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By: Shannon Grant

Today I Learned…

“You learn something new every day if you pay attention.” – Ray LeBlond. He isn’t wrong. To learn something, one has to pay attention.


We all have had that moment where we hunker down to complete that far-from-entertaining chapter reading and find ourselves scanning the same page over and over again and failing to actually absorb what it is we just read. This is a perfect example of a failure to focus and pay attention. By looking at the action of learning through this lens, it can be concluded that an individual will die completely unchanged if they wander through life completely oblivious to anything going on around them and unwilling to actively look for any indication of an idea that may change their mindset. We often hear that life is an adventure, and what is associated with adventure? Change. Indiana Jones wouldn’t be an entire franchise if all Mr. Jones did was sit on his couch while nothing happened. At least I hope it wouldn’t. What I’m trying to say is – change is a good thing and in order to live a truly great life, change should be accepted and welcomed. That is why – even as hard as it is to choke down – I am now giving strong consideration to the fact that I am “enterprising.”


How did I discover that I was enterprising? A nifty little tool called Focus 2, a program that assesses your work interest, leisure preferences, values, personality, and skills. When viewing the results for my work interest assessment, which is perhaps most valuable to me right now considering I’m still trying to decide what it is I want to do with my professional future, I noticed a discrepancy. The top three adjectives describing my work interests were investigative, artistic (both of which I already knew), and then enterprising. What?


Focus 2 defines enterprising individuals as people who “often prefer activities selling and promoting. They enjoy influencing others and being in a leadership position. They often use their skills to influence others. They often like competitive activities and are often self-confident, talkative and energetic They generally enjoy discussing politics, selling and promoting, having power and status, giving talks and speeches, and leading groups.” Pretty intense, right? Everything you just heard described is basically my previous view of anti-Shannon. I’ve gotten better about it, but I used to avoid responsibility like it was the plague in fear of messing up, and public speaking is legitimately one of my irrational fears. On top of this, I hate competition and am a little below par when it comes to self-confidence. So why did my result on the assessment hint otherwise?


Thinking through the questions the assessment prompted me with, I recall that I marked that working in groups isn’t quite my forte, that I like projects where I can have creativity, and that I generally like social interaction and meeting new people. All of these things do hint at an enterprising individual. When taking into consideration all the ways that I am not enterprising, however, I saw what the real problem was; inwardly, I am the outgoing person that the result suggests. Outwardly, not so much.


I’ve been so afraid all of my life of responsibility, competition, and expressing my own opinion for fear of being misinterpreted or just being completely wrong.  What I didn’t realize is that it was okay to be wrong. School taught me to strive to always be right and to get good grades and because of this I was afraid to be wrong and thought that it was the worst thing a person could be. Learning from mistakes is one of the greatest tools that a person can use to develop themselves and grow into a more informed and grounded individual. I did not use this tool because I refused to take the risk of being wrong. However, inwardly, I know that I would enjoy public speaking, taking on responsibility, leading groups, and engaging in competitive activities, if only I had the confidence and bravery needed to do so. It is the stigma that was presented to me and that I still to this day hold on to that is holding me back.


It’s funny how one simple test result can make someone discover all of this. When it came to leisure interests, skills, personality, and values – something no one will criticize because there is really no way to have a “wrong” one of any of these – everything in my results reflected who I already knew I was. However, as I discussed earlier, my school work and other professional areas of my life were always another story, and this is why my work interest results held that discrepancy – or what I previously thought to be a discrepancy.


All-in-all, my takeaway from my experience with Focus 2 is that while I might have known most of who I am as a person, there is one side of myself that never truly developed because of my fear of failure. Seeing myself as an enterprising individual is still something very new to me, and I’m still growing to accept it and explore that part of myself more. After discovering that my cowardice is what has been holding me back, I will, starting from this moment as I am typing these words, try to take more risks and put my chronic fear of failure behind me.


“You learn something new every day if you pay attention.” I never would have discovered what I just have about myself if I had not paid attention. I know this. Ray LeBlond knows this, too. So you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be paying attention, and you should, too.

Shannon Grant
EDUC 131 Career Exploration

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