Good or bad, we all have a past. We’ve all experienced pain, sorrow, joy, guilt, humiliation, love, and a plethora of other emotions. We’ve grown and progressed throughout our lives and fought hard to get where we are today.

Sometimes, however, we find ourselves and our growth stunted by an inability to let go of the past. We allow concerns over the past and the fear of the unknown to hold us back from achieving all that we KNOW we are capable of in the future.

Letting Go of the Negative

We’ve all faced challenges and situations that we would rather forget. However, that’s definitely not always so easy. Overcoming obstacles is difficult, but we manage. The problem is that these experiences tend to stick with us far longer than we would ever hope. Setbacks and disappointments linger in our minds. They cause stress, self-doubt, and embarrassment to name a few.

Letting go of these situations can be difficult. No one can deny that. However, it is well worth the effort for peace of mind and the ability to finally move on to bigger and better things. Envy, self- loathing, anger, humiliation, betrayal, etc…all weigh heavily on us; and for sure keep us from realizing our full potential.

We often find ourselves worrying about what happened in the past. Why did that not work out the way I thought it would? Did I do something wrong? Did they do something wrong? What could I have done differently? Why did I take such a huge risk? Why does my friend/co-worker/family member etc… always have all the luck? Why do these things always happen to ME!??? And so on, and so on…

When we allow ourselves to become consumed with these thoughts and the pain and frustration that they bring, we inhibit our ability to think clearly and rise above the situations the way we could, if we simply decide to let go. It’s not easy by any means, and definitely not as simple as flicking a switch to turn off these memories and thoughts.

However, it’s not as difficult as one might think. The first thing you have to do is approach the situation with a certain level of maturity and wisdom. Rather than asking who is to blame or putting yourself down for a mistake, look at it as an opportunity for GROWTH.

What did you learn from this experience? How can you best use what you learned going forward to make the situation better and keep from making similar mistakes in the future? Can you take those experiences and use what you’ve learned from them to solve a common problem and keep others from facing similar setbacks?

We all make mistakes and have moments in our lives that challenge us and shake us up. However, that is NOT what defines us. The thing that defines us is our strength and our ability to rise above these challenges to make things better for ourselves and others.

Letting Go of the Positive

This may sound strange,  after all, why would anyone want to let go of the positive things in their life? Is that not what we all desire… happy memories, success, and a life well-lived? Of course it is, but it should not get to a point where the good things in life stunt your growth and keep you from pursuing better experiences, more success, and happier memories. we should always aspire to feel happy for sure, but should never settle either.

Negative experiences and situations are not the only factors which hold us back. Fear of the unknown can inhibit our growth as well. When things are going well, it can be difficult to let that go. We can see what lies ahead and what options we have, but the risks involved tend to hold us back from giving up what is GOOD for that which is GREAT.

You may have many thoughts running through your mind as you ponder the opportunities that lie ahead. What if I fail? What if I give all of this up for nothing? It’ll be gone, and then what will I have? Most of us have felt this fear, and especially entrepreneurs. Rewards can be tremendous, but so can the risks.

The problem is that when we allow this fear to consume us, we pull back and cling to what we already know and feel comfortable with, rather than pursuing opportunities that could be so much better for us. We stop growing, and therefore our businesses stop progressing.

Holding onto pleasant memories and being thankful for all that is good in your life is critical. Showing appreciation for the people and things that bring joy to your life is so important. The point is not to forget what shaped you and toss it aside. Rather, in my opinion, it’s about learning from your experiences, both good and bad, and using what you learned to move on to bigger and better things. Never hold back. Never stop taking risks and challenging yourself due to fear and doubt. Simply said, NEVER stop growing!

Pursue the Future You Want

No matter what it is that is holding you back, you can always let go and move on. Learn from it and use it as motivation to do better in the future, so that the negative experiences do not repeat themselves and positive experiences continue. Improve yourself, your business, and your life in general. Challenge yourself and take risks. If you continue pushing forward by letting go of the things that are limiting you, then you will find that the rewards always far outweigh any risks.

Chris Reichert

Chris Reichert is a Serial Entrepreneur, Startup founder, Author, Spoken Word & Martial Artist. Chris is a Columnist at Influencive.