Looking back has tremendous value. I'm not referring to looking back with regret. Looking back with regret usually leads to mental paralysis. I'm speaking of looking back to gain perspective and clarity.
For me, a large part of the looking back thing is getting a sense of the notes God's been playing in the symphony of life. This has helped me be more aware of what the future could look like. My gut becomes centered around knowing what my next move should be. Here recently, the movement in that symphony tells me change is coming in my life.
Now before you think this is some overly spiritual pursuit or a complex riddle to solve, it can be very straightforward if you let it. For example, let's say your history in work has been most successful in large organizations. Maybe you've excelled there because of structure and well-established processes. Now, a new, smaller organization wants you to come on board and do your magic. Looking back will help you understand where you've performed best and what environments work best for you. It doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't work for a small organization because they're still forming, it just means looking back can inform you of where you perform best. It might even be a predictor of your success. I've had to make more than a few mistakes in this dept. to learn this.
The following are what I consider to be keys to the looking back thing:
- Stay away from regret when looking back. You can't rewrite history, so no sense in lingering over what could have been. This is hard work and your wellbeing will be the better for it.
- Be humble. Don't think of yourself as rock star. An inflated ego will always distort your view.
- Look back to inform and keep record of it. Refer back to it often.
- Don't look for guarantees. Be willing to make a mistake. Often, mistakes lead to breakthroughs.
- Find someone or people to be a sounding board for what you're thinking.
- Get a coach. It can help you clear the clutter and find the gold hidden.