The Key to Growth: Look Forward

A simple shift in mindset will make all the difference!

My wife’s father Andrei arrived from Russia last week. After a 9-hour flight, he dropped his bag at the hotel in New York, then headed for our home in Princeton, NJ. He had one night free before kicking off a 10-city tour throughout North America with his band Mashina Veremni (translated, it means Time Machine). Time Machine was once considered the “Beatles of Russia” and Dee’s dad, Andrei Makarevich, is their leader. Together for almost 50 years, Time Machine has produced 30 albums, a dozen number-one hits and several of the Russia’s most recognized anthems.

Distance and busy schedules make it difficult for Dee and her dad to see each other frequently. But when they do, it’s beautiful. They finish each other’s sentences, bond over exotic foods and smile the entire time. Despite the rare meetings, there is never an awkward moment. They are as comfortable as any dad and daughter would be.

The thing is, Dee met her dad for the first time when she was 19 years old.

Dee grew up learning about her father through newspapers, magazines and TV shows. Her dad, on the contrary, didn’t know much about his daughter—that she was 1st in her class, spoke multiple languages, studied in Japan or got a full scholarship to a college in the US. They had not spoken until one day a brave teenager decided to call the most popular musician in Russia. She wasn’t asking for anything from Andrei other than a little bit of his time.

Upon their first meeting, Dee had every right to ask Andrei for an explanation—but she didn’t. For his part, Andrei could have rattled off excuses—but he didn’t. They made the conscious choice to leave the past where is was most useful—behind them. They understood that rehashing what happened wasn’t going to change it. They incorporated their learnings and moved forward. They lost 19 years already, they were not going to let another day slip by. This forward-thinking approach not only resulted in a happy daughter and grateful father—it also created one of the most cherished relationships for both of them.

I snapped a photo of them after dinner. Seeing Dee and her dad together, I am reminded of how simply looking forward versus reliving the past can make all the difference in a relationship—whether it’s personal or professional. People make mistakes, solutions miss the mark, suppliers and clients drop the ball—and if you dwell on past issues you’ll be sure to miss out on the beautiful moments and big opportunities that can only be created in the present.

Thanks for teaching me this mindset, Dee. And Andrei, thanks for making such a rockstar daughter.