Use Your Past to Build a Better Future

Mistakes, missteps, adversity, hurt, and failure. All of these are negative experiences, at least, at first impression. We’ve all dealt with heartache and heartbreak, with disappointment and resentment. So many pessimistic experiences and impressions can easily discourage to the point of apathy. It’s choosing another path to deal with such occurrences that’s one of the single most difficult things to do in life, and in business.

There’s just no avoiding the fact that mistakes will be made, perhaps even to the extent of leading to outright failure of a company, even for entities that are established and realizing a profit. No matter the size or presence of a brand, it can deteriorate and ultimately flounder to the point of no return. We’ve seen this before in the business world, particularly in giants: Blockbuster Video, Circuit City, Borders Books and Music, Radio Shack, Montgomery Wards, Steak & Ale, the list goes on and on.

Use Your Past to Build a Better Future

One obstacle to overcome is being creatures of habit. Sure, these definitely differ from person to person, but regardless, remain part and parcel of our day-to-day routines. It’s quite easy to let this phenomenon creep into a business environment, and sometimes, with the best of intentions. Habit (read: practice and procedure) can be a good thing. It can also be a death knell, and when you can’t pinpoint the root cause, make you susceptible to more than one failure.

The more clearly you understand your strengths and how they enabled you to get to this point, the more effectively you can leverage them into a bright and fulfilling future. It’s important not to regret the past. Instead, you must appreciate all of your positive experiences and find a way to learn from the negative ones. —Business Insider

Our past is part of who we are, but, it doesn’t have to define who we are or what we can become. If you think about it for a moment, your past is one of the most valuable weapons you have in your arsenal leading you into the future. This is so understood, it’s actually become a set of quintessential cliches. We see these motivating messages all the time and get a lift. That feeling subsides and it’s human nature to let the past work its negativity on us.

I share with my clients that although my successes are something I appreciate, it is my failures that provided me the learning to excel and help others accelerate their success in less time and less mistakes. Failure is the precursor to success. Failure is an event so do not let it define who you are. Use your past to empower yourself and move forward with your future:

  • Change small things, one at a time. There’s a technique in the world of psychology known as, “solution focused brief therapy.” In short, it works by putting focus on building solutions instead of problem solving. It works in a splendidly simple way: you change one small thing at a time. It could be waking-up 10 minutes earlier, exercising just a little every day, or working on this or that skill. Whatever it is, when you become better at it, you’ll feel a genuine sense of accomplishment.
  • Take-on tasks you regularly avoid. Speaking of exercise, this is one thing many people avoid, though it certainly isn’t the only one. You might not like talking on the phone, going-over or creating certain documents, or some other task. Here again, whatever it might be, incremental change is key.
  • Know and accept your weaknesses. You might not be good at this or that, and that’s perfectly okay. For entrepreneurs, this is a very difficult concept to accept. Being natural self-starters, optimists, and enthusiasts, not being able to excel at something is foreign and frustrating. When you do accept your weaknesses, you’re actually demonstrating your own strength, particularly if you bring-in someone else that has those exact skill sets.
  • Look at yourself through another’s eyes. You probably get compliments from time to time, though these might not be overt. Take stock in each one by accepting them for what they are, and know it’s how the person who gave it truly feels about you.

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