Focusing On Past Perceived Mistakes

Written by Meredith Kimmel

January 15, 2020

This morning a friend who is thinking about seeking new employment texted me letting me know that a job she was interested in was filled by someone else.  This friend has had a trying few weeks and was greatly disappointed.  I put on my caring friend hat, and gave her the support and encouragement that I thought she needed. 

As the text conversation progressed, I realized that I needed to take off the caring friend hat and put on my professional coach hat.  The turning point in the conversation was when she texted me “I just still get angry over the decisions I made.  Because obviously I picked the wrong ones.”

Immediately, my internal alarm went off and I said, I need to do a blog post on this topic, probably several blog posts. The first question I texted to her was “What will dwelling on the past do for you?” I then said “Release it and move on”.  It clicked and she was well aware that dwelling on the past had no benefit to her.  She quickly changed her mindset and became proactive about figuring out her next steps.

I, like may others, have been guilty of focusing on past perceived mistakes.  For what purpose? I can’t change the past.  I don’t have a time machine.  Not yet anyway. All I did was waste A LOT of time on “coulda, shoulda, and woulda”. I then worked very hard to stop focusing on my past perceived mistakes. 

Sounds simple. All you need to do is change your mindset and figure out how you can be proactive to change your future.  It may sound easy, but there is plenty of work involved.

I am a true believer that the past puts on you the right path to where you want to go.

I am a believer that mistakes and failures make you who you are today.

I believe that the past can be a great teacher. 

I also believe that at that time, in the past, you made the best decision for yourself. 

We don’t have crystal balls, not yet anyway (crystal balls and time machines, that would be nice).  That is why I call them past perceived mistakes, because they weren’t mistakes at the time.  However, my beliefs only work if I honor my past and use its teachings to move forward.  Saying “I should have done this”, or “I wish I can change that” are just a waste of time and energy. 

Instead, I say honor your past.  Thank your past perceived mistakes for their teachings, and use your new knowledge to move forward.  The silver lining…you have a bunch of new tools in your toolbox of life.

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