My outside temperature gauge was hovering between 30 and 32 with a light drizzle falling as I was cruising through the hills of Pennsylvania on Rt.380. The wipers began to make a scrapping noise and I noticed a little ice build up on the windshield but kept moving along without too much notice. As I approached a car creeping along the highway their hazard lights flashing I quickly changed lanes and zipped around to pass. I looked in the rear view mirror and watched the dozen cars behind me do the same. Except for one big difference, they all began to slide, slip and careen off the roadway on the thin layer of ice that had formed. Without that glance in the rear view mirror I would not have adjusted my speed and no doubt wound up in the same ditch. Lesson learned from the rear view mirror.
When things are going according to plan I seldom look back, review or evaluate. If things are going along status quo, ho-hum, it’s even hard for me to remember those days. I don’t look back when things are going well, because, well, things are going well. Full steam ahead. I just keep moving forward. It’s the times that are difficult, unexpected, painful and even scary that I remember the clearest. I’ve learned my best leadership and parenting lessons from those experiences. And it’s then that if I pause long enough to take a look in the rear view mirror, there’s a lesson to be learned.
I’m in a bit of a difficult patch right now, things are not cruising along as planned and I’m not enjoying it one bit, in fact I’ve been whining. My daughter reminded me of something I wrote her a few months ago on her birthday.
“My advice for [you – and me too] for the next [forever – not 24 years] is enjoy the moment, everyone of them, right where you are, one moment at a time. Even the ones that seem like you’d like to forget them. Those are the ones that you learn from and someday will turn out to be the ones that you lead from, give you wisdom to share and eventually laugh at as you remember them” – you (that would be me)
She reminded me that this is one of those times that, down the road, will be where I lead/parent from, where I gain needed wisdom and eventually might even laugh about. (I’m not so sure I like it when my kids quote me back to me)
Are your cruising along no need to look back or are you hitting a difficult patch too? Those are the times where I usually learn the most.
Keeping an eye on the rear view mirror.