All too often, people launch into a new season, new year, or new business with the intent to write out new goals but they forget to take time to learn from their former years of knowledge. Instead, they sit down and write out WHAT they want to accomplish, but fail to see the stepping stones of their past. I call this “head in the sand” goal setting. Why? Because much like sweeping trash under a rug and declaring your home “clean” and ready for guests, many people sweep past issues, behaviors or modalities under the rug thinking they can move jobs, change locations, or create new relationships and get new results. The challenge, however, is that no matter where you go, THERE YOU ARE.
The second reason LOOKING BACK is vital to your success is because your STORY holds clues to your destiny.
Today, I want you to dig deep and DON’T AVOID THE PAST….LEARN FROM IT!
Whether you realize it or not, YOU are the common ingredient to your problems and challenges and YOU will be the biggest KEY to your success.
So in order for things to change, YOU must change. DON’T GET BITTER…GET BETTER!
It’s like the making of my Granny’s famous chocolate cake. The ingredients are what makes her cake so delicious. Everything is from scratch and no one really knew the recipe process until she was 90 years old. That’s when I became heir to her recipe and equally responsible to figure out her process to blending them to perfection. My first attempt was hilarious on many accounts. Not only did I botch the icing, which was a mammoth process, but I also learned that making a cake is a lot like the making of a great leader. It was Christmas Eve when I decided it was time to take the challenge to create her masterpiece. As I laid out each of the ingredients, my son, Payton, decided he would help in a precious way only a 11 year old could. He climbed up on the counter and quickly saw the cocoa. Thinking it was chocolate, he reached into the container with a spoon and stuck it into his mouth. That day, he quickly realized that cocoa and chocolate are NOT the same. In fact, cocoa by itself is extremely bitter and nasty tasting. Thinking that was funny, I encouraged him to taste the baking soda, which he also spewed out of his mouth.
Payton learned that day, that individual ingredients, by themselves, can be really bitter, much like the ingredients it takes to make a great leader. Whether it’s the bitter pain of failure, abuse, financial setbacks or incredible loss, every ingredient God allows into our life serves a purpose in creating sweet victory over time.
Your past may be filled with successes and sweet victories, but chances are, you also have some pretty bitter cocoa experiences, as well. The key to speeding up the process of turning your story in to a masterpiece is to use those bitter ingredients to make you better in leadership effectiveness. By looking back over your life, you can begin to recognize the patterns that can lead to greater purpose and potential. For example, if you have a string of broken relationships that seem to end in the same resolve, don’t keep making the same mistakes, hoping they change. Instead, look back to identify behaviors that you can extract wisdom from to help propel you to better results in the future. You can keep moving from job to job or relationship to relationship, but no matter where you go…..there YOU are. Until you make true SHIfT HAPPEN on the inside, you can’t expect better results on the outside.
When SHIfT HAPPENED in my life, everything changed. I began to connect the dots, look for the patterns, search for new perspective until finally, I hit the reset button and changed my behaviors. I stopped being bitter over people who had mistreated me and started realizing that they were actually blessings to my personal growth and development. I stopped crying over business failures and began to grow from them and create success. I allowed my story to make me better instead of remaining bitter.
That is also when I began using the past to empower my future. It was as if the construction zone of my life was lifting and a clear passage way was made for my passions to flow. My relationships changed, my expectations changed, my desires changed and eventually my results changed. Suddenly, my story became a resource of relevance to connect and relate to others on a level of passion instead of power. I realized that my brokenness tenderized the hearts of others so that greater trust could be formed.
With my pedigree of success, I could appeal to their ideal self and provide leadership they could trust. I became more strategic than ever and made calculated business decisions that led to greater increase. I shifted from a weak wanna-be-leader into a thought-provoking communicator that could help leaders connect the dots in their own lives.
As my life evolved, whether I was singing for presidents, speaking with world leaders, or playing second chair to a corporate executive, the pattern stayed the same in that my talent made room for me to get positioned to make impact. God positions me in some of the most extraordinary circumstances, not to boost my ego, sell products or win trophies. Instead, He positions me with brilliant, talented, powerful leaders that need SHIfT to happen in their lives or business.
Take a look at your story. Have you allowed yourself to turn the ingredients of your past into a masterpiece for God to use in the future?