A few Sunday’s ago, I heard our pastor talking about an individual who was anchored by his past. For years he continued to hold onto mistakes and failures from earlier in life. I sat there thinking about how I used to hold onto things that happened in my career, like missed promotions I deserved. I should have let them go to release that energy, so fresh energy could propel me forward. Instead I lugged around that baggage for far too long.
As the sermon lingered in my head I thought about how most of my clients are in the same self-imposed trap. But it is not until they do some deep inner work and introspection that they begin to understand how they are sabotaging their own success. They release past regrets and old history, rather than habitually reliving their mistakes. When you keep replaying those past circumstances in your head, it drains you from within, on a powerful subconscious level.
Have you ever missed the opportunity to get promoted or been upset when a deal you worked on fell through? Maybe you were downsized or fired. It’s easy to wallow in self-pity. But here’s the thing. When it negatively infects your mindset, then it will seep into your emotions, your working relationships, and your ability to see clearly and be productive. You’ve got to let it go, before you are caught in a chronic downward spiral that can undermine your attitude, outlook, and future success.You’re always capable of being in control of how you respond to whatever challenges you face. #Leadership #mindset Click To Tweet
Here are three techniques to help you let go of whatever it is from your past that might still be holding you back.
1) Renew: Leave the Past in the Past & Go Fast Forward
Sometimes you’re not in full control of circumstances. But you’re always capable of being in control of how you respond to whatever challenges you face. Whatever happened to you may have been hurtful and difficult. But if you stay emotionally connected to that regretful past, it will taint your current situation with negative thoughts and feelings.
Those will come out as fear, anger, frustration, jealousy, hesitation, lack of confidence, or an ego that is way too defensive. Old baggage is a self-imposed ball-and-chain. To unlock it and break free, practice focusing on what is right in front of you in the here and now. If it’s beyond your control, don’t waste your valuable time and energy worrying about it.
2) Reveal: Discover Opportunities Hiding in Plain Sight
Now that you’ve rid your mind of that negative self-talk and stopped identifying as a victim, you have new energy and power. You can see clearly, and notice opportunities that you used to fail to recognize. Instead of staring through a microscope you see the situation from a more poised and panoramic perspective.
You’ll have the strength to acknowledge areas where you need to grow and mature. You’ll have the detachment to play a more strategic game. Instead of reacting emotionally you will be able to respond thoughtfully and deliberately. When chaos happens and others are shaken, you’ll be the calm eye in the storm. That’s genuine leadership, and it only comes to those who work at it by developing superior mindset management skills.
3) Revitalize: Conserve Your Energy for What Counts
It may take hard work and a deep commitment. But the return on investment will be extraordinary, and it will start paying you dividends immediately. Untethered from the nagging past, you’ll have more peace of mind. Your past failures won’t be a source of dissatisfaction, fear, shame, or insecurity. You’ll be able to reframe them as part of your personal narrative of overcoming hardships and setbacks. That can be a tool for connecting with and inspiring others.
Free from unnecessary and unproductive stress and obsession with the past, you’ll literally have more energy. You’ll have more mental capacity to problem solve, since that precious bandwidth will no longer be spent trying to solve whatever happened in the past. Instead of always rehashing your past in your head, you’ll be able to pay more attention to others. That will make you a better listener, a more inclusive leader, and a more valuable role model and asset to your organization.
The Bottom LineHere’s a great quote to inspire you to free yourself from the past: “By letting go, it all gets done.” – Lao Tzu Click To Tweet
The worrisome past is an itch that only worsens the more you scratch it. When you stop feeding the past by thinking about it, it will soon wither up and fade. The best way to stop thinking about it is to focus all your thoughts on the present.
Make a conscious executive decision to let go of the past you cannot change. Then tackle the real challenges that are right in front of you today, to ensure greater present and future success.
Sarah’s Leadership Accelerator Insights
1) What concerns do you have that are completely beyond your control, that you should eliminate from your mind?
2) What is within your control, that you should be focusing harder on to improve your success rate and land the next promotion?
3) What did you learn from the past that can be helpful to your future?
4) Are there new skills you should learn to strengthen gaps in your resume or leadership experience?
5) Would you benefit from having a trusted mentor or coach to help you transition forward faster?
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