How often do we sacrifice being fully in the present moment because we are held back by some memory, regret or failure from the past?
Or how often do our present circumstances affect our ability to think about a bigger and brighter future?
These are questions and challenges that most of us face on a regular basis, and they can hold us back from furthering our personal growth and development.
So how can we think about these things differently?
Last week, I came across a podcast conversation that gave me a new lens to look at this challenge through, and I wanted to share it with all of you.
Make Your Future Bigger than Your Past
I’ve recently added a new ‘mentor‘, Tom Bilyeu, to my virtual circle of influence. He is one of the cofounders if Quest Nutrition and has so many incredible nuggets about leadership, growth, optimal performance and so many other topics.
While listening to one of his podcast episodes, I was hit with the following message that is changing the way I’m thinking about my goals and approach to my own present and future.
The message had two main parts (one being of a supportive nature and the other, a challenge) – both intertwined, and both incredibly important.
So let’s dig in.
The Supportive Element
The first half of the message expressed the sentiment that we are perfect just that way we are right now and are exactly where we need to be…
Yes, we’ve heard this before, but
a) do we actually believe it? and
b) do we recognize that our present is the direct result of our skills, circumstances, personal development and growth up until this point in our lives?
To be clear, this isn’t about being complacent with where we are.
Rather, this is about accepting that we are where we are based on our current level of development, and are hopefully giving ourselves credit for where we are and celebrating our current wins.
Too often, despite any wins we may have racked up, we look at our present and list off all the things that we didn’t accomplish or obtain.
Based on the sentiment above, what could be possible if we look at what we have yet to achieve as a good thing because we simply were not ready for that next level of success or opportunity?
So in short, celebrate where you are now as it is right where you need to be, which leads us to the next part of the equation.
The Challenge Element
The second part of the message is was really elevated the game for me:
Who you are today is insufficient for the future.
Wow… no B.S. or holding back punches there.
Hearing it the first time gave me chills.
Maybe it was just the moment I was in when I heard it – regardless, it lit a fire for me.
Something about pairing the idea that we are right where we need to be AND we must become better than we are today struck a powerful balance to help me think differently going forward.
The conversation went on to say that if you look back upon any given year and are no better off than you were at the start, then that year was essentially wasted.
Now, no one is saying that you have to upgrade every aspect of your life to not consider it a ‘waste’.
However, we must be clear what are most significant growth edges are, and put in the work to elevate our game in those areas.
Whether it is elevating our public speaking game, financial savvy, physical conditioning, parenting skills or something else, we must put in the work and get better.
Creating a Powerful Present and Focused Future
Navigating tensions like “right where you are vs. insufficient for tomorrow” and mantras like “1% better every day” keep me hungry and on my toes.
They set and reset the gauntlet and challenge for growth every day.
They keep me looking for new growth opportunities and ways to challenge myself.
Look in the mirror… that’s your competition.
The truth is, if we want to pursue our best self than your past can never be bigger than your future.
One more time… your past can never be bigger than your future.
Be grateful for all you’ve learned and accomplished to get to where you are and take the time to celebrate the wins – these will all create a powerful foundation and momentum to carry yo forward.
And also recognize that what works today won’t always work tomorrow, and that to keep ahead of our competition – even if we are currently on top – requires working harder and smarter than ever before. It requires a focus towards continuing to build upon your skills and abilities and challenging yourself to reach the next level, because there is always another level.
Stay humble, stay hungry, and never stop growing, and take your next step today towards building your bigger future tomorrow.
Discussion Question: How do we balance being at peace with who we are and what we’ve accomplished so far with remaining hungry to get better?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."