How to Plan for Success in Business and Life

How to Plan for Success in Business and Life

New Report: Small Businesses Creating Jobs, Giving Back and Growing Local Economy
(Image: Thinkstock)

And that was David’s secret to how he could take success and then turn around and be successful again. Or how he could walk away from something that didn’t pan out perfectly and not let it affect his next move. The prior outcome has no bearing on the future one. What’s behind you is not important.

I should have been satisfied with this. I’ve never been terribly good at leaving well enough alone. How, I asked, could what is behind us not be important? What’s behind us makes us who we are. But, after further conversation, I fully understood the sentiment behind Raul Julia in his role as the Italian driver. Raul was in the driver’s seat. He was going to win the race against all odds, and the only way he was going to do it was by looking ahead, not behind. Setting ourselves up for success, he explained, is to actually focus on the opportunity at hand. In the face of any transition we will always be judged more on what we do next than where we have been. What’s behind us is not important; being present is.

I had to agree that was pretty sound advice even if it was from an old movie. When I presented this to other friends and mentors, they too agreed. Clearly this is a well-known concept among the truly successful (though admittedly not everyone had heard of the movie).

So I challenge you to think about your last big win, or even big loss, and be honest with yourself. Have you allowed yourself to fully embrace your next opportunity, or are you still reliving old memories and old glories? Are you focusing all your attention on the now and all the future nows? At some point or another, we all need to drive like an Italian.

–written by Tammy Leigh Kahn

Tammy Leigh Kahn is a technology entrepreneur in Boston, MA. Tammy writes frequently on social media, small business, technology and entrepreneurship and shares her knowledge and advice with thousands via radio, Web seminars and live presentations. Tammy is currently Sr. Manager of Market Development at Constant Contact.

BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.