Living Forward

Living Forward by Dr. Robert Gerwig

Photo by Author

The Southwest and Native American décor greeted my eye. I knew my long journey from Asia was over. I was back in the American Southwest. Home of Native American art, cactuses, rattle snakes, cowboys, lizards, desert, and low humidity! The colorful art and decorations in the small gift shop were small reminders that I was back in the US, back in the Southwest, back in Phoenix.

It’s fun to look back at where we’ve been. Fun to reminisce. Fun to think about the things we’ve done, seen, heard. Yet it’s not a place to stay indefinitely.

Phoenix holds great memories for me (well, mostly). I have many fond family memories from living in Phoenix with my family. Birthdays. Holidays. Family meals. Celebrations. Parties. I have fond memories of attending a great church. Services. People. Bible studies. Worship. Student ministries. I have fond memories of outdoor adventures. Mountain biking. Fly-fishing. Hiking. Camping. I met and worked with many great people while working at Intel and learned a lot. Challenges. Hard work. Great team-building events. Corporate “systems.” Toughened skin. … Yes, Phoenix holds some great memories for me.

AND. And, I can only look backward for so long before it becomes a non-value added activity. The world-class leader recognizes and celebrates the past. Honors the past. Builds on the past. The world-class leader also recognizes the importance, the necessity of, moving forward. Living Forward (in the future). … Huh?

The world-class leader has an appropriate appreciation of the past and doesn’t dwell unnecessarily on it (to the point of being no good for the present). It’s ok to enjoy, appreciate and learn from the past (in fact, I highly recommend it!). It’s NOT ok to “camp out” in the past indefinitely, to dwell TOO long on past accomplishments and experiences.

Let’s be honest, transparent, frank. No one (aside from perhaps your mom and a few close friends) cares what you did in high school (or college), 10 years ago, at another company, in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, or 2000s. In fact, few people care what you did last year (or last quarter). … We live in a “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” world/society. Granted, there’s a balance between the past and the future. As noted, the past has its place and we should honor it, learn from it, enjoy it. And then move on. Do something now. In the present. Live Forward (meaning don’t live in, or dwell on, the past). The only moment you have is now. You can’t relive the past. It’s over. Gone. Ancient history.

Look to the future and act in the present by Living Forward. Have a bias for YES. A bias for ACTION. A bias for getting things DONE. Accomplished. Checking off your “To Do” List. Don’t hold grudges and harbor bitterness and resentment (both poisons). Forgive. Let go and Live Forward.

How do you live with an eye to the future? How does the past shape what you do today? How are you Living Forward? As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.

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