Looking Back to Move Forward

We kinda suck at seeing how far we've come. 

Recently, I was surrounded by all the boxes, bins, riff raff and mess of clearing out my house to prepare it for sale, and could not see any progress. Two and a half months after we started, I felt like I had been working non-stop and we were NEVER going to be done. I was exhausted, I was defeated, I was frustrated, I was angry. In one final push, forced by an upcoming visit from my realtor, we cleared the whole house out, and in that last 15 minutes I saw all that we had done over the course of the past 10 weeks. It had been entirely unclear to me before then. The items were being checked off the list, but I couldn’t see it, couldn’t feel it. It was as if I was getting nowhere.

And then, in an instant, all the progress was apparent. It was like a blindfold had been lifted off. I looked around startled and realized just how very much we had accomplished. It was glorious.

And then it was gone.

So much more to do.

On to the next thing.

Pause. Rewind.

So many times my clients accomplish everything they’ve set out for themselves and it’s still not enough. They want more. Of course they do. We all – even the most content among us – want more. That’s not selfishness or lack of gratitude; that’s being human.

But in always looking ahead towards the more, we miss out on a crucial tool towards getting us there.

Celebrate your accomplishments.

Recognize what you have done today, yesterday, this past week that has moved you forward towards where you want to be. Even if your progress has been reflecting on where you want to be and is not a to do list “action” item. Reflection is action. So, celebrate it! 

And then, go ahead and zoom out even more.

Look at how very far you’ve already come.

Think of a time in the not so distant past, maybe a year ago, five years ago, maybe even further back. Reflect on all that has happened that has brought you from there to here, how different you feel than you did then, what you have invited into your life, the conversations you’ve initiated or opened yourself to, the chances you’ve taken.

I was proud that we had gotten the house ready. I high-fived my husband and took myself out for a coffee. Hurrah.

But if I looked back, really looked back, at all that had brought me to this moment, my perspective shifts immensely. A year ago, I was terrified of broaching the conversation about moving, even though it felt like the very best thing for our family, but I knew my husband wouldn’t be too thrilled with the idea. And here we are now, BOTH excited about this next step. Take it back even further, to the five beautiful years that we spent in this home, loving every inch of it, meeting some of the dearest friends of our lives, knowing that we were living the absolute dream of New York (with kids no less!). Before that, to the outrageous demands I made to my realtor asking for three bedrooms, two bathrooms, outdoor space, close to the subway, proximity to nature, laundry onsite, and then, holy shit, actually getting it. Before that, to the two previous wonderful homes that my husband and I created for ourselves in Brooklyn and Manhattan, full of friends and family and good food and music and laughter and kittens. Before that, fifteen years ago now, to taking a chance with my then boyfriend to move to NY for what we called a “three-year experiment,” even though I had sworn never to live again in the city after spending my college years in NYC. And back, and back, and back.

Guys, I’m not going to lie. It feels indulgent and self-centered and a little embarrassing to think back and outline all this for you. Even to do it for myself.

But it also makes me feel all tingly on the inside. Because while it’s clear that I’ve lived a blessed life, no question, I’ve also played a pretty steady hand in getting me to where I am right now.

Which totally changes the way I look at what’s ahead.

Knowing how very far we’ve already come is powerful fuel in propelling us forward. Don’t miss out on it.

Think about what lies ahead for you:
What are your goals?
What has brought you to this moment?
What is it about you that has made all this possible?
What of that do you choose to bring to this next step in your life?