Learning From The Past

Last week I wrote about now is the time to set goals for 2011.  This is true.  By the same token, this time of the year is also a good time to reflect on what was accomplished in 2010.   While you certainly want to have the majority of your attention looking through the windshield of the future, you still want to reflect on the rearview mirror of the past.

Sometime looking at the past we only see what we didn’t do and fail to give ourselves credit for all that we accomplished.  Consider taking a balanced approach to evaluating the past.  The only thing the past is really good for is learning from it.

This means looking at both accomplishments and failures from the standpoint of what you can learn and benefit from those experiences.

When we think of failure we can get into a funk.  Often, we make failure mean something about us personally.   “I didn’t do what we wanted to do so therefore I must be a failure.”

Another more productive way to look at failure is you did not accomplish what you wanted to accomplish and now you know what doesn’t work.   It doesn’t matter what you did that didn’t work.

For example, you may say you did not do your best and that is why you failed.  Well, you may not have given it your best shot.  But, you know now that that doesn’t work for what you had to accomplish.

There probably have been times when you accomplished something without giving it your best shot.  For those times not giving it your best shot worked.  When you don’t give it your best shot and fail.  You know that doesn’t work.

It doesn’t do any good to put yourself down because you did not give it your best shot.  What there is to do is give it your best shot on a go forward basis.  The main point here is you would not have acknowledged you did not give it your best shot if you had not looked at the past.

Don’t let failure keep you from learning from failure.  Refusing to review something because you did not succeed is a big mistake.  You really set yourself up for another failure.

When you can look at failure objectively for what it is and not from the standpoint of it means I’m a bad person, you benefit.

The same is true with accomplishments.  You certainly want to take pride in what you have achieved, but don’t go overboard.  Take a similar approach to failure to see what you can learn and how you can apply success principles in the future.

One thing to keep in mind when looking at accomplishments is that very little we accomplish all on our own.  Be sure to show appreciation to those who assisted you in the achievement of your goals.

Make 2011 your best sales year ever.  Map out what you want to accomplish.  Take bold massive action.  Adjust when you need to.  Do these things and this time next year when you look back on 2011 you will have a lot to accomplishments to learn from.

Happy Selling

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