We all have things in our past that prevent us from being our best selves. Anything from a poor job experience to a messy relationship affects our behavior, sometimes in ways we don’t even realize ourselves. However, you are stronger than you think. Don’t let issues in your past dictate your future.
Our past is part of us. It’s what has shaped us into what we are today. The past prepares us for our future.
However, it can also hold us back. Previous trauma, misfortune, and mistakes can all haunt us and limit our ability to embrace new opportunities, be productive, and perform certain tasks.
This is perfectly normal and human. But to actualize your true potential, you must be able to accept your past and move on from it.
The Past is the Past
Imagine you make a mistake that could have sizeable ramifications. For example, in her article in The New York Times entitled “Everyone Fails. Here’s How to Pick Yourself Back Up,” Rachel Simmons talks about suffering an anxiety attack while speaking in front of over 200 people. She mentions being embarrassed and disoriented as she stood on the stage, wondering if her career as a public speaker was over.
Most people would lose confidence after that. Perhaps they would decide to pursue a different avenue in their career, thinking they were no longer cut out for public speaking. Or maybe they keep trying, but because this mistake still lingers in the back of their mind, they never recapture the ability they had before. Their past is negatively affecting the achievement of their goals.
If you want to be at your most productive, courageous, and powerful, you need to be able to move on from things like this. Your best self is not filled with shame or regret. Your best self accepts your mistakes and your faults, learns from them, and moves on. You grab opportunities when they present themselves. You take risks and you learn and grow from them.
Find Your Best Self
So how do we free ourselves from the limiting effects of our past. There are many ways to change your mindset. After her experience, Rachel Simmons suggests a few different modes of thought we can adopt when faced with this problem. After she had her anxiety attack, the first thing she began doing was blaming herself. She states that part of the reason this self-blame is a problem is that it discourages us from taking risks in the future. We start to think that if we are going to fail when we jump at opportunities, then we may as well stop and play it safe.
Instead of engaging in this “fixed mindset”, she suggests that when encountering a potential failure, we ask ourselves:
“What’s the worst that can happen?”
“Then, can you deal with that outcome? What resources do you have to handle it?”
“What are some possible benefits of your failure, even if the situation doesn’t work out?”
This is a great way to approach things because much of what we encounter, in general and in the workplace, is not life and death. The consequences won’t be unbearable and we shouldn’t live in fear of them.
Failure should not control us. Let your panic and adrenaline subside and approach things from a rational state of mind (See the 7 levels). You may find that the issue is not as big as you originally thought. Even if it is, making decisions rationally will always be more beneficial than making them panicked.
The Ho’oponopono Prayer is also something you can use to help overcome your past and any limiting beliefs. It is an old Hawaiian concept meant to help us rid ourselves of errors in our thought and gain peace of mind. The direct translation of the word is “to cause things to move back into balance.” The prayer is four short lines and goes as follows:
Please forgive me.
I love you.
Many people use it as a mantra they repeat to themselves to help open their mind and free them from any constraints they may have. It helps them to work through their faults and learn to accept the things in their past that may be affecting them. Any discord within them bubbles up to the surface, allowing them to sift through it properly and attain a sense of calm and balance.
It can help us to take accountability and show love and gratitude, even when we are not necessarily responsible for an issue. A positive state of mind is nurtured, allowing for practitioners to start moving towards their best self.
This prayer will also help you cultivate your compassion for yourself. This is something Rachel acknowledges as important to moving on. After her attack, it became hard for her to remember her previous success in public speaking. All she could think about was her current speech that she had “bombed.” It was important for her to remember that she is more than her mistakes.
Often, we are the ones most critical of ourselves and as such, self-compassion is an important trait to have to free us from negative thoughts.
Even if you don’t want to practice the actual prayer, the ideas within it are valuable to anyone seeking to move on from their past and move forward. Coming to terms with things that have happened and understanding how they affect you is the first step towards achieving your best self.
This isn’t just something to value in the business world. Achieving our best and highest self is something we should all be striving toward, both in our work, and in our lives outside our careers.
The past is important. Learn from it. Appreciate it. Just don’t let it hold you back from creating your best possible future. Your best self is waiting for you.
Happy New Year!
The KeenAlignment Team
P.S. Are you looking to break through your past constraints and ground yourself in the present? Well, look no further than our Ignite Your Power retreat! For female leaders everywhere, this retreat teaches participants to elevate themselves to their highest level of consciousness and eliminate the neural pathways that hinder their success. We look forward to seeing you there!