A friend recently asked me, “How do you stay motivated to keep moving forward?”
I responded, “By looking BACK.”
You see, my past is my greatest teacher. It is also what gives me hope for a future. I believe that everything we experience in life is either a lesson or a blessing…and many times it’s both.
I used to feel like I didn’t really have anything valuable to contribute. I’d work tirelessly to prove myself. I acted tough. I worked towards becoming stronger, yet all the while, deep down I felt a deep insecurity. A lack of worth. I felt like all the struggles I’d faced in life made me unworthy of love or respect. I thought no one would want to hear what I had to share. I felt like a burden, so I never opened up. I never reached out.
And then someone said something that radically changed my perspective.
He said ” Why don’t you share your experience to help someone else? Even if you have one more day of experience than someone who just started today, you have a valuable nugget, or a glimmer of hope to share that could be helpful to them. “
This suggestion caused a shift in me. I began looking for ways to help others in the ways I had learned to help myself. I shared my insecurities more readily. I became vulnerable. And you know what happened? People began sharing more with me. Connections were made. Intimacy in my relationships grew. The story of my past became my greatest tool for inspiration and connection with others.
Today, I can look back and remember all my ‘firsts’ in life. I remember the first time I tied my shoes. When I first learned to drive. The first time I picked up a camera and all the challenges I faced while studying my craft. My first time falling in love. And my first heartbreak. I remember when I had my first spiritual experience and came to know my higher power. I remember the first time I felt true inner peace. When I take a moment to reminisce on these experiences, I realize how far I’ve come. How much I’ve been carried through. I realize how my experience can benefit others. And how God has led me and guided me all along. If I hadn’t lived through the experiences of my past, I would not have learned what I know now, nor would I appreciate my blessings to the depth that I do today. I now am able to share these gifts with others. This gives me a sense of purpose in life. And it gives me fulfillment to see others conquering their obstacles too. So the cycle of motivation continues as I continue offering myself up to serve others. As I step back and look at my life I clearly see that my greatest gift is my past. I look back…and I move forward.
So I’ll leave you with these questions to ponder:
- What experiences have you overcome that could benefit others?
- Are you using these experiences to empower your life, or to shrink?
- How are these experiences tied to your purpose in life?
- What is one thing that you could do today to reconnect with your purpose and to help others? —DO IT!