On a recent trip to my parents’ home, I spent several hours sorting through two drawers full of memories. There were photographs of my sister and me that documented our time as infants all the way through college and into our adult lives. There were school class pictures and report cards. There were pictures of every Christmas tree we have ever decorated in that house since it was built. It’s strangely comforting to see the tree looked the same every year.
Several thoughts came to mind as I looked back through all of the images. First, I am reminded of how God has blessed me throughout my life. My story has been written in part by the meaningful relationships with family members, friends, teachers, coworkers and others. My parents have always surrounded me with love and a sense of adventure even when we didn’t physically travel far at all.
Second, I realize how much my story has been shaped by both the good times and the bad. My family has dealt with death, divorce and disappointment just like others. As the rough spots fade farther into the distance behind me, I realize how they are truly the “strength builders” in my life. My story would not the same without them. Third, I remember how important it is to stop and look back on our story. We all focus on living in the moment and planning for our future. Consider looking back every once in a while, if only to take stock of what defines you and realize how both the high and low points can motivate you to take the next step towards your goals.
I have always considered “moving forward” to be the best approach to take in my life and career. We are constantly reminded to “be present” in our relationships and experiences both at home and at work. After looking back through the memories at my parents’ home, I now will look back more often in both my personal life and career. The point is not to dwell on the past but to use the past to shape our future.