“If a person takes no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow close at hand.”
Once upon a time during my corporate days I would sometimes do something that drove my staff crazy, and that was when I would cave in on a dispute in which we were clearly in the right. Why would I do such a thing, they must have wondered? I can’t say that I blame them either, for we had done all the right things. What they didn’t know – although I think they learned over time – is that those decisions to forfeit or compromise were actually carefully calculated on my part. Was it worth the price of “political capital” to win a battle that could cost us the war later on? Those kinds of calls are tough to make, but without considering the longer term implications such a decision might have, a short term victory just might backfire. Once decided, then, my next challenge would be to convince the staff that it was a prudent decision; otherwise they might have less incentive to keep doing the right things that they do so well day in and day out.
Present and future are not mutually exclusive; they are in fact joined at the hip. Most of us have all we can say grace over just to get done each day what needs to be done, then we pray to God to “give us this day our daily bread”, but to what end? The end, of course, is to sustain ourselves and our families. But it’s much more than that; for we have hopes and dreams to pursue, ideas to try, goals to achieve, and a greater purpose to fulfill. It is thoughts about what is distant, you see, that motivates us to accomplish what is close at hand.
Since becoming an executive coach I have yet to be hired by a client for any purpose other than the pursuit of future goals and objectives. It’s the fun stuff about business and leadership, visioning and strategizing. But neither have I yet worked with a client where at least half our time together was not spent discussing immediate issues and concerns. Long term growth may have been the purpose in our working together, but inevitably short term matters arise that require immediate attention. It is part of the process, and why present and future are not mutually exclusive; why they are joined at the hip.