Steve Jobs famously said:

You can only connect the dots looking backwards.

I never gave much thought to that quote but it becomes more clear to me every day that it’s the truth.

Below is a picture that I got as a Facebook memory this week. It’s from 10 years ago. I’m surrounded by my brother and some amazing, supportive friends, at a coffee & wine bar in a suburb of Minneapolis after writing the first version of the book, Outperform The Norm.

Surround yourself with great people. No one Outperforms alone.

What you don't see in this picture is that Outperform The Norm wasn't a brand then. It was barely a concept. I had ONE book that I'd managed to create from a few blog posts I'd written. I was very unclear on the message. I had no website.

I barely had any speaking engagements and the ones I did have were pro bono. At a time when I REALLY needed money.

I had a few coaching clients but they were mostly endurance athletes. I hadn't evolved to working with business leaders.

I didn't have a crystal clear vision of where I wanted to go. I just knew that I believed in the Outperform concept and - however foggy and muddled it was at the time - I believed it was a correct idea.

10 years can seem like a helluva long time but I think you'd also agree that it can go by in the blink of an eye, right?

And I think we vastly underestimate how some of the actions we take today dramatically impact tomorrow, whether "tomorrow" means 1 year, 3 years, 5 years or 10 years later.

I could give you a million examples but I'll simply share one from last week:

10 years ago I attended my first PSA meeting (Professional Sales Association) because I was going to be speaking there in 2015.

At that meeting I met Mark, a wealth manager for Northwestern Mutual, who I started working with and still work with today.

Shortly after that 2015 presentation Mark connected me with Derek, a colleague at Northwestern Mutual and someone I knew from my old stomping grounds at Albany.

We met and I invited him to one of my small, local speaking engagements (that was all I had back then!) coming up in the area. He attended.

From there, Derek brought me in to speak for his LEAD group (leadership team) in 2017.

Then someone from the audience referred me to the Managing Partner of another office to speak in 2018.

Over the next 5.5 years, I'd speak for 12 different NM offices, including last week at Churchill Downs.

Please scroll back up and look at that picture. That dude sitting there could never have fathomed speaking at Churchill Downs less than a week after the Kentucky Derby.

It took TEN YEARS. And I could NEVER have connected those dots looking forwards.

I'm not sure where this finds you but a recurring conversation I seem to be having with coaching clients is that actions today matter. A lot.

And they DO produce the results we want...but not always in the way we envisioned or in the accelerated time frame we want them.

Please don't let that stop you.

Keep Outperforming,