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I Wish I Knew Then, What I Know Now

by G. Thomas Herrington


"I wish I knew then what I know now!" How often have you daydreamed about what life would have been like in high school, college or even on that first job, if you actually knew then what you know now? How different would your life be? would you be successful, popular or the cool guy or girl? What about your career? How much further would you be if you knew in that first job or two what you know now?

Looking back and determining how you should have acted or performed is easily. After all, now you have the score. Going back with the knowledge and skills you currently have, you would know where others stood and what you should do to reach your goals. Without the pressure of the moment, you would be able to carefully consider your options and, undoubtedly, choose the right ones. Life would be so easy then...if you knew what you know today.

Regardless of where your imagination takes you, the single difference between now and then is you. If you knew then, what you know now, you wold be more confident. Your confidence would be what everyone recognizes. In addition, that confidence would allow you to approach opportunities or obstacles in a calm, productive manner.

Unfortunately, no machine exists to take you back in time so you can use what you now know.

Instead of looking back, what if you looked forward and applied what you will know in the future to where you are now? We're not talking about being able to score big on the stock market, real estate or the lottery. We're talking about applying the confidence you will obtain in coming years to your life today. We want you to take the manner and confidence you will have years from now and apply it to your current opportunities or obstacles.

The reality is that you can do this without a tie machine carrying you into the future. The skills and behavior you picture are a defined skill set that you can build here and now to use today and into the future. This is the intuitive skill set that most successful people possess and use to lead others.

Today, knowing what you know, when you look at the past, you understand where others stood. That same ability is one that most successful leaders possess. They can intuitively recognize where others stand. When successful people listen, they not only listen to the words, they also listen for the emotion and how others feel at that exact moment in time.

Again, if you look back, knowing what you know today, you would really what is important and what i not. Your goals would undoubtedly be more focused. That same principle holds true with successful people. While they may be flexible on ideas and strategies make no mistake they are focused on the outcome.

People who succeed don't push and force compliance. Instead, they seek others to join them in achieving a result. They are willing to listen to how others see a situation. Their confidence and patience allows them to openly demonstrate respect and ask questions to understand others' viewpoints.

By understanding how others see a situation, successful people adjust to reach their goals and objectives. They may modify the approach or even change it all together. After all, the approach is not what is most important; reaching the intended outcome is.

The most successful people achieve real buy-in and commitment from others by inviting them to follow how they become convinced. as long as others follow, people who succeed continue engaging others until everone reaches confidence and commitment.

These intuitive skills of successful people can be defined and honed to build real talent and proficiency.

No one has a crystal ball that sees into the future. What you can do is approach the future with the skill and confidence that you often wish you had in the past.

Thomas Herrington is Senior Partner at the PAR Group, an international training and consulting firm in Atlanta, Ga., and is the co-author of Cracking the Code to Leadership. He may be reached at Tom.herrington@thepargroup.com.

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