Here we are, four weeks out from ringing in another New Year. Many of us can’t wait to put 2020 in the rearview mirror. These last 11 months are difficult to describe in one word, it’s even hard to describe them in just a few words without finding something negative, sad, or troubling to say, so yes, the rearview mirror analogy could be an excellent way to try and put it all behind us. However, it’s only a good strategy if we make sure that we can shift our focus on what is in front of us, not only on what’s behind us.
“See, when you drive home today, you’ve got a big windshield on the front of your car. And you’ve got a little bitty rearview mirror. And the reason the windshield is so large and the rearview mirror is so small is because what’s happened in your past is not near as important as what’s in your future.” - Joel Osteen
Success is a funny thing as we can see others succeeding where we feel like we have not. Whatever they touch turns to gold. They simply have a knack for being successful at whatever they endeavor to do. Even in a difficult COVID year, they were still able to meet with success. What’s the difference? The difference is in the way we see ourselves.
It can become very easy to only see or recognize the mistakes we have made or the unfortunate events that have happened around us. And the weight of carrying those makes it impossible to see ourselves succeeding at anything. The rearview mirror becomes our lens of failure even though that big windshield of opportunity is right there in front of us. And as Zig Ziglar said, “Failure is an event and not a person. Yesterday really did end last night.” Here’s the thing, I do not know you, but I do know that you are amazing and not a failure. I know this because someone who only sees themselves as failing would have already given up and stopped reading this column two paragraphs ago.
The biggest life-changing lesson for me happened when someone encouraged me to see myself differently. I had a mentor who taught me to take an inventory of my talents and skills, which was helpful. But the better exercise was to make an honest assessment of the gaps in my talents and skills so that I could take the time and make the effort to improve my situation. It’s fair to say that it was humbling to admit my shortcomings, but it was also freeing and inspiring. Recognizing that the only difference in looking in the rearview mirror instead of the massive windshield in front of me, was the belief in myself.
The way we see ourselves is the way we will see our future. If the past feels like a boat anchor, we need to cut the chain. Because the way we see our past is not nearly as important as the way we see our future. And our future begins with the way we see and believe in ourselves. And we are amazing.
With just a few weeks to go in the year, this is an excellent time to take an inventory of who we are and our capacity for accomplishment. It’s a fantastic time to look through the windshield, understanding that it is more about what happens next than what has happened in the past. As a matter of fact, Clemson University football coach Dabo Swinney, says it this way, “No matter what’s behind us in the rearview mirror, it’s always about what’s next.”
How about you? What’s your role in what happens next? Are you looking at what has happened, or are you focused on what can happen? And I may not know you personally, but I do know that you are amazing and I would love to hear your story at email@example.com. Just remember that when we can believe in ourselves and our role in what happens next, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of Tramazing.com, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.
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