Leadership Series: Look 'FORE'ward but don't look back

06-14-2012 7:27 AM

Our Leadership Series continues with a blog post from Naomi Buerkle. Naomi is the Vice President and General Manager of Mary Kay’s North Central Distribution Center.

Naomi Buerkle, the Vice President and General Manager of Mary Kay’s North Central Distribution CenterImagine a happy go lucky little girl with a knapsack over her shoulder marching down a road. She just happens to see a sign that reads “Don’t Look Back.” Well, that was me 20 years ago...kinda, sorta. Happy go lucky. Well, yes, I like to think so. With a knapsack. Well, not really but I did have a brief case. (Hey, it was 1992. We all carried one.) And I wasn’t really marching down the road but rather I was driving my little red GEO Storm with the sunroof open as I was heading to work at Mary Kay. Nevertheless, you get the picture.

I’d received an inspirational card that morning with the words “Don’t Look Back” on it.  It was the message I needed in that moment. I’d left the company I had been with for seven years to start a new career at Mary Kay. And I was questioning myself a little bit.  But it was that very moment, when I decided to move forward and not look back.  Don’t look back was the best advice I ever received and it’s the best advice I can give. It applies to people starting new careers or projects, dealing with struggles and all aspects of life. 

In your 20s you are learning a lot about yourself and life. By the time you hit your 30s, you have lots of life experiences and you are focused on building your life, family and career. At this point, you know the rewards of success, but also the disappointment and humiliation of failure. But no matter what, “don’t look back.” You can’t change the past, so there is no point in dragging that baggage with you into your 40s, 50s and beyond. Sure, you should analyze the situation to understand what went wrong so it doesn’t happen again, but don’t dwell on it.

Think about this. How often do you have a bad day? A really, REALLY bad day. You know the type. One of those days where you need to go home and unload with your girlfriends.  So for the next few hours you talk about every detail of why the day was so bad and how disappointed you are in a person, the work, the company and just about everyone.  Well, guess what. You’ve just looked back.  You’ve relived a terrible day.  Don’t do that to yourself.  You deserve better.  Instead, let it go. Find another way to release those feelings.

For me, exercise is a great stress reliever.  A number of years ago I took up golf.  It was really hard to hit that little white ball very far.  It was even harder when I had all kinds of negative thoughts swirling around in my head.  To help me focus and release the negative thoughts, I’d say “1, 2, 3, Clear!” Then I’d hit the snot out of that little golf ball.  It was like hitting all my problems away.  Not surprising over the years I have become a pretty fair golfer.

Of course there are those days that don’t go exactly as planned, but I look at every new experience as a new opportunity to start over.  But to start over, you can’t dwell on the past. So, don’t look back. It keeps you from looking forward towards something positive, something wonderful, something new and something you love.

Naomi looking "fore-ward." | Mary Kay

Pictured above:  Naomi looking "fore-ward."

Pictured below: Naomi preparing to hit the snot out of that little golf ball.

Naomi preparing to hit the snot out of that little golf ball | Mary Kay