Many friends and colleagues will know that I watch very little television. I am blissfully unaware of the comings and goings on the latest celebrity Dance/Bake/Jungle Off. Mrs Butler and I do like settling down in front of a movie however, and I watch hundreds a year.
Some are inspiring (try Hidden Figures or The Upside, for instance) and others stop and make you think about life. Sometimes the ones that make you think are not the ones you expect. This week we watched the Richard Curtis film About Time – a soppy rom com featuring Rachel McAdam and a range of great English actors (including one who looks spookily like one of my clients!).
Without stumbling over a spoiler, the story relates to a guy who can travel in time – and so has the opportunity to practice wooing the love of his life (think Groundhog Day or 50 First Dates). Of course, he also has the power/responsibility of changing other things in life, and changing the path of his personal history.
Which got me thinking about what any of us would change if we could go back in time. Would we choose a different course of study, would we take/not take specific jobs? Would we have another go at managing that difficult conversation with a colleague? Would we make smarter hiring or firing decisions? If you could change one thing in your business life, what would it be?
Even more powerfully, I woke this morning and thought “what do I need to do today to ensure I wouldn’t want to come back and change anything?” What an opportunity, to be able to consider what standard my future self would hold my current self to, and seek to emulate that.
For over six years I have kept a daily gratitude journal, so that I reflect each day on good fortune in my life. At the same time, I reflect on whether I have taken the daily actions that will take me towards my goals – whether fitness, health, relationships or in business. I also reflect on whether I have lived to the standard I have set myself.
Unlike the time traveller in the film, I cannot go back and change what has already happened, but I can use the reflection to determine how I will be tomorrow. And I believe that has helped me better honour the standards I have set for myself. Most of the time.
So, how will you live tomorrow, to ensure that you would want to change it afterwards?
As you reflect, feel free to channel your inner Cher:
If I could turn back time…
If I could find a way…
I gift you that ear-worm. You’re welcome.