Looking Ahead and Looking Behind

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Last week I went to an amusement park with my wife and my church’s youth group. We took our girls, and Beth and I tagged along as chaperones. We hit this amusement park, and you know what? I found myself at the end of the day with a sore neck. Not literally, but almost literally. It's not because of the rollercoasters. It's not because of the crazy rides; it's because I found myself doing this all day. I found myself looking forward at where we were going. I constantly found myself looking back to make sure that my girls were behind me. And you know, if you're a parent and you've been to Disney or Cedar Point or some kind of amusement park, you get it right?

You're always looking ahead, you know, okay, we're going to this ride, and you're trying to still find the clearest, most straight path there while constantly turning around and making sure that your kids are with you. And I found myself thinking that that's a lot like leadership, isn't it? Where you are looking ahead and you are constantly looking behind and you are doing both at the same time. This is so important as leaders because it's easy to look ahead and forget to look behind. It's also easy to look behind and forget to look ahead, but you'll be farther ahead in your leadership journey if you'll learn to do both. You need to be constantly looking ahead. Where are we going next? It's been said that leaders are constantly playing chess in their head, thinking about what the next move is. I want this for you in your leadership journey, whether you serve in the marketplace or whether you serve in a ministry context, I want you looking forward at what's next.

But, I don't want you to forget what's behind you. Don't forget the leaders that are on your team, right? Don't forget your volunteers. Don't forget where you have been. You need to be looking forward while looking backwards. Now I know a lot of the leaders that spend too much time looking backwards. They're constantly looking behind them. They're constantly thinking about where they’ve been, what they’ve done, looking at their team and the people that are following them and not spending enough time thinking about the future. Right? Good leaders are futuristic in their thinking, but they understand the importance of making sure that the people behind them are in line, that they are tracking with them, that they are celebrating victories of the past, but they're not stuck there. They are moving forward. So how are you doing in your leadership journey? Are you spending enough time looking ahead? Are you spending enough time looking back? And if you really need to remember what this is like, just take your kids to an amusement park. You'll find yourself like I did, constantly looking forward, while looking back.

Your #1 fan,


Ryan Frank