Global Leadership Speaker and Premier Work-Life Balance Speaker
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Stop tripping over what is behind you…

Here’s a powerful quote: “Only a fool trips on what is behind him.” I saw it on Facebook last night and had to write it down.

There certainly are a lot of fools tripping on yesterday, and there’ve been many times when I’ve foolishly joined them.

You certainly can empower your past to paralyze you or let it go. Yesterday holds all the things that didn’t go right, the people who didn’t do right, the disappointments and failures and close calls and hurts that we haven’t quite been able to pack up and leave behind. We revisit and revisit them, or we can let them go.

What if we were able to consciously make the decision to let go of the negatives of yesterday and move on with a clean slate? Wouldn’t we position ourselves for a much better “RIGHT NOW”? Wouldn’t that give us the momentum we need to move forward in happiness and hope? If you are lacking that momentum, you have to realize that you have the power to create it for yourself.

When my father was a little boy, he and his sister were sent from Germany to live with strangers in England as part of the Kindertransport. My grandfather was in a concentration camp. My grandmother had to find a way to get my grandpa out (which she did),  re-unite with my dad and his sister, then move their once-wealthy family to Staten Island, N.Y. where the four of them lived in a one room apartment.

I only know sketchy details of the story because my aunt shared them with me. Dad rarely discussed his past, instead saying, “Look what I have right now! Look what is coming tomorrow!” I used to wonder if he was living in denial, but I now know that he was living his life, not reliving his past. When my mother was paralyzed by a stroke at age 66, Dad always said, “She’s alive!” and when things got difficult, he always said, “Better days are coming.” When the Alzheimer’s came, he kept his same hopeful approach to life. No matter how bleak it seemed to others, those two had a joyous love that was so evident every day. It was a real love story.

It may look like my dad lived a sad life of trauma and hardship, but if you knew him, you would say the opposite. He was a man who experienced so much happiness and hope because he never tripped on what was behind him. He chose to focus on the light around him in the present and the future, rather than lamenting the darkness of his past.

I know people who never get over the marriage that crumbled, the job that they were unfairly fired from, the friends who weren’t really friends, the things that inevitably went wrong. Does reliving the past make you more successful or more anxious?

When you catch yourself tripping over your past, shut it down. Remember that quote. “Only a fool trips on what’s behind him.” Or her. Stop playing the fool.

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