Look Behind You

I was in full-dad mode while driving my daughter home from college for the holidays. I was delighted to have her coming home, yet I still felt the urge to discuss dad things. 

So, as we drove down the highway, I explained the importance of continually checking your mirrors when driving, “One of your most vulnerable spots is behind you. If you are not looking in the mirrors, a reckless, non-attentive driver can take you completely by surprise.”

She listened and was more than polite. She’s a good kid.

As we barrel towards 2024, my podcast feed and blog follows are filled with insights on New Year’s resolutions, goals, and visions. One even suggested that I crush the last two weeks of 2023 to jumpstart 2024.  

It was good advice.

But before we move forward, we need to look in the mirror.

Socrates famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

So, I want to offer you three questions for reflection that will help you crush 2024. (Well, maybe not crush, but that seems to be what the cool kids are sayin’.)  Think of them as your left, rearview, and right-side mirrors.

Grab a piece of paper and write out your answers to get the most from these questions. It connects your mind to your body, slowing you down enough for the insights to penetrate your hectic demeanor.  

1. What three things are you thankful for from 2023?

Taking ten minutes to write down what you are grateful for in 2023 will produce some of the positive energy you need heading into 2024.

You cannot be grateful and stressed at the same time.

Even if you have had a horrible 2023, expressing gratitude for your resilience reframes those challenges in your mind. 

2. What three lessons did you learn in 2023 that you don’t want to forget?

Physically writing down your insights helps them stick. 

Here is a rough draft of my three lessons.

  1. I cannot control the past, the future, or what other people think. But I can control what I do today and how I treat others. So, I want to spend more time controlling what I can control.
  2. “You become what you think about all day long.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson) So I must choose wisely what I think about. This includes what I watch, what I choose to stew over, and what I choose to listen to.
  3. There is enough for all. A scarcity mentality traps me into being greedy and not generous. Abundance helps me treat others the way I want to be treated. 


3. What three things must you forgive or let go of from 2023?

Healthy leaders know they have messed up and made mistakes. Unhealthy leaders blame others. Unhealthy leaders wallow in their own mistakes. 

Learning to forgive yourself and others, to let go of those hurts, is the most important thing you will do to bring a healthy person into 2024. And your team needs a healthy person more than a helpful tactic.


Brian Rutherford

Brian Rutherford is the Director of Operations for Leadercast. Brian has been telling stories professionally for twenty-five years. Stories that inspire people to see themselves and the world differently. Stories that challenge people to take meaningful action in the world.

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