Looking Back to Look Forward

Patti Dobrowolski

I was organizing my online files this week, and as I sorted and sifted through them I lost hours of my life. During that time, I found goal getting tips I had been looking for and I also came across some hilarious historical files. Someone had recorded my very first “professional” talk in Seattle at the Women’s Business Organization in 2006. I must have been bike racing at the time because I was super skinny and definitely nervous as I clutched 3x5 cards in my hand and paced the stage.

There I was in my pink “business-y” attire; short suit jacket and polyester black pants reenacting my street theatre routine from 57th and Broadway in NYC. It was hilarious to watch and so great because it gave me a true perspective on just how far I have come!

Looking back can be powerful and sometimes painful, but it definitely gives us perspective. We can do a post mortem on this-or-that section of our lives and those projects we suffered or blazed through. These retrospectives allow us to integrate key learnings and develop our growth mindset, getting us one step closer to that top tier of Maslow’s Hierarchy.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

It’s important that we don’t allow ourselves to get caught in the rearview mirror, but to glance occasionally and widen our understanding of the attributes of success and failure as we move forward.

Envisioning the future state is, as we are constantly learning, more powerful than a locomotive. The magnetic pull of your future state tricks your brain into working longer, harder and hopefully smarter. Smarter is key, and one way of getting smarter about stepping into the future is to put your critic/worrier to work.

Our inner critics/worriers are designed to keep us safe, and that often means keeping us exactly where we are right now. This is the part of us that calculates risk, and tries to avoid it. It’s a great survival tool, but not so great when you are trying to start a business and your worrying mind has you up at all hours of the night.

Recently while reading Dan Pink’s book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, I was reminded of a great technique that helps us utilize the sometimes wasted energy that we burn while lobbing negative ideas and worries around our brains. It’s called the pre-mortem, and it works great for both individuals and teams.

The idea is to think about all the things that could really, really, really go wrong with your project or idea. Then, you sift and sort for solutions or outcomes for each one. e.g.

  • What if the client hates the work I did after I put in 20+ hours creating it?
  • What if I blow a fuse while live streaming a podcast?

Look at all of these worries as objectively as possible, and apply solutions. e.g.

  • I’ll get granular with them and try to single out the thing they hate, in an attempt to salvage the rest.
  • I’ll e-mail all my clients once I get everything back up and running, apologize, re-schedule, and offer a discount or gift.

This great future-casting tool will address your worries and shift you towards a solutions mindset. While I encourage you to always focus on the best-case scenario, preparing for pitfalls can benefit you. And if you are a worrier, definitely consider this tactic.*

This week give yourself a chance to look back so you can absorb your life’s lessons to bring more of Creative Genius You to everything you do.

*Join me for more fun, powerful and interactive tips to trick your brain into goal getting in my FREE 1-hour class on Feb 26th or 27th. This is going to be a blast and when you invite five or more of your friends to sign up with you, I’ll send you a FREE bag of our BLAST OFF coffee.

Patti Dobrowolski

Written by

Author/KeynoteSpeaker/Strategic Illustrator. Mission: Show others how to use a simple drawing to change your life. P.S. You don't need to know how to draw.

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