Are you letting what happened yesterday create your view of what tomorrow might hold? Are you navigating your future by looking in the rearview mirror? If you are, here’s one of my favorite quotes to take to heart:
“Though no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand-new ending.”
― Carl Bard
We all get trapped in the inertia of our stories about the past, to some extent. It’s natural. The key is not staying there. Wherever you think your life is heading, you have the potential to, as Bard puts it, make a brand-new ending.
To help you shift out of rear-view navigation mode, here are some questions to explore:
- What story am I telling about my future?
- Is it accurate? How do I know?
- Why do I believe that story?
- Is another possible future conceivable? (Hint: The answer is almost always, “Yes.”)
- What story am I telling about myself that limits what I see as possible for me?
- Has anyone else been in my situation and created a change? How?
- What would I like a different future to look like? (Get specific.)
- What steps could I take right now to start creating that future?
- What’s getting in my way?
- What could I do to overcome each of those obstacles? (Brainstorm. Get creative.)
- What help would I need to create that brand new ending?
- Who can help me create that brand new ending?
Questions are one of the most powerful tools you have to blast yourself out of a path tethered to the past. They shine a light on flawed assumptions and help you see your options. The less you needlessly limit yourself, and the more options you see, the more possibility lies in your future.
Another way to support a shift out of rear-view navigation so you can focus on creating a brand new ending is to challenge yourself to prove that what you want to do isn’t possible. “I can’t _______ because ________.”
So, for example, let’s say you decide, “I can’t make a career change because:”
- I’m too old.
- I have responsibilities that won’t let me.
- I don’t have any experience.
- I wouldn’t make enough money.
- I don’t know anybody in that industry.
Now’s your chance to air that negative voice and let it have its say. Let your nattering nabob of negativity run amok. But you don’t stop there! The next step is to take each of those arguments and challenge yourself to counter or disprove them.
Is that really true? Nobody has ever changed careers at your age?
Responsibilities that limit you make a change?
What changes could you make to your current situation? Are all of the responsibilities set in stone, or could you actually make changes with any of them? Are there other choices you could make that would give you more room? Could you approach the change differently (e.g., taking steps towards it over a longer period of time)?
You don’t have any experience?
Is that a static situation, or could you change that? What experience is needed? What experience do you have that you could carry forward? What experience do you still need to gain? How can you start gaining it?
You get the idea. The things we see as impenetrable barriers between us and the brand new ending we want to create are often just boulders blocking the path. It’s up to us to find a way over, around, or through them.
Breaking it down into individual obstacles like that gives us more to work with and helps us see the assumptions we’re making so we can question whether or not they’re even valid.
So if the life you see in the rear-view mirror keeps echoing into the future, stop and remind yourself that you can always make a brand new ending…and the time to start is now.
Join the Ripple Revolution TM
Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM
Time for a career change? Start with The Occupational Adventure Guide