How to let go of the past so you get a clear path to your future


Let others know how you feel

In my last blog, I asked you to clean up things from 2014: do the things you promised to do or wanted to do or get them off your list.

Getting those chores, tasks, and projects off your mind and off your perpetual to-do list will go a long way to clear your way for success. Either do those things or finally cross them off your list as things that will never get done.

One major thing I didn’t talk about in that blog was conversations. This can be a delicate topic, one filled with emotion.

The conversation might be one you should have had a long time ago: telling loved ones they are loved. Maybe you’re not so good at that. Maybe you assume they know it. Do yourself — and them — a favor: suck it up and call them, email them, text them, tell them.

You might think this isn’t something to do over impersonal technology. At this point, I’m not a stickler for form. The important thing is to do it. You can do it better next time.

The conversation might be one you should have had a long time ago: apologizing to someone for a misunderstanding, an ill-chosen word you slung in their direction, for belittling anger you bludgeoned them with. Do yourself — and them — a favor: suck it up and call them, email them, text them, tell them. Apologize.

You can dig in your heels and remain stubborn for years, losing valuable time with someone you’re actually very close to or very fond of. Put your pride to the side and have the conversation. Your assumptions about the squabble may be wrong. Your conclusions about that person may be wrong.

Or you may actually open the door allowing the other person to apologize for something they’re responsible for.

You may be tempted to ask, “Well, what if the other person wants no part of it?” Great. You made your choice to reach out and did what you could do. Remember, this isn’t necessarily about the other person, it’s about you getting off your own back, it’s about you clearing the way to get to your success.

Years ago, I wrote an email to my 11 siblings saying I wanted to know if there was anything I needed to apologize for. Had I ever said or done something that was hurtful or offensive that they were still hanging on to? I told them I was willing to discuss anything and apologize if it turned out I needed to.

I didn’t receive any responses.

There’s one thing to be clear about: ultimately, that exercise was about me. I wanted to resolve any negative emotion that may have been lingering between me and the people closest to me so that I could go on to pursue my success without carrying any heavy emotional baggage from the past.

If the lack of response was because they were too buried in their hurt to talk about it, that wasn’t my responsibility.

Having the difficult conversation isn’t about being strong or being weak. It’s not about being right or being wrong. It’s about clearing the way of obstacles so you can reach success.


About Joe Serio

Dr. Joe Serio is a keynote speaker, trainer, and author who helps the people in your organization navigate resistance to change so they can move forward successfully.

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