Looking Back to Move Ahead


“Losers live in the past. Winners learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward the future.” – Denis Waitley

Learn from the past, live in the present, plan for the future

Learn from the past, live in the present, plan for the future

We’re encouraged to live in the moment and be really present with whatever we’re doing. That’s great advice, and those that follow it tend to do more in one day than many others do in a week! As noted in the quote above, we support living in the moment by periods of introspective reflection. In other words, while we work in the present, we need to learn from the past.

Here in the northeast, a snowstorm socked it to us, the Blizzard of 2013 (it wasn’t as bad as it sounds). Most of my typical Saturday activities canceled, and the only thing on my agenda was helping out with a gathering my mother scheduled. So, it was a good day to do some reflecting, putting those ideas down on paper. TJ Hoisington inspired me to open my personal journal, one given me as a gift before I left to do some volunteer work in South America back in 1996. I found the next blank page and dated it, then took a look at the last entry before I started writing. Two things jumped out at me right away (and I’m betting some of you already clued into one of them). First, I had the journal since 1996 and still had blank pages left in it. Even if I wrote half a page once a week (a relatively modest contribution to a journal), I’d need a journal several feet thick to handle all the entries! That’s the part you probably already noted. Therefore, the second thing that jumped out at me won’t be a surprise: My last entry was March 2000!

I wasn’t living in the past, but I definitely wasn’t learning from it. Unfortunately, in business, many entrepreneurs do the same thing. We don’t live in the past, but we also don’t learn from it. “How so?” you ask? In that we either don’t have a business plan, or haven’t consulted it in ages. True, it’s important to know where you are. It’s equally important to find out where you anticipated being according to your plan, and thereby determining any needed adjustments.

Looking back at some of the posts here on this blog, a few of them stood out as particularly useful to business owners, so I’m highlighting them once again:

  • Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time? This highlights changes to various laws and rulings that affect your business, and resources for getting a handle on them.
  • In Legal Matters, Isn’t One Enough? Business owner’s have varied and complex needs. Good legal advice is imperative. Even if you have a working relationship with an attorney, you’ll likely benefit from having a group of them with multiple disciplines at your fingertips.
  • To Market, To Market We Go! A business plan is critical. A marketing plan is equally important. This article discusses the reasons why, and shows why advertising isn’t enough.
  • “Sell” is NOT a Dirty, Four-Letter Word! Whether we like it or not, we’re all in sales. We sell others on our businesses and our professional credibility. This article helps entrepreneurs embrace the sales process and make it work for us.

Denis Waitley mentioned our working in the present helps us move toward the future. Understanding how far we’ve come let’s us focus our efforts now to better enable achieving future goals. What are some of your goals? I encourage you to write them down. In fact, I encourage you to keep a journal. I’m not talking about a daily diary )even though you may find yourself making daily journal entries). The focus of your journaling is the recording of significant thoughts, milestones, and experiences. Keeping a journal nearby allows you to jot down ideas as they occur, making sure they don’t slip by as you get involved with other activities in your day. Then, by looking back on those ideas, you can formulate plans to implement them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought of something, said to myself “I should write that down,” and never did. Those thoughts are gone. So get in the habit of keeping a journal nearby. (Note: Most good planners allow the keeping of a journal. I happen to use the Achievement Planner, part of David Byrd’s Next-Level Achievement System®, which has a journal section)

Miscellaneous Matters: Take a look at our Facebook page. We’re constantly posting things that can help you as business owners and entrepreneurs. Of course, we hope you “Like” us, yet we’re more interested in you engaging us. That way, we know what’s on your mind, and keep our content relevant to your needs. Plus, you can enter the Business Plan Executive Summary giveaway!

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