Continue to change and remember where you came from.


There are several leadership books that cover the idea that what got you where you are currently will not get you to where you are going. The idea is that you must continue to grow and transform in order to keep progressing. I say it a little differently: Continue to change and remember where you came from.
It’s so easy to forget the past.
I often have my leaders take pictures of projects that they are working on so that they can look back and see the progress. No matter if something has been the same way for years; soon after you fix it or improve it, you forget how it was. Your mind adjusts to seeing it a new way quickly and throws the old view in the archive file. To look at it in a personal view, look at pictures of yourself from 20 years ago (Or pics of your parents if you aren’t old enough.) We simply forget the way things were.

Its good to have reminders every now and then and it doesn’t have to be dramatic as 20 years back. I find it helpful to have a check-in with myself every six months. The six months one is almost just a check-up. How have I done with the goals that I set back then? Am I behind or ahead? Did I identify some new goals or passions since then? The year check-in is more thorough. How much have you changed in the last year? Think about yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually and the goals that you set in each of those. If all this sounds a little overwhelming, an easy start is to utilize Facebook. It will often give you a “You did this X years ago today.” post recap on its anniversary. It’s easy to look at it, smile, and move on about your day. Next time, think about that picture and how much progress you’ve made as a person since then. It can be a very rewarding and eye-opening experience.

Hold true to your core values
Sometimes as we move forward in our careers and life we drift away from our core values. I think of it like swimming in the ocean. You start out in the water directly in front of your towel/umbrella/setup. You enjoy the time in the water and before you know it, you turn around and you are no longer close to your stuff even though you never really felt yourself go to the right or to the left. The changes are not always purposeful, but you find yourself away from your core values none the less.

I see this fairly often when someone goes from an assistant manager to manager role. They did great in their former role and begin to struggle in their current role and they don’t understand why. They were great at everything before and suddenly not now. This is because they have forgotten who they were that made them successful. It’s not that they knew everything. It’s that they were good at instilling trust and building great teams. Now they are trying to do it all themselves and sabotaging themselves along the way. Identify those core beliefs that you have and hold true to them as you change.

Remembering helps you be a better leader
There are many things I’ve been able to fix over the years because I remember what it was like working 15 hrs a week in an organization. Now, obviously things have changed since then, but the core issues have stayed the same. How does a part-time employee have a great experience while balancing work, school, and an outside life? Regardless of how technology changes our lives, that balancing act will always be in place for those people. How we treat our people will always be in place. Remember the past to recreate those experiences that were great for you and ensure that the bad things never happen to anyone else in the future.

Make a better tomorrow… remembering where you came from.