How To Learn from Yesterday

Today I want to talk about yesterday.

yesterdayWhy is yesterday important?  Because yesterday gives us experiences, learning and knowledge to apply to today and to create for our tomorrow.

Indeed, we are products of our past, but we don't have to be prisoners of it.

A friend of mine recently divorced her job and husband.  

After years of a career that wasn't taking her any where,  Anne decided to apply to pursue her dream of going to medical school. She needed more meaning in her work, challenge and growth.   It took a few tries to study for the test but she ultimately landed a seat.  When she approached her then husband to finance her education, he was reluctant, having her finance the school on her own.  They weren't hurting for money but he didn't take her seriously (or so he claimed.)    Just like any medical student does, Anne spent her nights and days studying for school, making whatever time she had left over to spend with her husband.

A few months went by and Anne noticed the distance growing between her and her husband.  She knew something wasn't right and tried to connect with him over and over.  Then, Anne's husband came home one morning and confessed he had been having an affair.  The marriage was over.  Anne packed her things and left.

What we learned later is how afraid Anne's husband was of how successful she would become. He was scared of her strength and ability to become something better.  She's someone who embraced her "yesterday" and made more out of her today and tomorrow.  I can't wait to see Anne grow into her new role.  It took courage and heart to make that happen.

A colleague of mine who's about to retire just started an amazing journey to becoming a healthier person.

The baby boomers are living longer and long gone are the days where people retire and do nothing.  A colleague of mine who has been leading and managing stressful projects most of her life recently took up hot yoga.  We had lunch yesterday and she was telling me about how her newfound exercise is now a big part of her day and that it's becoming her new way of life.  She told me she wants to live long and was tired of being unhealthy.  Sporting a new jawbone and a beautiful blue dress, my friend Jane is like a new woman.  She's poised to take yesterday's behaviors and change them so she can live tomorrow and onward.

Think about your yesterday.

What was it like?  Do you have something you want to change for the better?  You hear about people transforming their lives every day now.  I hold the personal belief we live in remarkable times.  We have more options today than before.  

There's a lot of research out there that suggests the past isn't a place you should explore.  I disagree.  I believe our past experiences shape the connecting-the-dots-steve-jobschoices we make in the present and into the future.  And why wouldn't we deal with yesterday?  Yesterday is what gets us to today and that's what poises us for tomorrow.

'You cannot connect the dots looking forward,' Steve Jobs.

Tomorrow you'll hear an amazing story of a colleague and friend of mine I met while at Shell.  Tim Wotton was handed a chronic sentence around his health.  Like many, he lived a quiet life and suffered for a while.  Then one day he emerged to begin the journey to tell his story.  He stopped letting yesterday define his today and tomorrow.  He re-wrote it.  You won't want to miss it, so visit tomorrow.

In the meantime, ask yourself what are you going to do to make today better than yesterday, and tomorrow better than all of the days?


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