I’ve never been one to be overly concerned with the past. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy learning about it or studying it (I minored in ancient history after all!), but it does mean I don’t spend much time wishing I could change it or re-capture it. When I was in high school I remember some kids would comment how they missed “the care free time of elementary school,” and in my early thirties I now hear people talk about how they wished they could go back to a fun filled college life. Do you know anyone who is stuck in the past or constantly refers to the “good old days”? Or perhaps instead of always wishing to re-live the good, they hold on to the pain of the bad? They are trapped and helped captive by their decision to not actively participate in their future. I’m sure YOU are not one of those kind though.
There is another trap equally as seductive though… the trap of focusing on your competition. It too can keep you looking in the rear view mirror. It can kill your creativity, and more importantly allow yourself to be copied by others because you are no longer trailblazing ahead. Just like with history, there are benefits to studying your competition, but allowing that study to muddle your own view of the future can be disastrous. Ultimately I think most people obsess over and copy their competition simply because they don’t have a strategy of their own, or they lack a true belief in their chosen course.
For others, it may be simply that they can’t think of anywhere else to draw inspiration from. They feel they have no choice but to react – then react again. To move beyond reacting, look at those in your industry that are not your competition (geographically non-competing markets in the home building world), other industries entirely, or articles, blogs, and books (yes, this will require an investment of time!).
The last of the barriers of moving forward is simply fear. When every step you’re taking is into a difficult to see future, then every inch forward seems like it should be taken more carefully then the last – or else you could find yourself walking clear off the cliff. How to combat this formidable foe? Not alone. This is where you need others around you to keep you from standing still.
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” – Soren Kierkegaard
The world of real estate seems to be full of backwards looking people, companies, and organizations. Most are nothing but a “me-too.” I’m continually drawn to those who are looking forward. Their positive energy and ambition is intoxicating – and I will always value their friendship as we move forward together. Do your part to make sure that others on your team, in your company, and in your world see you looking forward.