Stop Allowing Past Career Experiences Dictate Your Future Career Success

Is your career success held hostage by your past career experiences?

Are your past career experiences holding your future career success hostage?  (Several locks attached on a fence)
Is your past holding your success hostage? |Photo by Swati Kedia on Unsplash

Have there been opportunities you have not pursued because a past experience has you second-guessing yourself?

This is why you should move on from the past. Because the past can affect darn near every aspect of your life if you don’t let go.

Don’t get me wrong, there is inherent value in the past. The wealth of lessons learned from your experiences have been instrumental in getting you to where you are now. But focusing on the past can be detrimental to your present and future. Here’s why:

What’s bad about concentrating on the past?

Fixating on the past in a negative or a positive way is destructive to you and your ability to move forward with your life. For example, let’s explore holding grudges. Holding on to a particular moment or event in the past due to a negative experience stunts your emotional and mental growth.

The more you focus on the past, the less attention you can allocate to what’s happening in the present. Let’s say you’re fixated on a particular positive event from the past because it felt good. The problem is that you are so focused on that past event that you have trouble recognizing and celebrating new positive events because you’re still looking for the feeling you’ve had with the former event.

You run the risk of comparing everything to that one “perfect” event.

This fixation can lead to negative outcomes on your future. One, the more you focus on the past, the less you witness the present. You may have a tendency to miss special occasions or important events. You move through life in a more distracted manner.

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And, worst all, you stunt your growth.

How can focusing on the past dictate your future?

Focusing on the past can manipulate how you see present moments. It can distract you during events you would otherwise be fully immersed or cause you to compare them to another moment from which you cannot move.

These fixations can cause you to turn down new career opportunities either because you’re afraid the opportunity cannot compare to the past experience or you want to hold on to the familiarity of your previous job. Focusing on the past can negatively affect every decision you make and dictate your future.

How do you stop focusing on the past?

The first step toward ending this behavior is to make the decision to let it go. Yes, it is easier said than done, but you must be intentional. Consciously decide to resolve the past to successfully release the past. Letting go of past situations will allow you to finally move forward with your life. Depending on whether the past event was positive or negative, here are some tips on how to let go:

Letting go of a positive past event

If you’re fixated on a positive past event, letting go isn’t the same as holding onto a grudge. In this sense, letting go is to stop comparing other events to this one. It doesn’t mean that you have to forget the moment, but it does mean that you mindfully experience every new moment, rather than comparing and being distracted by such occasion.

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Letting go of a negative event

If you’re holding onto a negative situation such as a grudge, letting go means forgiving the person and moving on from the event. This can be very difficult, but the only person that can put an end to your holding onto the past is you. You have to be the one to forgive, let go, and move on.

Otherwise, you’re only hurting yourself.

You deserve to experience everything that life has to offer. You’re not able to do that when you are suspended in time by a past moment that keeps you from being present in your life and career. Stay mindful of the present; being grateful for where and who you are now.

Each season has its own purpose. What is right for one season, is wrong for another season. For instance, a coat is needed to keep warm in the winter but would be horrendous in the summer. Just as winter sleeps and prepares earth for growth, your past did its job to prepare you for the next season in your life. Let the past rest and enjoy the renewal of opportunities in your life and career.

Your future depends on it.

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