First a quote: “You can’t launch a new quest with old baggage.” – Spencer Johnson, M.D.; Out of the Maze
As I draft this week’s MMM missive, Becky, my wife, is in her office cleaning out our 2018 office files and setting up new files for 2019. She does this every January for both our personal and professional records. In this process, Becky will do some important sorting. As she looks at each file from this past year, she will make important decisions about each file from a short list of options, including:
- No longer needed, shred, toss or get rid of it
- Important; keep, but file, scan or store for future use or reference
- Important, keep, readily available, for use in the coming year
By Monday morning, Becky will be able to move forward into 2019 with more focus, less clutter and yet, have access to the important information she and I need.
If you have ever moved or relocated, you have more than likely, done a similar kind of sorting process. (Or, at least I hope you have.) You probably asked yourself questions like these: What should I get rid of? What will I need and what do I want to carry with me into the future? What should I make room for in my new life, in my new location? While we might be pretty good at making those decisions about our physical possessions, I submit we’re not as good about sorting our mental beliefs, ideas and clutter. Unfortunately, many of us (myself included) rarely make conscious choices between the valuable psychological luggage to keep, and the emotional baggage which needs to be jettisoned for us to “move ahead” productively into the new year.
Using Becky’s “file purging process” as a metaphor, wouldn’t it be great if each of us would do the same thing with our thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences from this past year. Some of the thoughts and experiences from last year provided us with valuable lessons which will be useful to us as we take on future challenges. And, some of our thoughts and experiences will become nothing more than “emotional baggage”. This baggage then gets in our way and becomes a heavy burden; almost like an anchor that prevents a ship from exploring new shores.
How many people do you know who are still carrying around ill feelings, wrongs, hurts and/or bitterness from past events in their lives? Like suitcases filled with toxins, they carry this baggage around with them everywhere they go; from an old home to a new home, from one job to the next, or from one relationship to another.
Spencer Johnson was correct when he said, “You can’t launch a new quest with old baggage.” I’ve taken liberty with that wisdom ever so subtly, “You can’t (or shouldn’t) launch a new year lugging around last year’s baggage.”
Maybe more of us should follow Becky’s lead. Maybe we should do a complete “mental house cleaning” before we begin the new year. Perhaps, while we clean out our closets, basements, garages and storage units, we should also clean out our mental closets. What “mental junk” from your past continues to destroy your current happiness, joy and relationships? What thoughts and ideas might be limiting your success and future potential? Perhaps it is time to, file them away, to leave them behind and truly begin the new year with fresh thinking.
How will you lead differently, or better, in the coming year?
All the best in 2019! Give your best. Do your best. Be your best and the best shall be returned to you in full. I promise.
Happy New Year!
“Expanding Your Capacity for Success”