Not long ago, I needed two people to help me cross this street. It was covered in a thick coating of ice and that, combined with the incline, made it impassable for me in my regular shoes. Even with assistance and slow, deliberate steps, we barely made it to the other side without all three of us falling.

I thought of this when I had to cross the same street again, only this time in clear weather. In about three strides I easily traversed the pavement and, had it not been for my harrowing crossing the last time I was there, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought.

While I wouldn’t wish ice on anyone, I think it’s good to have experiences that are easy under one condition and challenging in another. It helps develop empathy when we note that not everyone experiences the world in the same way or with the same abilities.

Where have you done something that varied depending upon the circumstances? Speaking is easy, except when you have laryngitis. Writing is effortless, unless you have a broken arm and need to use your opposing hand. Driving is routine, unless the sun is in your eyes or there is snow on the road.

Remember that just because we find something simple to do or understand does not make it universally so.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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