Episode 34: The Past Has Nothing to Do with Future Potential

Join me this week as I break down how and why the past (and all your past evidence) has absolutely nothing to do with your future, and all the potentials and possibilities in your future.

You’ll learn:

  • How and why the past and future and unrelated
  • How to pay attention and tap into the wisdom and feedback your body is always offering you
  • A house renovation metaphor – would you redo your future homes to look like your past house? If no, then stop defining your future by your past!
  • Exactly how to orient (and reorient) yourself to your future

If you want to learn how to make your passion project idea a REAL THING, click here and sign up to get the Creative Momentum workbook. You’ll learn how to plan your passion project in seven easy steps.

If you enjoy listening, please subscribe, rate and review, and forward this episode to a friend who would benefit from it too.

Let’s become a generation of creative women who are examples for the people in our lives of what it looks like to prioritize our work (AND recognize our impact).

x, Jen

Full episode transcript below:

Welcome to today's episode. The Past Has Absolutely Nothing to Do with Future Potential. I should say your past has absolutely nothing to do with what's possible in your future, but that's a longer title. 

Without knowing this, we will always look to our past to see what's possible for us, what we can have, do, be, create, et cetera.  But I want you to think about it, what does the past really have to do with what's possible or what you're capable of creating in your future? How are they actually related? 

The answer, I think, is very little, and they aren't related.

What happened in the past- your learnings, heartaches, lessons, peak experiences, all of it gets to be composted into wisdom. We get to take all of that with us and use it as a solid foundation to launch into the next iteration of who we are becoming.

All of that is true,  AND your past does not define your future possibilities and potential. The vision you have of yourself a little bit into the future, I'm guessing that she, he, or they, are not related to who you were in the past, right? None of us daydreams about our future selves and sees where we've been, who we've been, or the limitations we feel.  There's just no way!

We look towards our future selves with anticipation. What might be possible for them? What have they figured out? Where are they? 

And I don't know about you, but I feel excitement in my body when I think about this, and I do not feel that same lit up, excited feeling when I see my future potential constrained by my past. This is really important information. Our bodies are offering us wisdom and guidance all the time, and we just need to tune in and listen, and this is a perfect example of that. 

The best metaphor I can think of for this concept, which is pretty on the nose for my life in the past few months, is a house renovation. When you go to renovate a house, yes, you look at the bones, you look at the structure, and what is already existing. That's akin to the wisdom I mentioned a minute ago. The learnings, the physical limitations of the existing structure,

So all of that, and you don't plan on renovating a house and make it look exactly like it looked before. That sounds really silly to say that out loud, but that is akin to how we make plans for ourselves and we look into our past to define what's possible in our futures.

No one would do that, and I think everyone would agree that that would be a poor investment.

So, then, with something as precious as your one life, why would you continue to look into the past to decide what's possible for you?

 You can take this a little bit further and even compare the analogy of a house to your body. So let's say that you having a body is like buying a house for life, right? I mean, it houses you, there's certain things that everyone deals with, and certain quirks about having a body.  And with time and experience, and wisdom, you probably want to change things about yourself. Maybe your appearance, your health, make different choices about what you're putting into your body.  .  You may also choose to work on your mental health. You may choose to work on family systems stuff. You might choose to do energetic work. There's so many ways that you may choose to support, engage, change your body, both your physical body but also your emotional, your spiritual body over time. 

The same can be said for a house. No one would commit to buying a house, owning it for life and renovating it every few years and making it look exactly the same, you're just replacing things and putting the same versions of what was there, but just new, back in place.

And then to take this one step further, that would be like looking into your future and what you're feeling called to create, and looking into the past for what you've already done, and then just kind of copy and pasting it. Maybe it looks a little different, but we're kind of taking the past and copy and pasting it into the future.

That's what we're going to do by default, unless we know differently. But what I'm offering here is that you don't have to keep doing it that way.  You don't have to keep looking into the past to decide what's possible in your future, because they're actually not really related. They're two totally different things.

  I don't wanna make this too complicated, this analogy or this metaphor, but  the last thing I'll say about this, because clearly I have a lot of thoughts, is that would be like you decide to sell your current house and you buy a different house, and then you renovate that to look exactly like what your last house looked like.

That's the same process of going into your future, and then looking into your past  to decide what's possible, and then just like pasting it into the future.  That would be like renovating every house to look like your current house for the rest of your life. 

You could do that if you wanted to, right? It actually might be kind of like a quirky, funny thing to do, to renovate every house to look like your past house, but what I'm offering here is that that's not the only way, and that's not the only choice that you have.

 And I wanna say here that you likely did not know this before listening today, or maybe you didn't know this before listening today. So there's no need to self-attack or self-blame here. That's that's not what I'm suggesting.  This is new information that you get to use, to incorporate, and to work from. And it will very likely feel uncomfortable at first, and that is okay. 

 Your work will be to reorient to where you want to go, and where you feel called to go, rather than to continually look over your shoulder in the past for self-protection.

The underlying context here is, or maybe even it's a catch 22, is that suffering is part of being alive. We cannot avoid it, even when we work really hard too. So you can experience suffering in pursuit of your callings, and what really matters to you, or you can experience it in working really hard to protect yourself and doing what you know works, that might be the past. But it isn't really satisfying anymore, and it's not fulfilling this future vision that you're feeling called to, that you're feeling pulled to. And the bottom line is that it doesn't work, right. 

You're gonna suffer whether you're in pursuit of something- going towards your future or whether you're looking to your past to try to recreate it, with the subtext being you're trying to re-create what you know works, and therefore you think it will avoid suffering.   

 If we keep digging, I think that we find roots of why we're past oriented. Well, first our brains are wired that way. But secondly, I think it's to avoid suffering, right? I think it's to protect us, the pursuit is to try to avoid pain.

But if we can accept that that's not realistic, that's not part of life, then it's like a hall pass or a permission slip to say, to really feel in your body, okay, part of life is suffering.

And if I'm not working so hard to avoid that, I may not be as bound to my past and recreating what was in my past. And therefore I'm gonna orient more towards my future, and be in pursuit of creating that.    And everything I feel called to do.    

And this can totally be an experiment. You can try this for a week or a month or something like that. You don't have to commit to this for the rest of your life, I'm not suggesting that. I want you to try it and see if it works for you, right? This is what I've discovered, and these are my opinions. I would never want you to take those on without putting them through your own  internal filter system.      

  I think that's where I'll leave it today.  I would suggest trying this on, seeing how it feels in your body, like I said a couple minutes ago, your body's always sending you cues and signals about what feels true for you and what feels right for you. And it's okay if something feels shaky, but you still feel safe and you feel regulated. That's actually a great place to be. That's like the growth edge, but I'm not suggesting doing something that feels wrong in your body. 

So I think I'll leave it there. Try this on. See what it's like to orient into your future. Notice the pulls to go into the past, and to compare, and to look for resources there. And then your work is to reorient into the future.      Where am I going? What am I feeling called to? Can I feel 1% more comfortable today with the unknown, with the discomfort of not knowing exactly how I'll get there, but just doing what I know to do right now. Just taking one step at a time. 

That's what I have for you today. I am so glad that you are here and that we get to walk our paths together. See you next time. Same time, same place. Bye for now


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.