problem; to dig deeper, think more critically and not to rely solely on my feelings, my biases, or my personal interpretations. The process was transforming. The result was that by the end of the evening we, as a group, collaboratively accomplished something of value. As we applied the principles of action learning, we truly began to break ground in digging deeper to discover the root of the problem with which our client is now grappling. I believe the experience boosted our confidence and excitement regarding our semester project.
I went home that evening pondering all this. Instead of stewing about what was happening at work, I began to apply the same principles of action learning to my dilemma; asking myself questions about the situation and what had led to the latest developments and the feelings I now harbored. I awoke the next morning with a clearer idea of the problem and what I needed to do to appropriately address it and when I got to work, I did just that. I immediately had a sense of relief and felt more energized and focused on the tasks at hand. I also realized that I had not merely been completing a class assignment the evening before, but rather practicing skills that have immerged over time as a result of being in the Adult Learning program. These were life skills that had immediate relevance for me both now and in the future. Although my work circumstances had not changed, I was being transformed by the principles and practices of what I have been learning over the last three years. I guess you could say the experience was a real, “game changer”!