Yes, Don’t Dwell On The Past. But Do You Get What You Didn’t Get?
Leadership Lesson: For development purposes, it’s key to look back at our endeavors that didn’t work out and determine if we truly understand their lessons.
Assessment and reassessment of one’s performance is key to growth, development and success. But that review process should not only be limited to what we are doing or have been doing, or achieved.
What about those things which we didn’t achieve?
Have you ever gone for something or desired something that didn’t work out? Did you ever interview for a job or volunteer for a project that went another way or was given to someone else?
Maybe you got your hopes up high assuming because you wanted it so bad, and demonstrated as much, that it would obviously work out and you’d be given that chance, granted that opportunity.
But then you weren’t.
“…have you been able to look back in hindsight at your past and thought about where you stand compared to if the decision had gone your way?”
You might have reacted one way in the moment or soon after the decision was made. Out of frustration, or a sense of defeat, maybe you moved right on to the next thing, or maybe it took you a while to get back up and get focused.
Now, say you were able to move on to the next thing that has worked for you, have you been able to look back in hindsight at your past–specifically at those aforementioned moments–and thought about where you stand compared to if the decision had gone your way?
Sometimes those moments can be considered a minor bump in the road while other times they can be heartbreaking. There will be instances where we might have really wanted something–REALLY wanted it. Even though our path took a different fork, because of how bad we wanted it at that moment, we still might think about it, even years later. And it happens to everyone.
It was something that was wanted as a means to an end or an end itself, regardless of whether there was a high or low level of desire,
“We can’t just look back at the successes in our lives, but need to also look back and debrief with ourselves on what we consider our defeats.”
In either case, have you ever been able to look back and make peace with the way things went. Have you ever been able to admit that the decision might have gone the right way, that maybe it was either meant to go to the other person or that you were better meant for the path that’s now before you?
We can’t just look back at the successes in our lives, but need to also look back and debrief with ourselves on what we consider our defeats. We need to be honest and reflect on whether or not is was the right decision for all parties involved.
If the job went to someone else, how is that person doing compared to what your efforts would have been? Ask yourself, “If the project went to another manager or leader, how is that leader doing compared to what I would have done?”
This should be a moment to compare what worked and what hasn’t worked in that endeavor compared to what you would or wouldn’t have done. This is meant as a debrief and not as a means to justify that the other person was not right for the job if the endeavor went South.
“Everything is a learning experience, whether it is our own or that of our counterparts or colleagues.”
Can you be honest enough to admit that it went to the more qualified person at that time and then try to understand what skills or attributes you might’ve needed to strengthen to have achieved that goal, if it was such limitations that might have kept you from that goal?
If the project did succeed, what is it that person did to reach success. If it didn’t, what did that person do or not do that lead to those shortcomings.
Hopefully, because you’re all part of the same organization, things worked out.
Everything is a learning experience, whether it is our own or that of our counterparts or colleagues.
So be sure to look back along your path for those recalled moments of learning.
Might you get (understand) them now?
So…What About You?
- Have you thought about those times you wanted something that hadn’t worked out? How do you view it now?
- Have you learned anything from those moments–things that you can use going forward?
- Are there still things you think should have gone your way? Why?