View the Future from the Past

By Ann
December 19, 2011

Many dwell on the past to prove that they are victims.  It is easy to cast blame, for instance, on the economy, colleagues, society, and family for your current situation.  There is no shortage of evidence.

Looking outside for the rationale or for the solution for your circumstances is common practice.  It reminds me of the story of the drunk looking under the lamp post for his lost keys because the light was better there.

The reason many of us look “under the lamp post” is that it is easier.  Going into the dark, hidden spaces requires more effort.  It can be scary, too.  Initially, being the victim and blaming seems easier.  No personal or corporate responsibility for the outcome.

The downside of this approach is that you are giving away your ability to create different results.  By playing the victim, you are placing something or someone else in charge.  If something or someone else is in charge, how can you create anything different for yourself or your business?

“A Look in the Rear View Mirror” is an exercise that I use to help a leadership team begin planning to create the results they want.  The team reviews the last 12 months and answers these questions:

  1. What have been your successes?
  1. What did you learn?
  1. What can you improve?

Some outcomes of the exercise are that the team finds ways to celebrate accomplishments, even the small ones.  It is evident that experience, not theory, is a great teacher.  Phenomenal results can occur by fine-tuning what is already in place.

While the past does not dictate the future, it can be very useful in owning responsibility for decisions and thinking patterns that created your results.

Use these guidelines personally and professionally to create your future:

  • Serve  without attachment to the outcome.
  • Do your best without trying to be perfect.
  • Admit mistakes without justification.
  • Show up fully without trying to satisfy others’ expectations.

Take responsibility to lead from the inside out. There are opportunities everywhere.  Remember to look in the dark, hidden spaces. How are you going to use them to your advantage as you view the future from the past?

© 2011 Ann Elliott All Rights Reserved

 

One comment on “View the Future from the Past”

  1. Thanks, "Coach", for insights on how to grab 2012 by the horns. I agree that the future is built on what we've learned in the past - the good and the challenging - and when we use those lesson to refine our process, it's amazing how "lucky" we can be in accomplishing our goals. Best of success for 2012. Jae

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