Leaders Know the Value of Looking Forward

Gerwig 2016-01-20

There are few things as inspiring as a beautiful sunrise or sunset. Do you ever get tired of seeing a picture or painting of a colorful sunrise full of beautiful red, pink, and orange colors? Or a breath-taking sunset with vibrant shades of purple, yellow, and crimson? I don’t. They are ascetically pleasing both to experience in person and via reproduction. They inspire a myriad of thoughts. They prompt self-reflection. Sunrises are full of promise and sunsets are full of satisfactory closure.

There are locations where amazing sunrises and sunsets are commonplace. I’ve lived in a few of these spots, Phoenix, Cebu, and the Mojave Desert. Simply spectacular! And I never got tired of seeing them – day after day, morning after morning, night after night. And have you noticed how quickly the colors change? Within seconds the entire landscape and heavens can change color and shape.

Living in Connecticut during this season of my life, I don’t get to experience these masterpieces as often. Part of it is due to my work schedule and part of it is due to the location. While I love Connecticut, it is not known for spectacular sunrises and sunsets. So when I saw the sunset above, I quickly snapped a couple shots with my iPhone. The picture doesn’t really do it justice, but you get the idea. There were gorgeous colors and shifting shapes. It reminded me of looking through an old-fashioned kaleidoscope.

As I reflected on the beautiful sky, I realized how tough the day had been. I was tired. I was ready to eat a bite, to get off my feet, and relax a little. I was ready for closure to the day. There had been some good things and challenging things about my day. There were learnings and successes, failures and frustrations. But the day was over. The sunset signified closure. I was ready to move on. I was ready to think about tomorrow, the future.

Great leaders know there are seasons in life like chapters in a book. A project ends. A child leaves home and goes to college. A friend dies. A new assignment begins. A manager retires. A baby is born. A job is left behind. A new home is bought. And on it goes. Life, as you know, goes through phases and cycles.

The wise leader appreciates the past and builds upon foundational successes. They don’t repeat mistakes and they learn from those made by others. They have fond memories but they look forward, to the future. They face forward. They dream. They cast visions. They plan. They don’t look to the past with regret. They look to the future with anticipation. And excitement.

How about you? Are you holding on to the past? Or are you leaning forward in your foxhole, excited about your plans for the next year? A sunset signifies closure, the end to the day. But it also signifies the future, the beginning of a new dawn. Whether at work, home or play, hold the past with high regard and enjoy the sunset, but plan for a bright future as you anticipate the new sunrise that will come tomorrow.

As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.

Dr. is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]LeadStrategic.com.

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