When faced with catching a fly ball, Lucy missed again. "The
past got in my eyes," she told Charlie Brown, "I thought I had it,
but suddenly I remembered all the others I'd missed."
In two decades in management, I've known hundreds of workplace Lucys.
People who let their past get in the way of their future; who
self-determine what they're going to do, can do, or might be able to
do by what they didn't do, haven't done, or even failed at. They stay
aligned to their past like a Peanuts comic strip philosophy.
Past-focused people sabotage themselves with yesterday's mantras that
become today's expectations: "Yeah, we tried that before and it
didn't work;" "I got rejected once already so I'm not going to make
that mistake again;" or "No one listens to my ideas."
What they miss is this: that may have been true yesterday, but
they're in charge of deciding if it's still going to be true for them
tomorrow. While people can't change their past, life is about the
choices we still get to make. It's only too late when we give up,
stop trying, or believe our negative self-talk press releases.
People who are winning at working know that what happens tomorrow is
affected not by yesterday, but by today. They follow a philosophy
akin to my refrigerator magnet's counsel, believing "Mistakes are
part of the dues one pays for a full life." They don't dwell on their
mistakes, less than optimal performance or occasional missed balls.
They accept them, learn from them and move on. Then, they do
something so it doesn't happen again.
You see, people who winning at working are focused on what is to
come. Their energy is spent figuring out how to do better, not
tearing themselves down for yesterday's results.
If you want to be winning at working, don't allow yourself to be
hijacked by what promotion you didn't get, the increase you're
disappointed in, what potholes slowed you down, which boss didn't
like you or what opportunities you missed out on. Let the past be the
past. Focus instead on what you can do now to impact your future.
People who are winning at working drop balls, have less than optimal
work occurrences and make their share of mistakes. But they handle
them differently. They decide to do better, taking ball catching
lessons if need be and practicing, learning and growing their skills
so the next time the ball is thrown to them, they'll confidently catch it.
Want to be winning at working? Don't listen to Lucy. Be about your
future, not your past.
©2007 Nan S. Russell. All rights reserved.
Sign up to receive Nan's complimentary biweekly eColumn at
http://www.winningatworking.com. Nan Russell has spent over twenty
years in management, most recently with QVC as a Vice President. She
has held leadership positions in Human Resource Development,
Communication, Marketing and line Management. Nan has a B.A. from
Stanford and M.A. from the University of Michigan. Currently
finishing her new book, Winning at Working: 10 Lessons Shared, Nan is
a columnist, writer and speaker. Visit http://www.nanrussell.com