Greetings from the west coast of Sweden where we have recently arrived for our annual pilgrimage to visit relatives and friends, swim and fish in the North Sea, hike, bike, practice speaking Swedish and eat herring. And I'm also planning to do some writing and give a speech in Stockholm on creating remarkable customer experiences. Sounds like a tough assignment. But I wanted to begin my series of posts from here with an idea that amazes and confounds me every summer. The notion that it "seems like only yesterday" that we were here.
Because we find ourselves saying it every year.
Now I know that we left here eleven months ago. And in those eleven months a lot has happened. We've had eleven months of business and work and another year of school. We've had another year of soccer, swim team and our first season of lacrosse. We've enjoyed a colorful fall, a cold winter, a beautiful Washington spring and the first half of a very hot and humid summer. We've enjoyed another year of art, music, innovation and the final Harry Potter movie. And we've also seen the continuation of wars, a period of dramatic change in several regions of the world, and a global economic recession that hangs on despite the efforts of politicians and business leaders. This has been a busy year.
But as we made the drive from the airport in Gothenburg to our little village along the sea everything seemed so familiar. And when we pulled into our driveway, or stopped at the grocery store, or took our first walk along the water, or encountered old friends, or set up the soccer goal, or tuned up the bicycles and readied the fishing gear it didn't seem as though we'd been away for eleven months. To the contrary, it seemed like only yesterday that we had been here going about our summer routine. It's a phenomenon I attribute to age while realizing that it must be something more remarkable.
So I started thinking about what makes time seem irrelevant. What enables us to pick up where we left off without missing a beat? To reconnect with people and places in an instant as though we had seen them the day before. To live life to the fullest for 335 days of the year only to have time fly by. To become so familiar with a corner of the world and a corner of our own lives that it is always there and ready to turn on at a moment's notice. And to imagine the power of this idea in the lives of our companies and organizations–which could be even more successful if they were able to connect to the best people, ideas and opportunities from their present and their past…at a moment's notice.
We win in business and in life when we maintain a powerful bond with yesterday. And when our yesterdays move seamlessly into today.