The Dangers of Looking Back

I’m going to ask you a question. And I want you to be as honest as you can.


How much time do you spend looking in the rearview mirror?

Not in your car. But in your life.

Here’s a confession: Lately, I’ve been noticing how much time I spend looking back in my rearview mirror. {This time I’m talking about my car.}

  • Have you ever, for example, drove passed an accident then looked in your mirror to see what’s about to happen next?
  • Or did you ever pause for a sec and turn back to see if that car was really honking at you?

Okay. Maybe it’s just me. But I realized that all that looking back was putting my present life in risk, literally and figuratively.

Then, I saw Oprah’s Master Class Part 2 and heard her talking about what it was like starting a talk show during the talk show craze. And how she decided that instead of looking back at all the new and old hosts who were gaining speed behind her, that she would focus up ahead.

Focusing On Your Success

Just like it’s probably not a good idea to stare at the rear view mirror when driving, it’s also not a good idea to focus on your competition. Oprah said that if she had turned around and paused to look, she might have been distracted by all of the hosts at her heels.

Instead of comparing herself to the competition, she focused on taking her business to the next level. Every time word got out of how Ricki Lake was starting or Sally Jessy Raphael was rising to fame, she worked that much harder, stepping up her game at each production.

This is what we need to do in order to be successful.

Stop turning back to see what other’s are doing. Stop comparing yourself to your competition. Stop analyzing what you did wrong in every situation.

Instead, focus on what more you can do to make your business stand out.

Focus on the present. Focus on what you are doing now that’s working or not working. The more time you spend on your business, the more success you will have.

Focus on what’s not working and make it better. Last year, my querying efforts paid off and I had several publications back to back. This year, I was burnt out and felt I needed to do something different. I took a weekend boot camp and found the information refreshing and I immediately started to get assignments again. Sometimes all you need is to refocus your efforts and find a new perspective. Take a class. Start a group of like-minded folks. Talk to others about what you might need to do to start getting the business you deserve.

It’s in you.

Just stop looking backwards.

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2 comments

  1. Leslie Quander Wooldridge says:

    I love this post! So true. I’ve heard some successful people say that they only compete with themselves. And I agree with that idea. We may not do as well as we’d like, but at least we tried. And we have to be willing to try again.

    • Brandi says:

      “We may not do as well as we’d like, but at least we tried. And we have to be willing to try again.”

      There is so much truth behind your statement. I read this quote today from famous writer Anne Lamott: “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work; you don’t give up.”

      I think that about sums up my post. If we keep craning our neck to see what our peers are doing, we might end up staying in the past. But becoming successful (whatever success means to each of us) demands that we focus on our own struggles, hurdles and pathways to success. We may be a few steps there, but we will never know if we give up and look back.

      Thanks for your comment Leslie!

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