The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

I slowed my car outside of the soup kitchen and looked at the parking lot. There was one space left, and the only way I could park was to back up into it, which I was terrible at. My heart dropped into my stomach.

Nervously, I put my car in reverse. There were people outside my car, ones I automatically assumed were waiting for the soup kitchen to open. Not only was I frightened of my mom if I were to come home with a busted up door, but I also was scared of the outdoor surroundings: particularly, the people.

When a large man tapped on my driver’s side window, my heart went from the pit of my stomach to the middle of my throat. Before meeting his gaze, I checked that the doors and windows were locked. The man and two others rounded my car and began directing me on where to go and where to stop. Trusting them, I followed their advice and in less than a minute, I was securely stationed within the lines.

Instead of getting out of my car graciously thanking the men, I grabbed my car keys and held them between my knuckles, clutched my purse to my chest, and made a b-line towards the door. No eye contact. No smile. No “thank you”.

I didn’t understand the issue with my actions until the same three men faced me from across the counter...

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