The first time I traveled to Europe on my own, I learned a trick for finding my way back to my hotel-hostel-trainstation-vaporetto, etc. If I stopped periodically to turn around and look back from where I had just come, I was able to teach myself to recognize the particular intersection or landmark from the perspective that I would have upon returning. This seems like a no-brainer, but not only did it help me to navigate my way back through unfamiliar terrain, but it also became the seed of a lesson that has stayed with me: pausing to look backward as you’re going forward is a handy technique for keeping your bearings in new territory.
It occurs to me that this is a useful metaphor for the entrepreneurial journey. We are engaged in moving forward into areas that are new to us, and also, chances are, new to others as well. In all of our wayfinding, it can be easy to forget to look backward, not just to see where we’ve come from, but also to appreciate the view from this new perspective. And: in those moments when we wonder if we might be getting a bit lost? Well, it’s quite handy then as well.
As the year wraps up, I’m taking the time to do this: pause and look backward. And it reminds me of something else I read recently, apropos the arts: the Greek Muses were the daughters of the goddess Memory. So, as we seek inspiration, we can also look backwards, from whence we’ve come.
Which for me, today in a snowy Colorado literally means being able to turn and view some of my steps along the way.