Connect the dots looking backwards so you can see how they might connect moving forwards. History is life’s second greatest teacher — right after failure.
Yesterday’s prompt to look backwards triggered some interesting responses, but there was one that made me realize just how much was missing from that email.
Madi T. responded with an impassioned review all of the things that the former version of herself, just one month prior, would have never believed to be possible.
She started, “The future can be scary; none of us have all of the answers, and I bet that most of us feel like we’re going to somehow accomplish less than we want to.”
It was in this moment I realized that I had never stated a purpose. Why was it worthwhile to take a moment to reflect on the past six months? Simple, for clarity.
By looking to the (recent) past you are able to see what has come to pass and gain clarity on how unexpectedly your goals can be sidetracked or gloriously surpassed.
For example, I recently reflected on my newest client. They’re a soon-to-launch, self funded startup who’s CEO is about my age and a fellow member of the tribe (aka Jewish). He’s highly intelligent, organized, and driven while also being extremely well communicated and friendly. He buys me coffee while I’m there and his CFO pays my invoices within 72 hours. Without rival, the best client I have ever worked with.
Looking back, the path to landing this client was… unique.
In May of last year, I fostered Chai — a 14 week, 23 pound Terrier mix.
Unable to find her a home, the marketer in me started to get clever. I dropped a photo of her irresistible face on the Venice (California) Community Facebook group and was bombarded with both comments and interest. One of the commenters was a rather cute brunette who I admittedly “researched” with an ulterior motive.
Looking at the ‘Work and Education’ section of her profile I was astonished…
- PubCon, Speaker
- The Millennium Alliance, Speaker
- Search Marketing Expo, Speaker
- Entrepreneur, Contributor/
- Search Engine Journal, Contributor/Writer
- Startup Grind, Contributor/Writer
- Social Media Club, Editor in Chief
Digital marketing badass… and she was cute. Fingers crossed for single.
She was looking for a puppy for her sister and it didn’t end up working out, but I suggested we go for coffee. She obliged and we picked a day. I wasn’t planning a date, but figured nothing bad could come from making friends with a cute girl who had similar professional experience and shared an interest in adorable puppies.
Long story short: she has a boyfriend, lives down the street, is far more impressive in person than on paper, and became a good friend for all those reasons and more.
A few months later, while at lunch and hearing she was having challenges with obstinate colleagues, I suggested the book Just Listen and she excitedly proclaimed that she was friends with the author (keep in mind this was a NY Times best seller).
She offered to introduce me to Mark Goulston who I later met over coffee and insisted that I meet David while making some rather flattering comparisons. A phone call and a few in-person chats later, David became my new (best ever) client.
We must look back occasionally to remind ourselves of the friendships, connections, and profits can come from the most unexpected of places.
Madi T. took this idea a step further saying, “I can take a deep breath and know that I am a capable problem solver, and that a month from now, there will be a bunch of new things that I’ll see that I’m blind to now.”
By looking back at how what would appear to be chaos and random chance has brought you to where you are today, you are able to embrace today’s uncertainty.
Where are you today that would never have dreamt possible just last month?