Anticipation, is it making me late?
Today is December 31, 2010, a day that I have been anticipating since April 8th of this past year. I am experiencing so many emotions about the closure of one part of my life and the opening of many new opportunities. I awoke early – I am not usually a morning person – to feel anticipation not for the closure this day represented for these many months but for the New Year and what is to come. Carly Simon’s Anticipation song lyrics were dancing through my head before the sun arose. “We can never know about the days to come but we think about them anyway.” So here I am thinking about the past and the future while Carly says I need to “stay right here cause these are the good old days.”
But isn’t this the time of year for past reflection and New Year’s resolutions? How do we balance past, future and present? As Carly says “Anticipation, anticipation Is makin’ me late Is keepin’ me waitin’.” Maybe anticipation of the future causes a denial of the present and procrastination of the future. Is anticipation a story we write for ourselves that has no bearing on reality? How do these thoughts relate to the need for plans either personal or business?
Fulmer, Gibbs, and Goldsmith suggested that in the development of leaders traditionally we focus on the past for business case reviews, on the present for best practice reviews, and on the future for leadership development. Is this what we do in our personal lives as well? Should I be sitting here considering what challenges lie ahead, what developments are unfolding in technology or in politics to just name two possible areas that could affect our world as we know it right this minute? We tend to write our stories of the future or forecasts based on the past. Yet, the past is a terrible predictor of the future. The article by Fulmer, Gibbs, and Goldsmith was published in the year 2000. I wonder if any of the leaders this study referred to, anticipated what would befall the world on September 11, 2001?
C. Otto Scharmer has a history as a lead planner for Royal Dutch Shell and yet he collaborated with his colleagues Peter Senge, Joseph Jaworski, and Betty Sue Flowers to publish Presence: Human purpose and the field of the future, and to develop the Theory U: Leading from the future as it emerges. Presence and the present are related and are also related to the future. Scharmer proposes that people have blind spots that limit how they visualize the future. By using the presencing process, he suggests we can free potential futures and allow them to emerge by delving within and exploring our true selves. This appears to be somewhat of a paradox* because we can create a better future by focusing within now rather than focusing outward and into the future. More on this concept in later blog posts…
For now as the sun has risen on this last day of December 2010, I am going to stop anticipating this day and the future and embrace today to its fullest because I want Carly to be right “these are the good old days.”
Fulmer, R.M., Gibbs, P.A. & Goldsmith, M. (2000). Developing Leaders: How Winning Companies Keep On Winning. MIT Sloan Management Review, 42(1), 49-59. Retrieved December 31, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 63132678).
Scharmer, C. O. (2007). Theory U: Leading from the future as it emerges. Cambridge,
MA: The Society for Organizational Learning.
Senge, P. M., Scharmer, C. O., Jaworski, J., & Flowers, B. S. (2004). Presence: Human purpose and the field of the future. Cambridge, MA: The Society for Organizational Learning.
*you’ll discover if you return to read my blog that I love paradoxes