As part of my commitment to professional and personal development, I decided to register for a professional exam. If my memory doesn’t fail me, the last time I sat for one of the stages of this exam was eleven years ago. Yes, you read me right, eleven years.
After making this decision, I started feeling awkward because I felt like it had been such a long time. Why did I not complete the exams then? But then, I also reminded myself that what is important is to go ahead and just do it, regardless of my feelings.
As if that was not enough, I had to go through the gruelling process of having my old registration and past exam documents dug out amidst loud gum-chewing employees of the professional body in question. This process took hours and repeated visits but I had to bear it. More so, there was no way I would be allowed to proceed with registering for and writing the exams unless all these past documents were found as a way of validating my membership and how to proceed. It was a perfect case of looking backwards to move forward.
This got me thinking. I remember clearly that one word/advise that people repeatedly gave me after the separation was to move on with my life. Good piece of advice I must tell you. Life is not static so why should you be? I have however found out that sometimes to really move forward, we might have to pay the past a visit-like I am doing right now.
Now, I know that many people do not like to deal with the past for the following reasons:
– it makes them feel uncomfortable: when you decide to face the past momentarily, you will be confronted with facts that you would rather just close your eyes to. My advice? Open your eyes and deal with the ‘dealables’. You are setting yourself free to embrace the future.
-it makes them feel awkward: enrolling for an exam that my colleagues had concluded on years ago made me feel somehow. But I put feelings aside so I could deal with life
-it takes too much time: I had to wait for hours for my old documents to be fished out and also make several visits to the office of the organisation in charge of the exam. Not too palatable if you ask me, but absolutely necessary.
-it reminds us of what could have been: only God knows how far I would have progressed professionally if I had gone ahead to write all the stages of the professional exam when I started. All the same, I also realised that I have the opportunity of creating my future so that I won’t have to deal with this type of regret again.
This list can go on and on but the point still is, the clue to the future can sometimes be found in the past.
Personally, I am at a point where I want to take my business to the next level and also position it for bigger opportunities. After a lot of praying(yes I do pray!) and thinking, sitting for this exam is one of the many steps to take. So I have a decision to make: go ahead with it and see the business attract bigger clients and grow or forgo it and stay on the same level. It was totally up to me.
So, are there unresolved issues in the past that only facing and dealing with is the way out? Then by all means, go ahead and do so. Could it be that the past holds the key to your deepest dreams and aspirations? It is time to step back then, so you can really step forward. Perhaps, your life is littered with abandoned or half-done projects, ventures and all. Go back and get them done. That is moving forward!
As I was in the process of getting the exam registration sorted, on a number of occasions the thought of forgetting about the whole thing popped up in my mind. But each time it did, I felt stuck, stagnant and limited. On the other hand, each time I told myself I was going ahead no matter what, I felt like I was making progress and my life was going in the right direction. The decision alone filled me with peace so I can imagine my ecstasy when I eventually write the exam and emerge the best graduating student in my set/class(that is part of my dream and promise to myself). I don’t need a soothsayer to confirm that I was doing the right thing.
I know we live in an age where we want everything smooth and quick. So many of us do not like to experience any form of delay, so asking you to go back to the past sounds distasteful to you. But my advice is, if that is the key to living the kind of life you desire, if it is the key to being happy, then by all means, step back so that you can experience real progress.
…helping you find the gains in your pains!