Sometimes, life gets a little foggy. It may be because of circumstances that are outside of your control, or it may even be an outcome that you are responsible for, but at times, life conjures up difficult challanges to overcome.

Days like these, I am at a loss for what to write, even when I feel that I should. My role often puts me in the position offering potential solutions, and one of my go-to methods of finding clarity about a difficult decision or identifying where to start in tackling a seemingly insurmountable obstacle is to write it down or put it in list format.

This week in the #52ListsProject, it's all about writing about the difficult moments in your life that have shaped you for the better and formed you into a person distinctly and wholly different from anyone else. Admittedly, I am a few days behind in my own promise to myself to write every Sunday.

The prompt this week is a very personal one, and I have chosen not to share my response this week. However, I will say that it is very similar to a prompt I encountered last quarter while attending a class for the Organization Leadership Certificate that I am currently working toward. It was the introduction to our class, and really to our program, and we were invited to list something that made us unique from anyone else on the planet.

While some reported various qualities or habits that made them unique, others were quick to note that they cannot truly be unique on a planet with so many people. This began an interesting discussion embedded within the introductions where others could agree or disagree with the notion that we are inherently unique or ultimately similar. I realized, without having ever thought about it before, that I believe each and ever person is truly unique. Whether we look at the minute, microscopic levels of our DNA or on a grander scale of shared experience, I believe that each action, belief, or cognition we have as individual human beings makes us unique from one another. These are the divergent paths of our composition. If envisioned as a map, perhaps those pathways cross the world. Invariably, they will of course. For example, my fellow students and I cross paths in our discussions when we share similar ideas or experiences, but how we arrived at those experiences are very dissimilar. Taking this a bit further, I posit that even identical twins are unique from one another, even though they are, in fact, identical. Perhaps they are just more similar than most.

If you were to map the events that have molded and shaped you, be they good or bad, what would your map look like? How would you conceptualize it visually? Would it have a particular shape or would it be a straight line? Would it branch out like a magnificent tree or would it overlap and coalesce like so many ripples on a pond?

The #52listsproject can be a private or personal journey for each person who undertakes it. For me, this particular week is personal, a special part that I keep guarded from the rest of the world and to a certain extent, from the paths I may cross during the course of my vocation. Years ago, a client told me that they had the sneaking suspicion I had lived a lot of life in my considerably shorter years to have been able to know and help them so well. Then, as now, it struck me that this was both a compliment and a comment about how our experiences can often be our greatest teachers and teach us the most humbling lessons. Some things, simply put, cannot be learned from in an academic setting and are learned through the act of living.

This prompt, and the little tendrils of memory it has twitched, has prodded my critical thinking engine into gear, and I may ask my husband to complete this week's prompt with me. In fact, I have considered expanding it to include a list of positive events. I am curious to see how these two maps overlap for us as individuals and as a couple. It will be a thought experiment of sorts - if he agrees to it anyway.

I hope that this week's entry brings you some new insights, as well, or poses new questions you have not considered before. Our life stories are ultimately told in a series of events that we have chosen to highlight as significant to who we are and what we believe. Have you read your own story lately?

Until next time,