I read this quote from Brian Tracy on Twitter yesterday: "It doesn't matter where you are coming from. All that matters is where you are going." I'm a big fan of Mr. Tracy. But, he's got it wrong this time.
I gather his point is that we shouldn't live in the past. We are on the same page with that one. But neither should we ignore it.
About 10 years ago, I launched out of a comfortable full-time career in television news and into the exciting but scary position of redefining who I was and what I was going to do my life. I wondered: "Where do I go from here?"
I began receiving speaking invitations. I accepted and found I had an affinity for sharing my story and inspiring others to take chances and pursue dreams. A door to a new beginning opened in front of me. I stepped through it and liked what I saw on the other side. But, it was only because of "where I had come from" that I have been able to continue to "get to where I was going."
I've found that the people who come to hear me speak want to know about the challenges life has presented and how I tried, succeeded, or sometimes failed, to meet those challenges. They want to hear that no matter how dark a place we may sometimes come from, a light will eventually shine. They want to know how to get over, under or around the life's hurdles. And they want to know what to expect on the other side.
You see, if none of us had difficult times in our past, we really wouldn't have much of a story to tell. If none of us had to struggle, we would never become stronger. If none of us had overcome, we would never be able to inspire others to do so. If none of us had loved... and lost... and found love again, we would not be able to offer hope of that to someone else who is hurting. If none of us had ever questioned our faith... but persevered and finally found it again... we couldn't help others find their way out of the darkness.
If you are having trouble seeing where you are going, I encourage you, at least momentarily, to look behind you. Where are you coming from?
What worked for you in that past? What didn't? What mistakes are you repeating? How can you stop from repeating them again? Who have you allowed into your life that shouldn't be there? Who have you kept out of your life that should be there? Have you let your fears keep you from going after your dreams? Have you gone after those dreams only to see them disintegrate because you didn't properly prepare? Did you come from an unhappy, abusive, impoverished, faithless, or loveless past?
It's okay. It's the past. But if you want to get to a better future, address that past. Discard what (or who) you need to, then get busy getting to where you're going.
And, when you get there, turn around... and see just how far you've come.