Leadership Tips: You Can’t Move Forward When You’re Always Looking Back
I was seventeen years old and driving to my summer job in Queens, NY. Unfortunately, I was not paying very close attention to the traffic around me. I looked in the rear view mirror to check things out and – Wham! – It happened. The traffic ahead of me quickly stopped and I ran into the back of a nice new Cadillac. There wasn’t a lot of damage, just a broken tail light. I remember it cost $149.00 to repair. That’s not much money today, but back then I was making $1.60 an hour. It was a big financial hit. I learned a valuable lesson that day. You can’t drive forward in life looking in the rear view mirror.
The apostle Paul wrote that he did not consider himself to have arrived spiritually, but he lived, “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,” (Philippians 3:13, ESV).
Forgetting does not mean we use some sort of giant mental eraser that wipes all recollection of past events from our mind. Forgetting means we do not allow people, events, and situations from the past to control us in the present.
To live effective and enjoyable lives, we can’t waste any more time on yesterday. We need to forget, (meaning not be controlled by our past hurts). We need to stop carrying the baggage of fear, resentment, or bitterness into present activities and relationships. We need to forget our failures. Too many of us have stalled in life because we continue to rehearse what God long ago has forgiven and forgotten. We can’t go forward when we spend our energies beating ourselves up over the past.
Leadership Tips: Reasons for Leaders to Forget the Past
- Forgetting the hurts of the past invites personal healing
- Leaders need to have vision, which involves looking forward rather than backward
- Letting go of the past offers peace, which allows for a clear head in leadership
- Not clinging to what’s been said enables healthier relationships
- Leaders letting go of the past set an inspiring example for those they lead
Maybe it is time for you to make peace with your past. What memory do you need to let go of in order to live your present life more effectively? What help do you need to get in order to resolve your past?”
God has a good plan and purpose for you. Don’t miss its delights because you are stuck in the memories of the past. Keep looking forward, not backward!
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