Everyone’s got a past.

Everyone’s got a past. It’s dotted with bad decisions and tough choices and one or two memories you wish you could erase forever.

But successful people understand that while their past shapes them, it does not define them. You went through what you went through on purpose, for a purpose. Without all of these milestones, you wouldn’t know what you know today or be who you are today. But if you lay in bed worrying about what you would do if your past suddenly interrupted your present, you’re only accomplishing one thing: losing sleep.

You can not control when or how or if the people and decisions of your past show up in this chapter of your life. But you can control how you respond to it if it happens. When you are confronted with the consequences of the actions of younger, dumber, less experienced you, you have two options:

Hide, avoid, and continue to give it power, or own it.

If you deflect, make excuses, avoid and deny your way through a resurgence of your past, you aren’t saving who you used to be; you’re sabotaging who you are. You’re working so hard to justify your history that you do not see it as an opportunity for future growth. We’ve all messed up. We’ve all gone through difficult situations, some of which were our fault and some of which were not.

And if the mistakes I’ve made in your past resurface, I say, “bring it on.” Here’s an opportunity to show the people who are watching me that I’m human, that I’m imperfect, that I’m accountable, and that I’ve changed. And if they can only focus on the failure instead of the progress, those aren’t my people anyway.

Stop believing the lie that your past is too dark, too bumpy, or too riddled with pain that it can not be redeemed for good. Stop worrying about what’s behind you and keep your eyes forward.

You will be successful because of your past, not in spite of it.

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