The Only Time It Is Important To Look Back

I had dinner with a very good friend last night who always inspires me and never fails to make me laugh at myself and the world in general.  She is my very wise friend whom I admire and respect greatly.


At one point in the conversation, I was telling her about a little fit of doubt I was having in myself based off a situation with a past client.  I asked if she had every gone through that and how did she get through it.


She told me to look back.


I am not a fan of looking back.  Normally.  Too often we look back and instead of seeing what we have accomplished, we tend to look at the woulda, coulda and shouldas.  Then we fall into the trap of “if only”s and “why didn’t I do it this way”s. 


I am a fan of looking at situations from the perspective of what can it teach me for next time then letting go.  Learn and grow, do not dwell and get stuck.


But her advice was perfect because it was specific.  You have to look back at your successes.  So one client or boss or interviewer thought you stunk.  It happens.  To all of us.  But that is when you need to look back to the ones that thought you were the cat’s meow.  That helps you remember why you do what you do and that you bring great value to what you do.


After saying goodbye a couple of things hit me: an email I received from a client saying they have been offered a job from a prestigious company and asking to set up a time to tell me all about it.  Another very excited email from another client telling me that she got promoted and gave such gratitude for helping her through the transition and to be able to see that she could do really well in this field.  An email from a client who was writing after an interview to let me know the interviewer told me they felt compelled to interview him after reading his cover letter and resume.


At first blush you may think it was the compliments on my work that helped me re-center and refocus; but that wasn’t it.  It was the excitement from all of them.  That they came to me from a much different place and together we were able to identify and communicate the value that already existed.  From there, they were able to fully own it and make happen what they wanted to make happen. 


It was their joy that made me beam.


That’s how I chose to look back, remembering the process and their journey.


If you are feeling stuck in your position, frustrated with the job search process or a little self-beating up over lagging sales; look back at the joy.  Why do you do what you do?  How have people benefited from what you do?  How do you define your wins?  What have been your wins – and what did you do then to make them happen?


Rediscover the feeling of the wins, remember how you approached it, remember why you do what you do and remember the value you bring.


Not everyone is going to think you are amazing, that’s a fact of life.  You know the old saying: you can’t please everyone.  We all hit the blocks of a bad interview, a down period, unhappy client; those come and go.  When they happen look back at the joy and you will find that the lows are not quite as low as you first thought and you have a lot more wins that you thought.


Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Brand Strategist & Career Coach

Certified Professional Resume Writer


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