As a coach, my goal is to help my clients towards a better future. I want them to grow, to travel beyond where they are now, and to always be moving forward.
They’re on a path, and each time I interact with them, my hope is to move them one step farther down that path.
The biggest challenge I find with helping people is when they are tied to their past. Whether they have hurts, lies that they believe about themselves, guilt or shame from something they have done, fear of failing, or bitterness, it’s hard for them to look ahead.
It’s like there is a rope tied to them that’s holding them back. As they try to move forward, the rope stops them in their tracks and forces them to look behind.
I see clients with such great potential, but their past grips them. It imprisons them, and until they are broken free, they can’t flourish. Fortunately, in Lifeonaire, we’ve been pretty good at helping most people break away.
I want to share some perspectives that have helped many students. Hopefully they can help you as well….
1. Accept your past.
It happened. It’s done. It can’t be changed. Many people hold on to the past because they want it to be fixed. That can’t happen.
While there is the possibility for amends or restitution in the future, more than likely it will never happen. So don’t dwell on it. Just let it go and move forward.
2. Focus on your vision.
You can choose to focus on the past or the future. Although both are difficult to do when you’re in a tough spot, I promise one will produce much better results.
You owe it to yourself to come up with a positive vision for your future and let that guide your steps today, which will lead to great rewards compared to the alternative.
At Lifeonaire, I often have students read me their vision. Then I ask them how much they want that life, and I hope to hear them say that they want it really badly. That’s all I need to get them to start taking steps to move away from the past.
(Note: Your Vision is a clear, written description of what your complete, ideal life looks like. If you don’t have your own Vision yet, here’s a simple resource that can help you start the process for yourself.)
3. Recognize that you’re not alone.
No matter how alone we feel in our pain, many others have been in our shoes. Some choose to dwell on their circumstances in a negative way and others choose to work on moving forward.
My grand daughter passed away at 15 months old. For my daughter and son-in-law, the loss is unimaginable.
I’m deeply hurt by it, but I can’t imagine what it’s like for them. They must feel all alone, like they’re the only people on the planet that this has happened to.
But I’ve been around a long time. I’ve met others who are in their shoes. I’ve met people that have allowed it to dictate a life of emptiness for many years. I’ve met people that have celebrated the life of their lost child. I’ve met people that have tried acting like it never happened. I’ve met people that have changed the course of their own lives to honor the life of their child.
The bottom line is that in the most tragic of circumstances, in our deepest hurts, we are not alone. Others have been there before us, and we can find negative examples or positive examples of what we’d like to pursue when we are in the same circumstance.
4. Change your perspective.
What can you learn from your experiences? You could be bitter, saying things like “I’ll never help anyone again!”. Or you could do things like put boundaries in place, or change the way that you help people.
I encourage you to accept responsibility for your part in your past, learn from it, and grow.
Consider Bethany Hamilton. She’s a professional surfer who at the age of 13 had her arm bitten off by a shark. She could have allowed this to destroy her life, but instead she took a positive approach.
Today she is married with a family and travels the world sharing her faith and her testimony of hope. She recognizes that losing her arm is what gives her a platform.
If she had both arms, people would likely not listen to her today, but having lost an arm, her story is inspirational and she gets to share life with hundreds of thousands if not millions of people as a result.
5. Consider your surroundings.
At Lifeonaire, most of the time you’ll be surrounded by people that will not only empathize with you, but also encourage you to move beyond.
The faith of Lifeonaires is contagious. Their desire for life is contagious. They don’t want to see you walk through life with an anchor that’s heavier than you can carry. They’ll come alongside you and help you carry it while you are working on removing it.
If you’re finding yourself always involved in pity parties and you want to move beyond it, I suggest surrounding yourself with a different group of people. It may hurt to hear the truth instead of pity, but when people are being honest in love, it’s because they believe you can have so much more.
One final example…
Finally, while trying to come up with different stories to share, I kept coming back to Jesus. He encompassed all of these points in one.
Although hated and scorned, beaten and killed, he stayed focused on His vision the whole time.
He came to die for the sins of the world. And he did so not only for the good people but also for those who were hurting him. He accepted what they were doing to him, stayed focused on his vision, chose to love them and embrace what was happening, and asked that the Father forgive them, because they didn’t know what they were doing.
Jesus didn’t deserve any of what he went through. And just like us, he could have held on to the past. But instead he looked ahead. He let go and embraced his role. He chose to use his circumstances to reach the world.
…Isn’t it time that you let go and looked ahead?
Do you feel limited by your past? Do you have stories of flourishing after letting go of what’s behind you? I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories in the comments below. ⇊