“Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.” It’s one of those ubiquitous inspirational quotes that shows up on mugs and home decor.
But with all due respect to Ms. Engelbreit, sometimes looking backward is exactly what you need to do. It’s the only way to see how far you’ve come. And seeing that progress can boost confidence to help you achieve goals you’ve set for the future.
When I realized I needed a Boost in Confidence
Recently, I was feeling overwhelmed by the distance between what I’m doing now and what I’d like to do. It seems an impossible length to travel. Today, I’m a little-known (*gasp*) indie author who has sold just over 1000 books in my career. I’d like to 10x that number, just for starters.
Today, I visit local schools to talk to students about writing. I’d like to become a paid speaker, so I can inspire more kids more often.
When I look forward to all that, I think, There’s no way I can get that far. This is the best that I can do.
And then I turn around and look back.
Looking Back Provides Perspective
This is me, more than five years ago. I was in my happy place, at an immersive art exhibit that had a candy bar!
Sometimes I look back a that young woman and consider all the things she didn’t know she was capable of:
- supporting herself financially
- building a six-figure business
- starting a podcast
- editing a fundraising anthology
- working with executives and authors
- publishing 4 novels
- founding a publishing house
I look at her and I wish I could write her a letter that says:
“It’s hard right now, but you can do this. Yes, it’s going to feel impossible, until one day it doesn’t. You’re going to think you have no idea how to do it, until one day you realize you already are. The obstacles will seem insurmountable, and then suddenly you’ll be standing at the summit adoring the view. You can. You will. You are. Keep going.”
She can’t read that letter, because she is more than five years in the past. She is as distant from me now as the woman I will be five years from today.
But looking back, I can see her. She’s so certain that this is the best that she can do. So sure that she has no idea how to move forward. But she does, she did. I did.
And if she can do it five years in the past. I can do it now.
And so can you.