I recently read an article in Success Magazine, called “The Only Constant” written from the archives of well-known entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn. Read through what he says regarding failure:
“Failure is nothing more than a few errors in judgement repeated every day. Now why would someone make an error in judgement and then be so foolish to repeat it every day? The answer is because he or she does not think that it matters. On their own, our daily actions don’t seem to be that important.”
You can apply this concept to any errors in judgement personally or professionally. Your actions or inaction on their own, doesn’t produce immediate consequences.
And, here lies the danger as the “pain and regret of these kinds of errors in judgement are only delayed for a future time.”
“Failure’s most dangerous attribute is its subtlety. ”
I have been somewhat prone to indecisiveness and a few poor career choices over the years (I do give myself a break by allowing a career mulligan or two). And when I look back, delaying an important decision or conversation didn’t produce present consequences … but did I really experience the pain and regret later on – it became real and clear and painful.
So, is this just a condition we have to accept, drifting from one day to the next? Repeating the errors in judgement until we start seeing and feeling the pain? The statistics around family business successions, or will/ estate planning certainly suggests that a lot people have this mindset. Only about 1/3 of family businesses have an active and evolving business succession plan in place and less than 1/2 of individuals have an up to date will.
Also, these plans are often not discussed adequately with family when crafting them. The future “pain and regret” can be incredibly significant to the business, the family, employees, clients and suppliers. And since the consequences are usually not experienced until a number of years down the road, or when it is too late, many simply do not get around to creating them.
With all of my heart and effort, I believe that it doesn’t have to be this way!
The Way Forward: ‘Fast-forwarding the Tape’
The article continues by suggesting a new habit to build into your life; “What if you develop a new discipline to take just a few minutes every day to look a littler further down the road?”. A really good friend of mine, Evan MacKinnon explores the benefits of this concept in his speaking engagements. He “fast-forwards the tape” when he ponders a error in judgement and this has had a profound impact on his life.
Jim Rohn continues; “By disciplining yourself to see the future in advance, you would be able to change your thinking, amend those errors and develop new habits to replace the old”.
Imagine the technology that will allow us to physically see a “Future You” or “Future Business without You” based on the choices we make today (scary thought, eh?). Until this time, we can tap into the incredible power of our imagination, along with a healthy dose of discipline. Using our imagination in this, self-reflective way is not easy. It will hurt a bit and will take some time to develop and strengthen. It also will involve others to help you … family, friends, advisors and/or professionals you trust to ‘walk alongside‘ you during this journey.
Emotions and Change
In addition to the incredible power of our imagination and discipline along with the help of trusted people to walk us through a visioning exercise, there is one more concept that can be our biggest advocate AND our biggest hurdle toward the “Future You” … our emotions.
“Emotions are fuel and the mind is the pilot, which together propel the ship of civilized progress”. Jim Rohn.
Allow this to sink in a bit and reflect on what emotions seem to drive your strategic planning, decision-making and goal-setting activities.
In the next article, we will explore the key emotions that drive action and more importantly, change within our lives. Please stay tuned!