by: Deborah Brown-Volkman
Are you focused on the past or the potential your future holds?
Many people can’t let go of something that happened A long time ago. Maybe it was a conversation you had, or didn’t have. Maybe it was a project you should have taken, or one that you let pass by. Maybe it was something you said on an interview, or didn’t say.
Everyone has ‘something’ in their career that they wish they could change. So, know that you are not alone. It’s not what happened that matters most now, but what you do going forward.
1. Admit That Your Past Is Holding You Back
If you are angry or blaming someone, you are stuck. Being stuck means that you are not taking action. After a while, it doesn’t make a difference who was right or wrong. What counts is your career, and it’s up to you to move it forward. It’s ok to be upset about past mistakes. It’s ok to wish your career was in another place. Use that energy to create something different for the future.
2. Look At What Happened Objectively
Recall the incident. (Or, incidents.) Rather than pushing your memories away, let them float to the surface. Assess whether what happened to you is a one time event or a recurring theme. Look for patterns, your role in causing them, rather than what keeps ‘happening’ to you. Your goal is to see your past from a new perspective. Once you know what the problem is, then you can fix it.
3. Forgive Yourself
If someone told your ‘story’ to you, what would you say’ How would you react’ You would probably be easy on the storyteller, while you are most likely being hard on yourself. Recognize that you are human and humans make mistakes. Gain strength from your newfound knowledge. You are a better person because of what you have found out about yourself. It’s important to let go of what happened. The past does not determine your future, you do. You can’t change the past, but you can change the path you are on now. Focus on your accomplishments and what you do right. Get ready for the future. Leave the past where it belongs; behind you.
4. Take Action
If your past no longer defines you, then you can live satisfied in the present, while planning for the next steps in your career that inspire you. Ask yourself, where you want your career to be one year from now. Where do you want to be in three years, five years, or more’ Write down the steps you will take to get yourself there. (The more specific the better.) Make a plan and put specific milestones into your calendar. The good news is the weight will be lifted. You will be too engrossed with your present goals to be held back from the past anymore. Your momentum will begin to soar and you’ll have the energy to take your career to new heights.
So, what do you say’ You only have one life to live, so it might as well be a life you love!