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4 Reasons to Throw Away Your Past

4 Reasons to Throw Away Your Past

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Throw Away PastIt’s a new year, and as the old saying goes, “Out with the old and in with the new.”

My question to you is: Will you make the smart and bold decision to make that your career mantra in 2012?

Your Past is Hurting You

Why do we hold on to the past? Especially, when it comes to our careers? I am constantly amazed at how many unhappy professionals cling to the events of their past as some type of cast-in-stone career story. More importantly, these same folks assume the past now has some hold over their future.

Wrong. Here are four reasons why you should throw out your past right now!

Reason #1 – So You Can Stop Letting it Control You

Your past only affects your future when you let it. If you are going to assume things can’t be changed or improved because of what’s happened in your career, well then, give up now. The reality is people change the course of their careers every single day… and it starts with not assuming the past controls the future. Just ask J.R. Martinez.

Reason #2 – If You Don’t, Others Will Beat You

When you cling to past glories and achievements, you give other folks who are smart enough not to rest on their laurels a chance to pass you. Just ask Pete Cashmore, founder of Mashable.com. In this article, he makes a brilliant quote:

“I don’t have any personal challenges about throwing away the past. If you’re not changing, you’re giving others a chance to catch up.”

Reason #3 – The Story You Tell isn’t Accurate

As humans, we interpret our past based on our feelings and viewpoints. We rationalize, and in some cases, irrationalize what happened as a way to justify the experiences. In short, we see what happens to us in a very biased way – and that means the career stories we tell in our heads about the past aren’t necessarily accurate.

Let’s face it: We all have at least one story in our professional past where we feel we were the victim. And you want to know something? That’s the story holding you back from making progress.

Why?

Because it’s the bad stories we remember as painful that dictate our actions. As humans, we are conditioned to avoid pain. So, in an effort to do so, you stop taking chances and making bold moves because you don’t want history to repeat itself. And yet, if you read The Flinch by Julien Smith, you’ll learn running from pain is exactly what’s keeping you miserable.

Which leads to the most important reason you should dump your past ASAP…

Reason #4 – It Frees You Up to Write a New-and-Improved Version

In my experience, it’s better to let the story go so you can free yourself up to write a new, better story in the future. As a career coach, a big part of my job is to help people make peace with their professional past. I have to get them to let go of their career story so we can move forward without roadblocks.

Trust me. Hanging on to the past is like having a big rope tied around your waist – and the other side of the rope is tied to an elephant. You won’t be going anywhere fast in your career until you untie yourself.

Your Next Step

School teaches you everything except how to get the job. You must invest time in learning the right way to job search.

I just finished four new training videos for you – they’re all about executing an easier job search in this economy.

My videos are completely free and I’m confident you’re going to find them useful. The link to access the first one is below.

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

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J.T. O'Donnell Job Search & Career Expert. Syndicated Speaker & Author. Wife. Mother. CEO of CAREEREALISM Media. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.