I have coached hundreds of leaders in the past thirty years. One thing stands out among those who are the most effective.

They focus on making today better.

Yes, they spend time on planning for the future and certainly, they learn from the past. But they realize that the only time they can affect is today. Right now. Their next move.

The future is unpredictable no matter how much you plan. The past is over no matter how much you wish it had gone differently. Making today better is the key. A better today gives you a different vantage point — a step ahead — for tomorrow.

My friend Bill is an avid sailor. And a CEO. He told me that leadership is like sailing. You have a clear destination and you chart a course to get there. Then, the moment you set sail, all bets are off. The weather changes, you have an equipment failure and, guess what, now you are really “sailing”. You adapt, you rally your crew, you make course corrections, you use your wits, your experience, and, together, you take coordinated actions now.

And, says Bill, that’s what makes sailing — and leadership — so invigorating.

Today is the only time you can make a difference. The only time you can take action. Everything else is a memory or a dream. Stop spending so much time in meetings re-litigating yesterday. Planning for a distant future.

Take actions today that keep you on course to your destination. On the path to achieving your mission. Celebrate the small steps you take forward today.

You – and your people – will have a lot more fun and get a lot more done.

Focus on today.