If I Knew Then What I Know Now


“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

– George Eliot


There’s a saying that you should only look back to see how far you’ve come.  But when you do that, do you ever say, “If I knew then what I know now I would have (you fill in the blank).”


I say, ‘What’s stopping you now’? You have the advantage now that you didn’t have back then.  It’s called experience.


“But I’m too old”, you say?  With age comes wisdom (hopefully).  You could do it  better now.


“But I’m not big enough to pull it off.”  That gives you an advantage over the ‘big guys’ who have to struggle with boards and meetings and votes and allocations.  You can get it done now, quicker and with more flexibility and creativity.


“But what if I fail”?  The better question is, what if you win?  What would your world look like?


“I tried, but it didn’t work”.  OK, I’ll tell you a secret. Oftentimes you are the only thing that stands in the way of your success!  How do you know?  Here are some telltale signs.


  • Do you ever feel like you’re being pulled in different directions and can never complete one thing before starting on something else? Ask yourself what you’re afraid of.  Fear of success?  Fear of failure? Fear that it won’t be good enough? Would getting to that next level mean that you would be in unknown waters? Fear is nothing more than false expectations appearing real.  Action is always is better than inaction. Success is all about the process, the learning the growing.


  • Do you  micro-manage?  No one is indispensable and if you find you need to control everyone and everything I would suggest you need to learn to trust the people and the systems you’ve put in place.  Yes, it’s possible they’re not right for the task.  Systems can be modified but when it comes to people, it may be because you’ve not allowed them the opportunity to excel.  Remember what Goethe said: ‘Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of becoming.’


  • Do you need to be right all the time? No one is right all the time.  That’s why they call us humans. We make mistakes, learn from them and go on. If someone else has the right answer, applaud them and credit them.  If no one else has it, find someone who does.  If you can’t, well, there may not be a right answer so make the best decision based on the input you get and live with it. Besides, you can always change your mind.


  • How well do you listen? The whole point about asking questions is about soliciting different opinions so you can make an informed decision.  If you ask questions and filter out perspectives different from your own, you’re missing out.


Success is a choice.  We can choose to succeed or we can choose to fail.  It’s up to you. As Gandhi said ‘Be the change you want to see….’


How we think and how we act defines who we are.  If we agree that our value rests in making meaning for other people, then our direction achieves clarity.  If you recognize yourself in some of the bullets above, move out of your own way, open the door and walk through. Bring your people with you. Success is never the product of solitary action.  It takes everyone’s contribution.  Find out what matters most to who, and you’ll discover you’re more than halfway there already.


What are you waiting for?


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