I remember vividly all of the times I've lost out on certain opportunities. Equally because I most definitely took parts of them to heart and also because I try to learn from the rejection I've felt. I think that for so many of us, these rejections have a way of engraining themselves in our memory and if you're like me, they also like to pop up and say hello on your bad days too.
I have never only been asked to share about the traumatic things that hurt me as opposed to the content I simply enjoy, I've never lost out on an opportunity to develop my career because of the colour of my skin and I've never been rejected for anything deeper than not being the right fit for a particular new step. I'm privileged enough to know that there can only be certain reasons I've lost out on particular opportunities and that's why I know that for me, there are lessons to be learned in why any opportunity was missed.
From school, to university, to my career path in retail, lecturing and beyond - the things I've lost out on being a part of are experiences that if I give the right amount and type of attention to, can enable so much personal growth.
Opportunities in my life that I've missed out on, are tools that I can utilise moving forward rather than dwelling on what I may have missed. Perspective is always key and especially so right now.
I know like so many friends I've spoken to, the memories of missed opportunities seem to rear their head at the most inopportune moments. When you're lying awake at 2am with sleep evading you, when you're having a particularly down day of doubting your worth or when you're in the running for another tick on your checklist - it always seems to be that way. When we haven't truly dealt with the ramifications of a decision that was taken out of our hands, it comes back in an attempt to dictate how we deal with the next hurdle we face. Sometimes in life you hear words of advice that seem to resonate with you and a few years ago that happened to me. As someone who tries actively not to have regrets and has for years stood by the line You Live, You Learn (from my favourite Alanis Morissette song of the same name of course and also my very first tattoo) hearing " looking back means you might miss the opportunities ahead " struck a chord that has carried on singing.
We often hear advice from those close to us about not dwelling on past mistakes or not giving time to worries that might consume too much of us. But how are we to learn and grow if we don't acknowledge why certain opportunities were missed? Was it lack of experience that meant that promotion didn't happen? Was it missing a qualification that meant you didn't get accepted onto a placement? Was it not working hard enough that meant you missed out on that better grade? Of course there isn't always something extreme to learn and take away, perhaps the learning curve is just to not be too disheartened and to make sure you try again, but in my eyes that's also just as important. It's taking the time to look at why those opportunities were missed in the first place, that allows you to better yourself in time for the next goal that arises. It stops us from looking back too often. if we've already learned the lesson we seek and so embracing the missed opportunities in life, can mean you don't miss any more of them.
I'd love to know if you're like me and you try to learn from your missed opportunities or if you see looking into the future a far better way to navigate hurdles? I think over the last few months and with so much time spent at home, it's been enlightening to discover how I can grow and for it to have reinforced that the things I've missed out on, can help me not to miss the next opportunities.