From Hindsight To Foresight
“Why did I smack you upside the head, Heather? Because you smacked your brother and I wanted you to know what it felt like.”
Carol Strider (aka Mom)
I had the pleasure of being invited to “crash” the Alaska Association of School Business Officials (ALASBO) conference last week so I could see a keynote presentation from Troy Evans, an armed bank robber turned motivational speaker.
Mr. Evans offered four “themes” for his 60 minute spiel but what resonated the most with me was actually something he said in passing…that you never know how your actions/behavior affect others until you’re on the receiving end of similar actions/behavior.
Interestingly enough, later on that afternoon, I had coffee with a friend who had been incarcerated in his 20s and who now, as a 44 year old, was dealing with a childhood friend who had recently been convicted of a crime which will certainly land him in prison for quite some time. My friend was handling the numerous questions, concerns and grief of his friend’s family and only then realized what he had put his own posse through years ago. This realization came with a strong appreciation of how patient, forgiving, understanding and kind his own support group had been.
The next day, during a coaching session, my client suggested to me that the most valuable “takeaways” he has had in his career are the lessons he has learned from poor bosses. Currently, he realizes how his own staff must have felt or currently feels when he engaged or engages in the same behavior. Because of his hindsight, he has committed to changing his future actions and communication to ensure his staff’s opinions of him improve.
I don’t believe in coincidence…
I won’t offer much more in this post as the stories above speak for themselves. However, I will share the following with you as the stories I heard this week made me pose these questions to myself:
- How often do you think about the “result” of your actions before you engage in them?
- How often do you think “three or four steps out”? (This is something my dear mentor taught me years ago…what is probable if I do this…and then what is likely to happen…and then what may happen…and so on…)
- How often do you think about how the “recipient” of your behavior might react or feel before you speak, act or decide upon something?
- When you’re in crisis or in difficult times, how likely are you to think of others before you think of yourself?
- When you’ve been a victim of hurt, offense or damage of some kind, have you committed to not reciprocating or otherwise taking it out on someone else? In other words, how likely are you to move on or otherwise ensure the damage ends with you?
- Do you pro-actively try to emulate the positive influencers in your life? Likewise, do you try to learn and grow from the interactions you’ve had with the negative influencers?
I would be lying if I told you I can positively answer all of these questions.
I need to do better and use my hindsight to improve my foresight.