Yes, I’m going back to a 1960’s hit by the Grass Roots for the title of this post. I think the words meant a lot then, and I think they mean a lot now.
I had lunch with a family therapist friend of mine a while ago. I’m always intrigued by his work as it relates to families and couples. I have come to realize the principles that govern communication within families are the same as the principles that govern branding in business. When I asked him what most people come to see him for, he replied that about 95% of the people he sees are depressed or suffer from anxiety. It comes down to this: people who can’t forgive themselves or others, or who dwell in the past, tend to be depressed. Those who worry every day about what will happen to them in the future tend to be the ones who suffer from anxiety. When I asked him about the people who live in the present, what they come to him for, he said simply, “those are the healthy ones”.
Living in the past
It does more harm than good to keep re-living failures, bad business decisions (not that I’ve ever made any of those), or to harbor grudges for past grievances. We’ve all messed up, hired the wrong person, or had that one client that makes us want to choose a different profession. Dwelling on those things only paralyzes us and keeps us from moving forward.
Ralph Waldo Emerson advised: “Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt creep in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.”
Worrying about the future.
"Don't worry about the mules going blind, just load the wagon!" In other words, don't let your anxiety about the future stop you from moving forward.
I’ve seen too many people get over anxious about things that haven’t happened yet. I’ve seen too much anger directed at individuals because of something that may or may not happen. My Dad’s mantra? “Life’s too short”—not that I fully understand what that means yet at the ripe ol’ age of 39, but I’m starting to. Don’t worry. Worry can be characterized by fretting over the unknown or over problems that are unlikely to occur. Worrying about the future, like dwelling on the past, can freeze our decision making process and bring life to a standstill. And we all know in business and in life that if you’re not growing, you’re dying.
Looking towards the future is something we should all do. Understanding who we are as people, as organizations or as brands gives us perspective. Looking towards the future is about setting goals that stretch us and make us stronger. Someone has said the trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never cross the goal line.
Live in the now.
Live in the now when starting a new job, learning to work, teach, and grow in that new role.
Live in the now when beginning a new project, structuring, guiding, and making as big an impact as we can.
Live in the now when starting a new company, learning from the past, looking towards the future.
Professor Harold Hill, in Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, cautioned: “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you’ve collected a lot of empty yesterdays.” Let the idea of “someday” and “one day” fade from your vocabulary. Don’t delay or postpone anything that could change the course of your company or brand in great ways. This could be a special day. A day that changes everything.
Your past has made you who you are. Who you are now as a brand, in the present, and what actions you take now will determine who you will ultimately become in the future.
Let me guess. You run a small business and you're passionate about making it a success! You also realize that you have no idea where to start when it comes to branding or marketing that business. I've helped a lot of people just like you. Schedule a quick phone call with me and we can talk more about growing your dream.
How healthy is your brand? Take this free 20-question survey to find out.