To Stay Positive, Look Ahead — Not Back

To Stay Positive, Look Ahead — Not Back

In a recent post, I told you that I am making some major changes in my professional life. This is as good a time as any to let you know that I have resigned from my work at the university. My last post on the other blog is on December 22nd, less than a week from now.

I wrote the words below, initially, to fit this month’s theme at that blog. Later, I decided that I wanted these words to be here, since this is where I live now. I hope they encourage you. This is where I want to be: with my face to the future and all that awaits. I hope you’re with me.

Sometimes we get really comfortable with the way things are.

Even if things are not all that we would want them to be, we get attached to sameness, routine, and consistency. Within organizations, some of us really want to maintain the status quo.

Inevitably, those of us who like things the way they are get upset when things change. When this happens, we wish for the way things were. We do this even when the way things were wasn’t even that great.

We idealize the best parts of the past, and minimize the worst parts.

We can’t see the good in front of us— the future— because our faces are turned back, toward the past.

As a result, we get depressed. Or angry. We cry, or we rant.

Is this you?


The only way to stay positive in the midst of change is to look ahead, not back.

The future, one of unlimited possibilities and potential, is waiting for you.

Go for it!

Tell me something! How do you stay focused on the future?

Filed As:  change, the future

About Becky Robinson

I am the owner of Weaving Influence and the leader of the Weaving Influence team. We help authors and thought leaders grow their online influence. I am also a wife and mom of three daughters, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, a good cup of coffee, and dark chocolate.

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What People Are Saying

  • Great post – a number of important messages for all of us here Becky. Your line “We idealize the best parts of the past, and minimize the worst parts” is true – AND – we tend to idealize the present too. Without any dissatisfaction (or denial about it) keeps us from moving forward.

    I stay focused on the future, and encourage others to do the same, by focusing on the reasons, or whys for my goals. doing that encourages, reminds and inspires me to look forward towards a beautiful and exciting future.


    Kevin 🙂

    • Kevin, I am curious about your perception that we also idealize the present. Is idealizing the present helpful? I will be thinking about this.

      Thanks so much for adding your thoughts in this space. I’m honored!

      • Becky – we may not idealize the present, but many people think the way things are are “fine” or “good” – especially when others are suggesting change. any view of the future that makes it feel good, fine or better, keeps us in a place of staying where we are – the comfort zone – even if it isn’t as comfortable as we profess it to be.

        Kevin 🙂

  • Becky, first of all, thanks for sharing your news. You do a wonderful job in your post expressing how many of us respond to change. I’m excited for you and for your future ahead, and I’m proud to know you. You’ve got a wonderful way with words, and your words are grounded in a strong sense of values and ethics and great and inspirational guidance. I will follow you and your writing wherever you happen to call home. I’m heading back to add you to my Management Excellence blogroll right now.

    I’m looking forward to many great posts and to hearing more as your new path unfolds.

    Best, -Art

    • Wow, Art. Thanks so much for your kind and generous words. You are a great example of the amazing people in the leadership blogging community that has welcomed me so warmly since the beginning of this journey. I am also proud to know you! I only wish we had taken the chance to meet in person while I was still living in Chicago.

      I will be developing a list of recommended resources and I will certainly reciprocate by adding your blog to my list. I am always enriched when I read your work.

  • Becky, What a wonderful post! Your words ring true in many ways. I too loved your part about how “We idealize the best parts of the past, and minimize the worst parts” It’s so true. Sometimes we forget that things weren’t great and we miss that. I wonder why? I guess it’s better than remembering the difficult times and dwelling on them.
    I, personally, have had some hard times in the past. Sometimes when life gets tough I try to remembert that “this is nothing” compared to what I’ve already been through. I try to appreciate the people in my life even when they aren’t “easy”. Sometimes when the girls are difficult I think back to how much we had to go through just to have them and it helps me put things into perspective and remember how much of a blessing they truly are. That helps me through the hard days.
    Congratulations on your new job! How exciting! You have such a way with words and I love reading your posts. They really are inspirational! Thank You!

  • Thanks, Tina. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

    What you said about keeping the present in perspective by remembering the difficulties in the past is very important. I think when we can do that, we can more fully appreciate the joys we have right now.

    I appreciate your encouragement about the new blog and my writing. I look forward to interacting with you more here, Tina!

  • This is where we all want to live… remember the last election? Hope and change. Not just change but change connected to a vision that things would get better.

    I think we still didn’t get there in politics but I’m willing to go on the trip with you. You bring a lot to the journey, I’ll bring what I can too.

    • Paul,

      I’m glad you’re on this journey with me, even if it sometimes feel like all I am bringing is a lot of heavy bags! 🙂

      I enjoy the interaction we share on Twitter and am always grateful for your support.

  • Becky, I think that staying focused on the future is indeed a good way to go. From time to time though, I like to look back as well because sometimes there are opportunities to bring the best of what was with us into the future. The lessons of the past can sometimes guide the choices of the future. So to me, sneaking a peak in the rear view mirror once in a while is not a bad thing.
    Having said that, there is no better feeling than the one we get when we start a new adventure. This is where you are now and I know that you will make a great success of it.
    Congratulations on your bold move. Your new blog will also find its place on my blogroll and I will continue to follow you with great interest!

    • Gwyn,

      Looking back for the purpose of learning is important and necessary. I applaud you for your practice of bringing the best of the past into the future with you. What I want to avoid is getting stuck where I am or missing out on what’s ahead because I am spending too much time longing for the past.

      Thank you so much for your encouragement on this journey. I appreciate the inclusion on your blogroll and your interest in my future.

      Isn’t it so great that our online friends are available to us wherever we go? I am glad that you are a friend from the past who is moving forward with me.

  • Hi Becky,

    I have to agree with Gwyn that I think it’s important that we never lose sight of the past because it’s a good reminder of where we’ve been and a useful way to ensure we’re not stuck in the same groove despite our efforts to move forward.

    For me, fear of change has less to do with holding onto the past as it is a wariness of the uncertainty that understandably comes from looking forward. From my vantage point, change is not something we need to be apprehensive of if we recognize that we all have the ability to make change something that happens for us, instead of simply to us.

    Just like Art, I’ll be updating my blogroll to your new site so I can continue to read and interact with the journey you’ll be taking everyone on here.

    • Tanveer,

      Thank you for joining me here and thank you for your friendship and encouragement on this journey. I am honored to be added to your blogroll and I look forward to sharing your work with my readers as well.

      I love your idea that change can be something that happens FOR us instead of TO us. I think there is a blog post in those words somewhere!

  • Becky – What a terrific group of supporters are standing with and around you.
    Reminding yourself of what you want to take with you and what you want to leave behind, both about the situation and how you respond can serve as an anchor when everything seems to be up in the air.

    One of the things I’ve already notice is how sophisticated you look in your new photo. I’m sure there will be more to come as you walk this part of your journey.

    • Anne, Thanks for joining my group of supporters here, and thanks for the kind words about the photo.

      Your advice about discovering what I want to keep and what I want to leave behind about the situation/how I respond resonates with me. I appreciate you sharing it. This is definitely an opportunity for me to grow, especially in learning to respond to change with optimism and grace.

  • Hi, Becky! Here is a quote I wrote a few years ago for a greeting card line I’m working on. I think it might add to the narrative here. “The path to vibrant presence is to color the past with hues of grace, and to paint the future in shades of love.” Of course, my “Twitterized” version is, “If you color your past with hues of grace, and paint your future in shades of love, your ‘nows’ will be ‘wows’!” My future is my very next step and this way of thinking serves me well! Many blessings to you, Becky!

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