Hindsight – Insight in HD

HindsightPeople say hindsight is 20/20. I think the current way to view hindsight is Insight in HD. The images and realities appear so vivid, somehow much clearer and more defined then when they first occurred. The HD image can help intensify feelings of joy, satisfaction, remorse, guilt, shame and regret. The negative image is often so crisp we stay mesmerized by the Instant Replay to the point where the word “instant” is no longer relevant. Is the regret relevant? Why this issue is bothering you so much? If your honest with yourself regret can be a powerful tool with it’s components of reflection and repentance.

Let’s hit pause on the replay loop for a minute, but take a nice clear look at the entire scenario. You can see it from front to back so think about, or even write down what would you do differently if the outcome was not what you anticipated or expected. How can this negative burden be changed? Can it be used for improvement in your life? How about in the life of someone you care about? Often we endure our pains in life alone, but sharing them with someone who is close to you can create learning and understanding for the person you are sharing with and can also help you work through a situation so you’re not stuck in an endless mental replay. In a nutshell this is what I’m encouraging people to do through my “Unleashing the Power of Regret” presentation.

Take the learning from the situation and do two things with it:
1. Apply it to your life moving forward
2. Share that insight with someone else

Let’s not forget hindsight can be used to reflect on positive things too. I can look back on a success and realize it had it had a small and rather meager beginning. Recently I had the awesome opportunity to speak four times for Mosaic at their Belle Plaine Safety Fair, with between 800 to 1,000 attendees. I had a conversation with one of the planners to find out how the initial contact occurred. She informed me that one of the Safety Managers recommended me. I traced back that relationship to a presentation that I did more than two years earlier for the Saskatchewan Mining Association (SMA).

In 2010 I made numerous attempts to contact the SMA and was excited when they called and asked me to speak at one of their safety meetings. I was disheartened when I was informed I would not receive any compensation for coming to speak, but it was a chance to be able to speak to a number of key mining companies in Saskatchewan. I felt the opportunity would be worth coming home a day early from our family ski trip at Panorama BC. I took advantage of the time during the long drive from Invermere, BC to Regina, SK to mentally shorten my one hour presentation to a 30 minute format. I dropped my family off at home and arrived at the meeting a half hour early.

As it turned out that day there was less than half the regular number of attendees for the meeting. To make things worse other portions of the meeting had gone longer than intended and I was the last agenda item before lunch. My half hour presentation narrowed to a 10 minute window of opportunity. I felt like I had an adrenaline crash, I was tired from the drive, and disappointed with the way the scenario was playing out. It had so much potential, but I felt defeated before I started. It seemed the presentation was rushed to the point of incoherence and had very minimal impact. It felt like the worst presentation I’d ever delivered.

At that point I was regretting wasting an opportunity, and lamenting the premature ending of the Panorama vacation with my family. I felt like a failure as a father and a “dud” as a speaker. I learned that I needed to make sure my family is first, not just some lip-service to the idea. I learned that you need to be adaptable, but not to your own detriment. Recently I also learned that even hindsight isn’t 20/20 since some situations may prove to be more positive than you first give them credit for.

The day of the presentation to the SMA I received some very positive feedback from the managers, but it was also the start of a relationship that I have kept in touch over the years. I had no idea that initial failure would turn into such a large opportunity. I have found this to be a pattern, if you use failure as a learning opportunity the failure will fade and the opportunity will remain. Have you got some positive or negative hindsight that you could share with someone in HD? Go for it!

Btw – If you haven’t read it yet, check out John C Maxwell’s book “Failing Forward”, it’s a great read!

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