Are you looking backward to determine how to move forward? Are you looking to the past to determine what’s possible for your future? What if the past is not a good measure of what’s possible or our potential? What if what worked in the past is yesterday’s wisdom, and something new is required moving forward? When I look to my past, I can find all sorts of evidence of what will or won’t work.
Often in business or our leadership, we respect pushing through, and as a result, we override our feelings or desires. We have this idea that strength means we ignore any internal resistance and see it as a sign of weakness. Popular culture would have us believe that to be successful in business, we must push, sacrifice, ignore our desires, and “buck up.”
In hindsight, I can see that much of my personal development and curiosity to improve myself was focused on overcoming what is, put simply, the human experience. I had sorted out the good bits and bad bits and thought success meant I felt the good bits more than the bad ones. Doing what I could to avoid or overcome anything I had deemed “bad” or “uncomfortable” meant a lot of analysis and figuring out how to be different.
It takes courage to settle below all that’s expected of us so we can finally touch what is real for us. Settling below all we’ve been taught, all of our conditioning, below our plans, what we believe others expect of us, or even our idealized images of ourselves, allows us to discover our own truth; our path, our voice, and our expression. Taking the time to reveal ourselves to ourselves creates a new sense of what’s possible.
This last week, I posted some of the twists, turns, setbacks, and failure’s I’ve had over the years of my adult career. Times when it felt like I was off course and “something” needed fixing. In my mind, that something was often me. Many people resonated with my story. Either to the elusive search for a purpose that would make everything flow, help us find meaning, or to the times when it looked like things were completely off-track.
Over the last month, I have found myself asking this question over and over again. While it may not be an easy answer or instantly clear, this question has helped me find a way to move forward, show up or get into action. When we look at complex issues and problems in our work, our lives, or our society, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and slip into hopelessness or get paralyzed. It feels too big and too hard. All we see is the pain, the obstacles, and the challenges.