Some people work in the future. The next donor visit. The next gift. The next goal. The benefits of this approach are that the future is almost always perceived to be better and some sort of progress almost always occurs. The downsides with this approach are that others may not feel important to us and the joy of our work is not fully experienced in the moment.
Others work in the present. The current visit with this donor. The joy connected to their gift commitment. The satisfaction of a job well done. The benefits of this approach are that the people around us feel important to us and we create memories. The downsides with this approach are that we might miss opportunities that planning could have created and progress is uneven.
Still others work in the past. Reviewing the data of what has occurred. Reflecting on a past visit with a donor. Debriefing from the event. The benefits of this approach are that we learn and, hopefully, adjust our behaviors and reactions to similar circumstances in the future. The downsides with this approach are that the critical aspects of our past (our perceived mistakes, miscues, missed opportunities, etc.) almost always loom more important than our successes. And, we can fail to act because we over-analyze.
The point is not that one of these “workplaces” is better than the others. To be effective (and healthy!), we all must balance how we work in the future, the present, and the past.
The point is to understand where you prefer to work and to be self-aware enough to know when you are out of balance.
Growth only happens when we become uncomfortable.