I spent the last few days in Saint Louis. It’s a great time to see friends and frequent my favorite haunts. It’s also a chance to catch up on how things are going at previous job locations. Nothing stays the same and each manager puts their own particular spin (even a lack thereof) on the daily operations. So when I got the chance to catch up with some old co-workers, I got the lowdown on how things were going. What’s always most interesting is not what is going on with the operation, but to see what various employees are doing under a new hierarchy.
Having spent a considerable amount of time mentoring the underlings before mamma bird flew the nest, it’s always fascinating to see who has spread their wings to soar with the eagles and who’s resorted to running around on the ground with the turkeys or the chickens with their heads cut off.
While it’s an interesting case study in human nature, it is no longer my organization so it’s not my concern. However, it does cause one to reflect back on various business and personnel decisions made. History is always rewritten by the current author because they make assessments about their predecessors’ motives without them being there. But is this type of reflection by either person healthy?
I was watching an astronomy show on the Discovery Channel on Saturday. Astronomy has always been a passion of mine since I was a little girl. They went on about the universe, covering the different types of stars and why some formed into tiny brown dwarfs while other became blue super giants. Regardless of the outcome, when I look into the night sky, I am looking at the past. What is actually happening at the time is not evident to me and I am only seeing things as they once were and not the reality of now.
This reminded me of some of the emotions I felt while discussing the current work environment with my previous employees. Do I feel prideful when I hear they have fallen on tough times after my departure? Do I rejoice in their success under a new legion? Do I bristle when I hear how my previous top echelon is engaged in gossip? Do I beam with pride at their new leadership abilities?
We’re all human, so some of the sensations and actions are part of our nature. However, it is imperative not to let a reflection of the past in any way influence how you are assessing the present and planning for the future. The past is done, and looking at it will serve no purpose. Any successes or failures you achieved during that time are over.
Herman Melville said, “The Past is the textbook of tyrants; the Future the Bible of the Free. Those who are solely governed by the Past stand like Lot's wife, crystallized in the act of looking backward, and forever incapable of looking before.”
Hi Tracey: I love the quote you put on about Lot’s wife – you know it is all about where your heart is – and Lot’s wife’s heart was back in what was familiar even though it was a wicked city and was going to be destroyed. So when we are reluctant to move forward we have to ask ourselves are we entrenched in fear, complacency, or doubt. After we make an accessment then we are free to move forward; and once we move forward we usually never want to go back. Because when you know better, you do better. You then can wish everyone well and go do the thing you are meant to do. Thanks for the insights – great article.
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