Finding Here from There

Marshall Goldsmith, management author, in his book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, writes: “Imagine you’re 95 years old and ready to die.  Before taking your last breath, you’re give a great gift; The ability to travel back in time – the ability to talk to person who is reading this page, the ability to help this person to be a better professional and lead a better life.”

He suggests that at 95 we have achieved a degree of wisdom that allows us greater knowledge to provide counsel to who we were at a younger age. “The 95 year old you understands what was really important and what wasn’t, what mattered and what didn’t. What advice would this wise ’old you’ have for the you who is reading this page?” He says that he could probably predict the answers based on a friend’s research and interviews with people who were dying. There are three recurring themes of their ‘there’ at this point in their life:

Reflect upon life, to find happiness and meaning now – Looking back, there was always the search to find something more, the next job, achievement or toy. They wished that they had taken the time to enjoy what they had.

Family and friends – The people who will be with you in your last moments will probably not be the people with whom you worked, but family and friends – “Appreciate them now and share a large part of your life with them.”

Follow your dreams – “Figure out your true purpose in life, and go for it.”  People who have pursued their dreams are always happier.

Looking from ‘there’ creates serves as a reminder for great leaders of life’s brevity, of the lessons that they already know and somehow get briefly forgotten in the hustle and bustle of the demands on their life and journey. Goldsmith urges great leaders: “Use that wisdom now….  Look back from you old age at the life you hope [will or choose (MR)] to live.  Know that you need to be happy now, to enjoy your friends and family, to follow your dreams.” At that last moment, with a gentle smile, may we all say:  No regrets! I have no regrets on my magnificent journey.

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