Identifying Personal Baggage

Some benefits of getting older might be the wisdom and patience learned through trial and tribulation, failure and success, and learning to roll with the unpredictable nature of life itself. I firmly believe that wisdom comes with experience, which really just means age. Younger people haven’t had as many life experiences yet, so their wisdom hasn’t yet been refined by life’s challenges and unpredictability as someone in their 50’s or 60’s. But it’s just a matter of time for them to learn their lessons too.

A personal example of what this looks like in real life occurred a few years ago at the company for which I currently work. A new program was implemented and everyone was expected to participate. A book was passed around called “Strengths Finder 2.0.” The idea was to take a test that resembled a personality profile test, but was formulated toward personal skills rather than personality traits.

I immediately felt the bile in the back of my throat and thought to myself, “Oh crap. What a waste of everyone’s time (especially mine). This will not lead to someone (me) getting a different job, or a raise, or make any real difference to the company other than lost productivity while we take this stupid test.” I made myself heard to a few people around me too, though I knew not to be too vocal for my own good.

After a while though I heard other people talking about it and how they felt like it was really a great tool. They had learned a little about themselves that they didn’t know. I was dumbfounded! Who could think this was a good thing? Well, the answer turned out to be not only younger folks but also many of the managers over some of the larger teams. Those managers were especially grateful for the results because it gave them a little better insight into the overall make-up of the their teams’ skill set.

I then felt humbled because I realized I had been spouting my opinion about it that was based only on my past negative experiences. I had baggage, and I had to get rid of it. I realized that my past negative experiences shouldn’t poison someone else’s current experiences. I learned to keep my mouth shut about these types of things because I was simply bringing out my baggage and exposing the contents to those around me needlessly. I vowed to try and not let that happen again. Essentially I was consciously evolving toward a more supportive employee working toward the goals of the company rather than my next paycheck.

And that’s something that isn’t in Strengths Finder.


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