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“It’s okay to look over your shoulder, just don’t stare.”

February 9, 2015

“It’s okay to look over your shoulder, just don’t stare.” Wise words from our January speaker, Judge Annette Rizzo (ret.), who is careful to explain that, for her, “ret.” means retooled, not retired.
As we begin a new year and have an opportunity to embrace new ideas, habits and, yes, even those semi-dreaded resolutions, many in our audience found themselves struck by Judge Rizzo’s opening words.
One woman said that it reminded her of the time she spent worrying about past mistakes or even dissecting past decisions. She resolved to stop “staring over her shoulder” and to start reminding herself that, although mistakes were inevitable, they were rare and often repairable.
Another attendee believed that the phrase touched on her tendency to do things the way she had always done them, fearing that trying a new method would lead to failure. Yet another felt that Judge Rizzo’s words reflected her tendency to spend the morning in a flurry while at home worrying about work, only to arrive at work and spend much of her morning worrying about her home life.

How much time do we, as women in the profession, spend looking over our shoulders? How often do we talk ourselves out of exploring a world outside of our comfort zones because we are busy staring over our shoulders? And, more importantly, how can we resist the temptation to stare over our shoulders?

The answer will be different for everyone, but a starting point was delivered with Judge Rizzo’s closing words, “go the extra mile, the road isn’t crowded.” It’s impossible to move forward if you’re holding yourself back by obsessing over the past; nor can you look ahead if you are staring over your shoulder.
Judge Rizzo’s words struck different chords with different people, but her message to all of us is the same: look forward, there are better things ahead.

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