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This post comes from Stephani Morris from Brooklyn, MI when she asked, “How do you get over the past and focus on the future?”

Whether your past is a good thing or bad, it can hold you back if you dwell on it for too long. I know people who won awesome awards and they never did anything after because they glued themselves to that one accomplishment. I know people who have life stories similar to the ones you see in a Lifetime movie and they stay so bitter because of their past that they can’t move on.

Let your past be stepping stones to your next success – not an anchor in which you think you have to stay (tweet). It’s time to get over the past, no matter how good or bad, and start focusing on the future.

You should be happy you have experienced the good, the bad and the ugly! As a leader, your past helps you relate and connect to more people and it helps you make decisions today that will dictate your future!

Ways you can get over the past and focus on the future:

Set up your vision board!
Get those scissors out, those old magazines you have thrown in the corner and set up a vision board of what you want your life to look like. This will help keep you focused and a visual reminder we can have what we want in life.

Ask yourself if you are being insane?
The definition of insane according to Albert Einstein is “Doing the same thing over and expecting different results.” Are you doing the same things to try and get over the past? Are you doing the same things that are keeping you stuck where you have been? What is something else you can try today to get you focused on the future and remind yourself to let it go (insert Disney theme song here).

Drop the negative people in your life!
You become who you surround yourself by. If you are around negative people, you too will be negative. If you surround yourself with those who are focused on the past… guess what? You too will do the same. It’s time to find people who are ambitious, respect their past but look to find ways to improve their future. Who can you get rid of in your life who is holding you back? Sounds brutal, but you know who they are!

Focus on yourself first!
Sounds selfish? Good, it should! Until you take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else. I see so many people trying to help others yet they forget about their own well-being. What does the flight attendant tell you to do with your oxygen mask if the plane is going down? Put yours on first THEN help those next to you! The world is no good if you are no good so start focusing on yourself and how you can be stronger and get your mind focused on moving forward!

Find three quotes you like!
If you are focused too much on the past, open another tab in your browser and type “inspirational quotes” into Google. Find them, print them out and keep them around your house, car, office or bathroom to constantly remind yourself you have what it takes. Keep your eyes forward and focus on the future.

Three of my favorite quotes to keep me going:
“Whether you think you can, or you can’t, you are right.” – Henry Ford
“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t Ask. Act!” – Thomas Jefferson
” Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Write down three good things that have come out of your past! 
What good things have come from your past? Take three minutes right now and write these down. Tell yourself “parts of my past are good and now it is time to move on to bigger and better things because the world needs more of what I have to offer.” Don’t settle!

Make sure to take time today and if there is something in your past that has been holding you back, good or bad, start with setting up a vision board, finding three quotes you like and write down three good things that have come from your past that you are thankful for. This exercise might take 20 minutes of your day but will get you the boost you need as a leader to be proud of the past and focused on the future.

Thanks for the question Stephani. Let’s all keep using our voice to make a difference and as always…

Dream BIG,

* Know someone who could benefit from this article? Please share it with them on your social media or email by clicking on one button bellow! 

Ryan Avery

Author Ryan Avery

Hi, my name is Ryan Avery! Every Sunday I share the "notes" I use to build my keynotes. They are personal stories and tangible strategies we can use to improve the way we communicate at work, at home and with ourselves.

More posts by Ryan Avery

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Kristyn says:

    Great post Avery!

    I can’t even tell you how much of a coincidence it was that you posted this, and I got the email notification. I got divorced recently and life has been a little rough over the last year. But, I have lots of good things and opportunities in my life now, and I have been feeling like if I didn’t start focusing on the future I will miss these opportunities. This idea was really pressing on my heart and then BOOM I got your blog post.

    You are doing great things! You and Chelsea are always such an inspiration to me. Keep it up 🙂

  • Ryan Avery says:

    So glad to hear this post helped you Kristyn! Means a lot you would share that and keep looking for those opportunities. I can’t imagine divorce being easy but you have a HUGE future ahead of you 🙂 Stay in touch and hope I can write more articles that add value to you! #DreamBIG

  • I’d love to post this to my running group on FB. This applies to so much in life, and the goals there are plenty – lose weight, run a sub-30 5k, better performance in longer races, etc.

  • Matt Zaun says:

    Ryan, this post is awesome! Thanks for sharing. Hope all is well.


  • Ryan Avery says:

    Thanks Matt. Hope you are doing well and enjoy your weekend!

  • Ryan Avery says:

    Hey Larry, please do! Share away and let’s help more people focus on the future than yesterday.

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