In response to my last article, on putting your past behind you, I received the following question:
I have no problem putting the past behind me, but how do I convince others (i.e., employers, family) to leave my past in the past? Everything about our society —criminal records, credit scores, driving records, marriage and divorce records, property records, religious records — track our performance. Our society is built on the idea that your past defines you. So, how can I get people to give me another chance? Any advice?
Most people won’t believe you’ve changed until they see a proven track record of better behavior. As a matter of fact, most people consider your past behavior the best predictor of your future behavior, so it can be hard to convince them you’ve changed.
You can’t let that bother you.
Your past is what it is and people will think what they're going to think. These things are out of your control. So, don’t waste time and energy worrying about them.
It’s what you think (about yourself) that matters.
The most powerful thing you have is your right to decide who you want to be today. You cannot change who you were yesterday, and each day is a chance to start over and re-invent yourself.
If other people are unwilling to give you a second chance, that is none of your business. You are in the business of working on how you feel about you. This is the only thing you can do.
As you gain confidence in yourself and let your past go, other people will feel this. When you know who you are, it changes how other people feel about you.
If you believe in you, eventually others will too.
This works. I know this from experience.
If you read my story on ksl.com, you will find that my own past has been rather messy. Some people may question how I can be a life coach when my own life has been so problematic. I worried about how I would overcome my past mistakes, including two divorces, and garner the respect to be taken seriously. Would anyone listen to my advice?
The one thing I had was confidence in myself. I knew what my past mistakes had taught me and what I, now, had to offer. I knew how the amazing things I had learned could help other people.
Other people may have doubted my abilities based on my past track record, but I didn’t. I knew who I was.
I genuinely own my past mistakes, but I do not hold onto shame or regret around them. I am grateful for my past because it helped me become who I am today. It served me and my process of becoming.
Your life experiences have taught you some important lessons, too. They have made you wise and understanding. They have given you empathy and compassion. It is time for you to embrace these lessons and let go of the shame and regrets.
If you can do this, over time, other people will too.
Remember, confidence is extremely attractive. A confident person with a colorful past can actually interview better than an insecure candidate with a spotless past. A small business owner whose company failed knows a lot more than the candidate who never tried and never failed. That's because the man who failed knows what not to do.
You will gain back the respect of other people when you own who you are today. If you show up with strength and confidence, other people will respect that.
Don’t worry about the people who judge you.
It’s what you think that matters.
You can gain better self-esteem by working of these four things:
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes Clarity: seeing life accurately and repairing self esteem.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.