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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Magic of Memory Lane

On a recent early autumn evening, I walked around the farm of my kidhood. In the spring, my father passed away, so I have spent more time here this year than in recent years. And on this particular evening I was on the farm alone. As the sun began to set a different memory seemed to arrive with each new step; memories of being a boy, of growing up, of mistakes made, of lessons learned and so much more.

I don't share this to be sappy or sentimental, though I can be both of those things. And to say that a tear drop didn't hit the ground would be a lie. But those are not the reasons I write this.

I write this for what happened after the tears fell and about the time the moon began to rise. I stopped thinking about those memories for a minute and started thinking about the day I had just spent as a professional 45-year-old man, doing things that seemed so far removed from this place and those memories.

And then the magic happened.

I began to connect those lessons and memories of the past to the things I did today, noticing things I could have done differently or better. I recognized that how I handled some things were a direct reflection of those lessons I had just remembered, though clearly they had been with me earlier in the day, I just didn't make that connection consciously.

The magic of learning happened.

It happened because I had stopped to reflect.

I stopped.

I reflected.

I took time to think, even though my laptop and a to-do list awaited me in the house.

I took time to think.

I thought about lessons from long ago and how they applied to me today. Though separated by time, context and circumstances, there were lessons remembered and learned that night that helped me be more effective, productive and successful the following day.

You can do what I did.

You can experience what I experienced.

You don't have to be at a farm in Michigan, or your childhood home. You could be walking down your street or across a college campus. You could be riding in a subway or sitting in your office. The where doesn't matter; what matters are the actions we must take.

You must turn down and turn off all the noise around you.

You must tune in . . . to your inner voices.

Scan the memories.

Ask the questions.

Listen to the answers.

Reflect.

Think.

And learn.

Your walk down memory lane may really happen (as mine did), or it may be in your mind; regardless of the where, the memories will offer lessons and learning opportunities - both long remembered and brand new.

And both will be magic.

Kevin Eikenberry is a leadership expert and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. To receive your free special report on Unleashing Your Potential go to http://www.kevineikenberry.com/uypw/index.asp or call us at (317) 387-1424 or 888.LEARNER.

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