Another New Year. We made it, despite the ominous predictions of the Mayans and challenges that seemed insurmountable. We have a whole year to put four new numbers at the end of every month and day — 2013 is here to stay.
As the hours tick away and we realize there is no turning back to a year gone by, we may spend time reflecting on the past for all the greatness or demands that became part of our personal history. How much time should we reflect on what was and what might of been?
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves and others as we leap ahead into the first day of a new year. Though the date is only a marker in time, it brings significance to recall where we have been and where we want to go. We are conditioned to set goals, broadcast resolutions, make commitments. We are all lined up in business to start our annual sprint toward revenue targets, profits and sales quotas. Departments and executives lay out the vision and business plan. We stand and cheer as we round the corner and “pass go” to do it all again. We give ourselves and others another year to achieve great success.
Yet it can be hard to forget some of our nagging challenges and failures of the past 365 days. The reflection of what we did not accomplish can cloud our view of what lies ahead. Obsessive reflection deters progress. Could have, would have, should have really needs to be can, will and shall in the coming year.
We are all moving forward, together! The earth is rotating and time is passing. We can not stop our momentum. Some may want to slow the inevitable; however, there is not a time machine to take us back. If we continually reflect on the better days of the past, we will miss the turns we need to take in the future. We will be left behind. It happens to very successful businesses and leaders as they get mired in their own greatness and fail to see what lies ahead.
We must focus on what can get done, what we will accomplish in the New Year. Historical performance gives guidelines of the best path forward. At every fork, we need to turn to previous decisions and analyze how well we executed on each task or goal to determine the reality of which turn we take in the future. We don’t drive always looking in the rear view mirror. Watching what is behind, does not allow us to focus on what’s ahead — in life or in business.
Memories serve great purpose. Predicting the future requires history. It is important to use past performance, decisions, data, research to better predict future outcomes. It does not mean we should get buried in our past or mesmerized by our own reflection so that we fail to see the path forward.
We should all take time to reflect – briefly. Use our past to build our map to the future. Know our goals. It’s time to move ahead. The 2012 bus is leaving the station. The calendar tells us so.
As we move forward into 2013 with celebratory optimism, it is up to everyone to make choices that make us better and more prosperous. Hope burns eternal. So, clink that glass half full and let the confetti fly! One thing is absolute, 2013 is here to stay.
Happy New Year!
Jamie Glass, CMO & President of Artful Thinkers and Managing Director of Sales & Marketing Practice at CKS Advisors.
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