Living With What Is – Not What Was

This was wise counsel my mother shared with me after a disappointing situation happened to me last year; and these words continue to powerfully resonate when working with others as we face change.

Many of us find ourselves living in nostalgic memory of “what was,” rather than embracing what the present has to offer us. It could have been a simpler and happier time, a more prosperous position in our careers, or just greater clarity about what we were doing and why. Most of my clients are facing some sort of change: some who are facing possible retirement, enormous promotional opportunities, leadership shifts at the C-levels within their companies, and even personal tragedies which are forcing re-evaluation of their priorities. They find themselves longing for “what was” when things were clearer or perhaps just the comfort of the known versus the unknown.

I get it. I hear it every single day from at least one client. Many changes are our choice; others are forced upon us. Yet, one fact remains the same: we must learn to live and embrace what is now – not what was. A few perspectives to consider as we move into our new chapters:

* Change is the one constant, this we know for sure. Change brings growth if we change the lenses through which we view our new reality. This can be a fabulous, exciting and brand-spanking-new opportunity which we may not have even dreamed possible.

* It is not “all about us.” Ever. Giving back and contributing places the focus on others. This has always inevitably helped me realize we are all in this world together and it is simply not all about us. Volunteering with our hands and heart – rather than just writing a check – will always bring warmth and love. For me, this helps put things into greater perspective; especially when the ‘new’ seems overwhelming and scary.

* When we follow our passion – what we really love to do (not just the things that we are good at doing) – we find a new definition of success which resonates to our core. And, amazingly, most often what we love to do – we are actually good at doing!! So, when moving into a new experience, give yourself permission to do what you really love to do.

Won’t it be fun to see what transpires when we  begin to live and embrace what is versus what was?

6 responses to “Living With What Is – Not What Was

  1. Excellent counsel – a very timely reminder and one worth repeating as a mantra everyday. Thank you!

  2. I have had occassion to work with several individuals that have forms of mental illness. Though they are all different, the one constant is that they all live in the past and cannot look forward to new relationships and adventures.They are selfish and mentally stuck!

  3. Wow! I think you wrote this with me in mind (or am I having an “all-about-me-moment” again?!)! 🙂 This is an incredible reminder for me to live in the present and discover what I can learn and how I can contribute and add value every single moment of every single day. Thank you!

  4. Kristin, I think you would enjoy Suze Orman’s recent book, “The Money Class.” I found it to be quite inciteful and thought-provoking. The premise is that whatever “was” is gone, and it is your personal responsibility to redefine what will be “Your American Dream” going forward. The title may make you think of “class” like “social class,” however, the book is actually a learning class with web interactivity. Rachel

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