Friday, April 09, 2004

Are You Past, Present or Future Oriented?

That is a question I ask all my clients and friends alike. How many of you live in the past and why? Is it because you are so disillusioned with the present that you revert to a time when there was far less stress and responsibility? For some it's dwelling in a time where they had someone to blame for everything that didn't go right in their lives and now they have only themselves to blame. For others, it's because their future doesn't seem very bright and they look back to a time when they were truly happy.

Regardless, as Richard Carlson says "You can't have a better past. You can only have the past you have". And it's just that. It's a time that's long gone. You can have a better present and future. Yes, I believe you can build on your past experiences...learn from mistakes, take the feelings you had then for those same reasons and share them with your children, family and friends. Someone very special to me helped me choose the name of my company. He is one of the smartest, insightful people I know. I was going to call it "A New Perspective" and when I shared that with him, he told me new isn't always better. Sometimes going back to the old ways of doing things is. So the name became, "A Better Perspective".

I watch as my clients race frantically through the day trying to play catch-up. And they never do catch up. I watch as competition gets fiercer by the moment and rather than working with people, most find their little islands and domains and try to protect them at all costs, both personally and organizationally. I watch many approach retirement and rather than plan and look forward to the time ahead, they push it out of their minds because they have no one to share it with or nothing special to look forward to, calling it a 'series of weekends' that never ends. Statistics are frightening for retirees collecting pensions, mostly because a good percentage don't live long enough to collect them.

So rather than taking all your energy and wishing you could 'go back', make choices to create a future that you love. Live the present to the fullest. Don't push those most important to you aside thinking they'll be there when you finally have time to notice. Show them you value them now and share your vision for the future with them. Create it....anticipate it. And live it. If you live in and are 'in' the present, the future will take care of itself. If you live in the past or future the 'right now' disappears and tomorrow turns out to be the same as yesterday. Nothing changes except the evaporation of time. Take back control of it and spend it wisely. There are no refunds of time. What's gone is gone, so make sure that time has given you something to smile about, from the inside out.

Donna Karlin

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