What got you here won’t get you there – Marshall Goldsmith
Many years ago, a wise coach of mine once told me: “Stop looking at your life from the rear view mirror.”
As someone who always wants to learn more, do more, and do it better (can anyone else relate to this?), my values around learning and growth inspire me to keep striving to find new ways of doing things.
But there is also a flip side to this strongly held value of mine: occasionally, my desire to squeeze the learning and meaning from every single experience can drive me to overanalyze and rehash what has already happened waaaaay beyond what is useful.
Glancing in our rear view mirror helps us see where we’ve come from, what progress we’ve made, as well as what’s coming up behind us. That’s useful.
But an over-dependence on our rear view mirror, instead of helping us move forward, instead keeps us looking backwards and…. stuck.
We can learn from our experiences – positive ones and negative ones – and proactively integrate those lessons into our leadership without either driving ourselves crazy or getting stuck in endless contemplation that leads nowhere.
If an over-dependence on your rear view mirror has got you stuck, try this:
1) Become a student of your own experience. What are you learning right now? Trust that you are learning the essential lessons; and if you aren’t, trust you’ll probably get another chance to do so.
2) Look deeply, but don’t linger. Harvest the nuggets of the learning from whatever the experience is and move on.
3) Focus on the present. We can only make choices and take action in this moment, not five minutes ago, and not five minutes from now. Given what you’ve learned from the experience, what can you do NOW?
In the comments below, I’d love to hear from you. Tell me:
1) As a leader, when do you get stuck in the rear-view mirror?
2) What helps you move forward?
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