Don’t Dwell !!

I mentioned recently that my wife and I have joined a gym. It’s at a neighboring city’s community center. It’s something we’ve talked about for years, and I’m glad we finally signed up. We intentionally started before the end of the year so we didn’t get caught up in the New Year’s resolution rush. It takes a ton of discipline, but it’s been wonderful.

One of the things I enjoy the most is that while I’m on the elliptical or the treadmill, I can put on headphones and listen to podcasts or music. I go back and forth between the two. Last week as I was huffing, puffing and sweating I was taking in the All Out 70’s playlist from Spotify. It’s an absolute fave station of mine. All of a sudden, a group that was extremely famous started singing one of their ballads. The group was Ambrosia and the song was “Holding On To Yesterday.” It’s a beautiful tune that was played often on AM radio. (Yes, I’m old and I’m cool with it.)

The song is about a relationship that used to be wonderful and the singer longs for when things were better and brighter for them. One of the great things about working out is that your mind has time to wander and consider different thoughts. Once I heard this song, I thought of organizational cultures and HR because we are folks who fiercely hold on to the past. People will make speeches and decisions based on a past accomplishment and use that as a point of reference for how they do what they do.

What’s funny about remembering the past is we only remember the good parts. Thankfully we don’t remember the challenges, obstacles and even pain that we went through at times to make change happen. The result was so phenomenal that the hard part of the past is easily forgotten.

We can’t allow people to dwell in the past. That is especially true for those of us in HR. The reality of how incredibly fast business changes doesn’t allow for it. You can, and should, learn from the past, but only as a point of reference. Learn from the decisions that were made – both good and bad. However, hanging your reputation on the past is honestly slowing you down and making you less and less relevant by the moment.

I find it better to look forward. It’s not easy for us to do this willingly because we want to have everything figured out before we step ahead. I love when people claim to be harbingers of “change”, but they aren’t looking forward at all. They’re relying on the past to set the stage . . . and then stay where they’re at. I have a quote from C.S. Lewis that I keep with me as a reminder that things ahead are far better than what is left behind.

This week take some time to reflect. See where your efforts are stuck in the past. Ask if it’s worth changing and moving things forward. This may not work for everything, but I’m sure there are items, policies, programs and procedures that could stand to have dust knocked off of them. You’ll be surprised how fresh your work becomes when you do this !! It’s time for us to quit dwelling on the past and holding on to yesterday. You’ll have to trust, and have a bit of faith, that things will truly be better ahead. This is how I try to approach every day. It’s hard to push against the grain, but worth it.

Now, you should still learn the song, because THAT is worth enjoying !!

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