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Leadership Thought #449 – Are You Moving Forward Or Being Held Back?

September 18, 2013

Free Low-angle Photography of Atlas Statue Stock Photo

There is a famous saying that “If you aren’t moving forward, then you are heading backwards.” I completely agree.  There is no such thing as standing still in life, time moves forward regardless.  Too many of us spend too much energy stuck in our present circumstances or held back by our past.  There is nothing we can do about what has already happened.  All we can do is learn from it and strive to become a better person in the process.

In terms of the here and now, your attitude and efforts should always be geared towards positive ends.  Leave the negativity to others.  My mom often used to say, “Make the best of it, whatever ‘IT’ is.” As usual, her wisdom is a beacon of light that shines through my life.

Terrible things do happen to everyone.  Sad but true.  Not everything always works out as planned.  There will be career disappointments.  We all lose people we love.  Unfortunately, some love relationships can’t stand the test of time.  Just don’t wallow in your misfortune too long.

The good news is that good things happen as well.  There will be moments of sheer exhilaration.  You will bask in the love of others.  New friendships will emerge and blossom.  You will feel connected to other individuals in ways that make each of you a more vibrant person.  You will accomplish many tasks both big and small that make a real difference in your life and in the lives of others.

We must accept “the ups and downs” of life and always believe that when it gets hard, things can and will get better.  Avoid becoming a victim of circumstance!  When things are going well, do your best to appreciate the experience as the gift it is.  Remain humble and use this situation to build the better parts of your human nature to tap into later.

In my line of work, I get a front row seat to the lives of many other people.  This is always a privilege and never a one-way relationship.  I receive as much as I give.  I have witnessed personal tragedies and observed many career stumbles.  It is never easy to watch someone you care about struggle.  Many times, the most you can do is be there for them and listen.

What never ceases to amaze me is an individual’s capacity to weather whatever storm comes their way.  The most resilient people I know keep moving forward even if the daily progress seems painfully slow at first.  They realize that they are, as the poet David Whyte often espouses, “The architects of their own future happiness.”  While we are still alive, this design and building work is never done.

We cannot control many things in life.  However, what we can control is how we react to what happens.  The key is to keep pressing forward.  Every day is a chance to build or diminish your personal character.

Are you moving forward or being held back? The choice is yours.