We’ve all been hurt at some point. But dwelling on the past and harboring anger, frustration or bitterness is pointless.
When we do, it only holds us back. It stunts our growth and gets in the way of our future success.
A week after I wrote about leadership and self awareness, Mike Myatt from N2growth shared with me his post on the same topic. His last section “Begin the Process of Unlearning” really stuck with me. It pushed me to think about what baggage I might still be carrying from my past.
Pain and sweeping generalizations
I’ve been betrayed and lied to. I’ve been taken advantage of. I’ve worked for people with questionable motives. I’ve been exposed to people who are clearly doing bad things.
It’s ok to recognize these things happened, but it’s unfair to carry these memories forward and make sweeping generalizations as if everyone will be this way. I can’t assume everyone with a particular title, background, or business skill will behave the same way.
Nor should I look at myself and hate any similarities to these people. I can be intense, just not to the point of beating down other people. I can be friendly without being deceptive. I can be honest and direct without being rude.
Pain and blaming others
In the midst of pain sometimes it was difficult to perform up to my potential. I blamed my lack of motivation on poor leadership. How could we make progress with a constantly moving target? It angered me to see people using bandaids that wouldn’t fix real problems.
But I didn’t try to find a creative solution.
I was distracted and focused on all the wrong things. I saw more problems than opportunities. And of course none of it was my fault. I justified my negative reactions. It was someone else’s fault for putting me in this situation. This created an even bigger problem because I was believing my own lies.
Shedding our baggage for good
Yes, I’ve been through some very negative leadership experiences. I’ve seen good, bad and ugly. But I’ve allowed this junk to drag me down in the past. I let it affect my otherwise stellar performance.
I can’t afford to carry any remaining baggage with me. I can’t let it affect future relationships. I can use it as inspiration for creativity and finding a better way, but can’t let anger seep into my advice.
If I’m approaching issues from a negative posture, people will smell it. People can sense frustration. I’ll have a bitter edge that appeals to no one.
Holding on to yesterday’s baggage can actually be dangerous and can inhibit our growth and future success. So we must figure out ways to get over it and forge ahead.
We’ll never forget. But we can forgive and move on.
Question: What baggage from your past are you holding onto right now? How is this affecting you and what are you going to do about it?