Steve Jobs in analyzing his career path said that you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. 

When he dropped out of college and attended a calligraphy class, it seemed like a detour from his path. However, years later, his understanding of typography played a key role in the design and aesthetic appeal of Apple products. 

Each setback, each failure, and each unexpected twist in Jobs’ life ultimately contributed to his own personal growth and the success of Apple. Looking back, it’s clear how each dot connected to the next, leading to the creation of groundbreaking products and the transformation of entire industries.

Job’s story is a great example of learning from the past so you don’t repeat the same patterns going forward. 

What we see as coaches is the opposite. Many entrepreneurs repeat the same patterns over and over again living as Yogi Berra would say, “Deja Vu all over again.”

When Jobs was ousted from Apple, it might have seemed like the end of his career with the company he co-founded. But it was during his time away that he honed his leadership skills and developed a broader perspective on business and innovation. When he returned to Apple, he brought with him a wealth of experience and a renewed vision for the company’s future. In his interviews he often referenced how painful it was for him to go through this but it was also what prepared and propelled him as a leader.

Awareness of the past shines light into your business’s future.

Most business planning processes start with an evaluation and awareness of where you were and where you and your business are today.

It allows you to see what was holding you back in the past so you can learn how to make different choices and decisions in the future.

What we discover during our work with our clients is that their situations are often the result of old repeating patterns that are deeply rooted in their past. 

Many very talented, creative individuals are stuck chasing the same types of listings and same types of clients. You are attracting low value transactions, earning low commissions, losing listings to weak competition, and working 100 hour weeks. Without having a plan or direction and lacking professional support you are reacting to everyday circumstances. Even though you want to create more balance in your personal life and travel more, you feel you can’t take a well deserved vacation and leave your business even for a few days. 

The first step to moving forward faster and start seeing results is to look back. In our coaching we start the experience with a process called  LIFE LINE. 


We look at the major events in your career journey and unveil both high milestones and challenging experiences such as key victories you’ve achieved, crises you’ve endured, fears you’ve overcome, stands you’ve taken and lessons you’ve learned. 

By identifying negative and positive patterns within these events we learn what has motivated and inspired you and what has held you back. 

Like with Steven Jobs you will see each setback provides the lessons, strength and desire that serve as the starting point for the next level of success. You can also see how the high and low points don’t last forever. Most highly successful people agree that from the most painful experiences came their biggest successes. 

In your own process of creating your life line start with two lines: vertical representing high and low points and horizontal representing time.

STEP 1. Start with the earliest memory you have as a child, teenager, young adult, adult all the way to where you are today and put dots that represent your successes. 

Examples may be: starting a ballet class or joining a sport team, being accepted to your dream school, getting an award or promotion, meeting the love of your life and getting married, having a child, moving to your dream city and getting a job that you love, taking a year to travel, enjoying retirement, having grandchildren.  

STEP 2. Do the same with the low points of your life. 

Examples may include: being excluded from the popular kids group in school, having your heart broken, not getting the job you dreamed about, losing money on an investment or a house sale, feeling like you live without purpose, retirement. 

STEP 3. When you finish, connect the dots. 

Let us give you a few examples of the questions that you may ask yourself while working and identifying your life line. 

First, let’s look at the Helpful Patterns: 

What were your most valuable habits and behaviors that you feel proud of? 

What do people most admire and complement about you?

What inspires you to perform at your best? 

What circumstances, people or resources positively impact your performance?

What are the three main positive patterns?

What do your answers tell you about yourself as a leader and professional?

Next, let’s look at the Unhelpful Patterns: 

Remind yourself of the times in your life when you experienced disappointment, struggle and failure.

Which old weaknesses and thought patterns impacted your life the most?

What are the destructive behaviors that cause pain to others or yourself?

What are the behaviors in others that negatively trigger you and how do you usually react?

What are your biggest fears?

Any meaningful change in your business and life requires awareness. 

Look at your answers and summarize what are the three main negative and three positive patterns that you see.

What do these patterns tell you about yourself as a leader and professional?

This new awareness will allow you to see what is still holding you back today so you can make different decisions and needed changes going forward. 

Evaluate and celebrate your positive patterns, they are your biggest assets. Use them strategically as the keys to your future success. 

We would like to invite you to apply for an opportunity to meet in person for a Complimentary Business Strategy Session.  

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The Author:

Renia M. Orr is an international business coach, brand strategist, and speaker. She is an expert in helping women achieve explosive business growth, build highly profitable brands, and create extraordinary lives.