So I know it's been a hot minute, but I'm finally picking up where we left off in the Unlocking Your Full Potential series.
Before we jump into it, here's a refresher on the previous two steps: Finding Your Strengths and Shifting Your Mindset. It's important to establish your strengths and develop the proper mindset when working on achieving your goals. Especially because getting the life you want is going to take a lot of work and effort. There will be failures; there will be heartbreak; and you have to be secure in yourself to face these things.
Part of this, however, is being content in your present situation, and that's why the third step to unlocking your potential is learning to Live in the Today.
There are two sides to this: Moving on from the Past and Not Living in the Future.
Moving on from the Past.
We all have those memories that get shoved to the back of our mind and thrown into a box which is then locked and slammed into a closet. They might be embarrassing moments, foul things said or done to you or, perhaps, the horrible things you said or did to someone else.
They're the memories we pray never show up on our life's movie reel, and yet they're the ones that impact us the most.
Humiliating failures can suffocate us when we decide to try again.
Hurtful words or actions can paralyze us from trusting anyone new.
A regretful moment can make you feel like a horrible person and fill you with guilt forever.
Memories can be a painful thing, especially when we find ourselves in a similar situation that can trigger a past event. Some are more impactful than others; one event may only haunt you for a day or two, while the memory of something else can follow you for years. They can be the root of our own self-defeat and prevent us from fully embracing the life we've been given.
But you don't need to stay trapped in the past.
You deserve to be free of your past mistakes, regrets, and painful memories.
It's possible to work through some memories by journaling or talking with a friend. Others will require you to reconcile what happened with yourself or apologize to another person. And still, some of the more damaging past moments might require speaking with a professional.
It can be daunting, and I know from firsthand experience that it won't be easy. But it's worth it.
If you truly want to unlock your potential for your life, you can't let yourself remain in the shackles of the past.
Likewise, however, you can't skip too far ahead either.
Not Living in the Future
For a lot of people, life is super busy, messy, and sometimes very exhausting. It's easy to dream about the future and tell yourself that when you have *insert goal*, everything will be different.
When you get that high-paying position, you won't be anxious anymore.
When you get your dream partner, you won't be lonely ever again.
When you get a certain number of followers, you will feel like you matter.
But as we talked about in the Shifting Your Mindset section, your dreams or future accomplishments won't always make your problems go away. If you keep focusing on a future something that you don't have to fix everything, you won't ever be able to move forward in life.
Part of unlocking your potential involves honestly looking at where you are right now. You might not have the dream job, perfect house, or lifelong partner you wish for, but there are good things in your present. When you shift your focus to see what you do have and live in the moment, you will notice a major change in your life.
By taking charge of your today and living in it, you will see more progress. Put value in your present-day and stop waiting for that fairytale future day when everything will be perfect.
Life isn't perfect. Even if you get everything you want, you will still have some off days. And that's alright! It happens to everyone. But rather than bemoan the fact that you aren't having a Disney-level happily ever after 24/7, focus on the good, wonderful things you do have at the moment.
One of the ways that I help myself stay grounded in the present is by writing down a list of what I am thankful for. I just try to write three little things that I was thankful for each day, and that allows me to enjoy my present, even when it's not the most fun phase of my life. The smallest or most common thankfulness, like being able to watch the sunset or petting my dogs, can go a long way in helping me refocus on what I have right in front of me.
Sure I still like to daydream about the future and set goals for myself. But I'm not doing it at the expense of missing out on my 'Today'.
Yes, we need the future to look forward to, hope in, and motivate us to fight for our dreams. But we can't live in the future. Just like we can't be held down by our past.
We only have one life. Don't let it pass you by.
"Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."--Isaiah 43:18-19
"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."--Matthew 6:34