“We always need to remember where we were to know where we should be going!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Most lives and careers consist of a series of successive wins and losses, writ into a story of continuous innovation and reinvention. If you do the right things and make the right decisions, you’ll end up with more checkmarks in the win column, driving your overall success!
At least, that’s my theory.
A key thing is that you can’t just bask in the glory of the wins in order to motivate yourself for the next one – you should also remind yourself of the misery and pain of your losses because that is one of the best ways that you might avoid a similar situation or circumstance in the future. It’s by searing the memory into your mind of what went wrong that you can make sure that it goes right in the future.
I’m not suggesting a deep analysis of the exact circumstances of each win and loss and what you need to fix or duplicate – but simply a memory and recollection of where you were, and the circumstances that led you there. I will often do a post-mortem on one of my in-person keynotes or virtual presentations, and think about what worked well, what did not – and what this might teach me for the next one. I still find myself doing this after almost 30 years of speaking in front of groups large and small.
This type of thinking is also a key component of incremental innovation – a product or service development concept that takes corrective action to multiple small failures to come up with a comprehensive win. Each time something small goes wrong, you’ve got an opportunity to improve; and each time something goes right, you can use that concept to add something similar to the mix.
Whatever the case – you’ll never get to where you could be going if you don’t remember where you were!