Photo Credit: Usama,
Photo Credit: Usama,

What makes hindsight 20/20?

We’ve heard this expression before and it makes sense. We can connect the dots that led to where we are right now. Some of those dots were huge, defining moments in our lives. Other times, the dots are subtle and small; but we can see them all, nonetheless.

So what kind of vision do we have for foresight? Well, let’s see if we can figure it out by looking at the past…

From Colorado to L.A. and Back Again

In 2005, I lived and worked in L.A for about nine months. The food was great, the culture was diverse, the beach was amazing, and the traffic was mind-boggling.

My wife and I decided to move back to Colorado because we missed the beautiful seasons, our family, our friends, and the affordable housing. 😉 We left our jobs in L.A. and journeyed into the unknown future with fear. Two weeks later, I learned that the company I worked for in L.A. laid off all the employees and shifted all operations to another country.

I dodged a bullet there and I felt grateful for that.

Two months after coming back to Colorado, I started working for a startup software company called @Last (the creators of SketchUp). I loved the culture and I connected instantly with the group.

Four months after THAT, SketchUp was acquired by Google. I felt shock and awe going from a small start-up company to one of the most famous companies in the world. The acquisition kicked off a six-year path of learning and growing with some of the most brilliant minds in the world.

And after those six years? SketchUp was acquired by Trimble. I struggled to let go of my “Googler” identity and create a new one as a leader, manager, and coach. It took time, but without that experience, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

And today, I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my career and life – all of it started because we wanted to be closer to friends and family.

Hindsight and foresight are actually the same.

There were many defining moments along my path, as well as struggles, unexpected changes, challenges, and surprises — all of which fueled the successes that I’m grateful to celebrate today.

When we reflect on our past, we can connect the dots, see the relationships, understand the reason why things happened the way they did, and how events shaped, created, and exposed their purpose. And if this is the case, shouldn’t foresight be 20/20 as well? Foresight has the potential to create just as much connection and purpose.

We often put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get the future “right,” which makes a lot of sense. The present is where we make decisions that shape the future. At the same time, because of the unexpected, out of control, baffling events of our past, we’ve all had defining moments that shape where we are today.

So we have an opportunity to give ourselves permission to relax a little from the pressure of making the “right” choices and the “right” decisions. We can’t predict our defining moments in the future.

Instead, we can choose to focus on the qualities we’d like to embody (joyful, caring, giving, grateful, creative, expressive, etc…), experiment with ways to develop those qualities and be open to the bumps, obstacles, and “mistakes” that we make along the way. Because you never know when your next defining moment may come your way. Something that may seem like a mistake today, can be seen as a catalyst for your purpose in the future.

Questions to reflect on

  • How can you be grateful for the challenging AND joyful defining moments of your life?
  • What contributed to those moments?
  • What decisions are you tripped up on right now?
  • If you gave yourself permission to relax on getting the decision “right,” how might that affect your decision?
  • How might that expose another choice that you haven’t considered yet?