Looking Over Your Shoulder

Keep Your Eyes On The Road

Lately a number of my clients have told me that they feel bad about things that have happened in their past. They are worried about how those things are affecting their future. These things range from past financial problems to not having spent enough time with their children. They are experiencing a fear about something that hasn’t happened yet as a result of something that cannot be changed.

That is what is called “worry” and it is a choice that they are making. Remember that worry is nothing more than looking at a future event and predicting a bad outcome. Why look at the future that way?

Just recently I was coaching a man who runs a successful business. On this particular evening we were celebrating some of his recent successes. He had set some very specific goals, worked hard, kept his focus on where he was going and turned his goals into accomplishments.

He stated, quite proudly, “You know why I met these challenges? I believed I could do it.” He went on to talk about how in the past he would set goals, write them down, picture them, do all the things he was supposed to do expect one. He never really believed he could accomplish those things. He spent too much time looking over his shoulder, rather than keeping his eyes on the road.

This is a pretty basic analogy. If you try to run forward while looking backward you are going to go off the track. And that is what it is like when you focus on your past. Your past is just that. There is not one thing that you can do to change it. So quit thinking about it. Learn from your past. Take the mistakes that you made and inspect them. But there is no sense sitting around and thinking about them unless it is with a view on how you can do better in the future. Beating yourself up over things that have happened in the past is a sure path to failure.

Life is a journey. It is not a straight line from the point of beginning until you arrive at your destination. The best you can do is …, well, the best you can do. Everybody makes mistakes along the way. But when you are on the path and step in something objectionable, scrape it off your shoe, get back on the path, keep your eyes focused on the path ahead and keep moving. There is n o sense looking back at the place where you stepped in the mess. That is behind you.