The notable quote is that “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” That’s what we remember it, but the true quote is “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” For the sake of this post, I like the second a bit better.
Let me tell you a story. A few years back, I went back to school and got my master’s degree. My intent was to educate myself and work my way into a management position. A couple of years later, I got that chance and became a manager for a company that I had worked for previously. Since I had no real management experience, I knew it was a very fortunate circumstance and put all of my effort into making it work.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago. I was recently laid off from that position. It was heart breaking. I’m not going to sit here and make excuses. I will admit that I failed. I failed my employees. I failed my boss.
It was hard, but what it did was force me to reflect on the time I had there and determine what my next steps would be. I ended up being hired within a couple of weeks, and again with today’s economy I am grateful for this fortune.
In my reflection, I came up with a couple of revelations:
- I wasn’t up to the expectations of my previous employer, thus I failed.
- I do give my all to the success of myself.
- I have confidence in my skills and abilities.
Even though it was heartbreaking to lose my job, I took heart in the 2nd and 3rd revelation and this allowed me to pursue a job search and interview with complete confidence. I ended up getting an offer that was higher than the job posted (both in position and salary) and I attribute that to being sure of myself when presenting why I would be an asset to the organization.
Now I sit in a position, that isn’t management, but is of seniority and look to the future. It is bright because I can look back at my recent failure, see what I did wrong and not repeat the process.
This is the combined power of reflection and looking back. I did not dwell on the past, but turned it to my advantage for a brighter future. What I learned most was that I should do this, not only in times of crisis, but on a semi-regular basis to make sure I am still aligned. Examination leads to enlightenment, enlightenment leads to success.