How To Use Past Experiences To Shape Your Future (And My Personal Story)
One of the best ways to make stronger decisions for your future is by learning from your past. Rather than being a victim to your past, you can learn how to use past experiences to shape your future!
When I lead someone through Next-Level Life, we spend several hours going over Core Impacts in their life to see how they got to where they are today.
Core Impacts are key events from your past that help you gain perspective on where you’re at and where you’re going.
Some examples are: moving as a kid, marriage, loss, accepting Christ, etc.
Not all Core Impacts are big and emotionally heavy, but they very well can be.
Typically, we find around 10 to 15 Core Impacts in each Next-Level Life. Of course this depends on age and experience, too. Some people may have 10, others may have 18.
A Core Impact isn’t just a continuation of an event, it’s something that changed the direction of your life.
Here’s a 2-step exercise called the “Core Impact Identifier” to help you gain perspective on your past, so you can shape your future.
Step 1: Identify your Core Impacts
Think back as far as you possibly can and write down the Core Impacts in your life. You’re not doing this to re-live stuff or make monsters or victims out of people. It’s about understanding and gaining perspective.
Step 2: Assess the impacts
Once you’ve written down every Core Impact to date, write down the impacts OF the Core Impact in your life. How did it affect you?
Here’s an example from my life:
Discovering I wouldn’t make the Olympic team – I was shooting for the ’88 Olympics and sponsorships were not allowed. When I discovered that my family couldn’t afford it, I was devastated. Skiing in the Olympics was my biggest dream and goal. I was so angry that I stopped skiing. I started hanging out with an unsavory crowd. I convinced myself not to dream or shoot for anything big because I could get my heart broken. It impacted me by starting a decision-making process that messed me up for 10 years. I didn’t want to stick my neck out, hope or dream.
Thankfully, after 10 years, I realized what I was doing to myself by giving up on something I loved. I immediately booked a trip to the mountains, rented skis and raced. I’ve been doing that just about every year since. It’s a love of mine. It’s energizing.
Looking back on my response to the then devastating news, I realized that I made a decision that didn’t just have to do with skiing. After that Core Impact, every time I went to make a big decision, I chose not to do anything I could get hurt over. By doing this, I began the process of running every major decision through the filter of “Is this going to let me down?” If so, I’m not going to do it.
I had to change my force-of-habit thinking.
When we make decisions based on habits of the past, we lose out on some of the great moments or greatest changes in our lives.
We do it because we don’t truly understand the perspective of our past. I didn’t have to look back and be mad or make monsters or victims.
I simply had to ask, “How did that impact me?” As I understood that, I realized I’d put a decision-making process in place that would affect me for 10 years.
That’s why I want you to do this.
Take time this week, schedule it in, and go through your Core Impacts.
What force-of-habit thinking is holding you back? If you want to dig deeper and gain perspective on your life and discover how to move past your Core Impacts and have a stronger life, click here: Next-Level Life.