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We just don’t know what to do with the past. We often refer to our past as baggage or heavy weight. The past and baggage tend to have a negative connotation, and often, we allow unfavorable events from the past to hold us back.

However, every piece of baggage in your life matters and is necessary for the journey of who you are intended to become. When leveraged correctly, your past can elevate you while warp-speeding your biz and life forward. Here are 3 things to consider when thinking about your past baggage, and how to leverage your past to fuel your future success.

1. Life Happens; Happen With It

Whether you are a meticulous planner or someone who simply takes things as them come, you cannot control what life will bring to you. All the smart decisions in the world cannot prevent bad things from happening, and avoiding challenges will certainly not save you from heartache and pain. We can control only a tiny fraction of what happens in our lives because so much is dependent on the choices of others. What you can control is how you react and respond to the challenges that come into your life.

In Chapter 2 of The Results Map for Women in Biz, Nicole K. Montez shares her emotional story of learning her newborn baby was born with a terminal disease. Most of us would want to curl up into a fetal position and cry when faced with such news, but Nicole allowed this experience to spur her forward to achieving more than she could have ever imagined.

2. Without the Past, You Have No Future

Are you the kind of woman who carries your past around like a backpack full of rocks that constantly slows you down? Or do you let all your past rocks go and move forward without them? The answer should be “no” to both. Your rocks are valuable and when properly understood, can be used to build a tower or a bridge to accomplish the goal you are trying to reach.

Often, it is our past that inspires our futures. You need to take on a different perspective from carrying baggage versus leveraging baggage, and this starts with awareness. Being aware of your thoughts and actions, as well as the good and challenging baggage. How will you leverage these experiences and lessons to your benefit? When times get tough and hard, don’t jump into reaction mode or go for the quick fix. Instead, stop, take a breath and walk through the opportunities in front of you to look for the long-term solutions. Often times we don’t realize the doors right in front of us that we can open immediately until we understand our past.

3. Leverage Lessons Learned

The key to moving forward is to not only understand your past baggage, but to learn from it. Whether you experienced a win or loss, success or failure, victory or defeat, what was the lesson? What could you have done differently or what did you do well that should be repeated? Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from others. We always want to think that we need no improvement but the truth is, without identifying our inefficiencies and failures we will never learn to be truly great. Don’t you want to become an even better version of who you are today? If your answer is yes, then understand that it will take trying new things, trusting in others, seeking out knowledge, and working on your own personal development.

Move forward the way you were intended. Leverage your baggage to work with you and for you, not against you, and allow your lessons to fuel your calling and purpose. The past is tricky, but when you leverage your heavy weight and learn from your past you will thrive in your future.

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