Remember Frozen? Time was when people were belting Let It Go, be it off-key videoke or professional cover. But I would disagree with Queen Elsa. There are things we really can’t let go.

 

Take our past, for instance. Motivational speakers and counselors would tell us to “let go” of what we don’t like about our personal histories.


Has someone hurt us? Let it go.
Are we regretting over a certain career choice? Let it go.
Did we lose our shirt because the pandemic ruined our business? Let it go.

 

But we really cannot let them go, because our present flows from our past. We are where we are now due to a complex flux of choice and circumstances. We cannot escape cause and effect. Unless we have a time machine and start over, the past won’t let us go.

We still wince from the hurt.
We’re still unhappy at work.
We’re still broke.

 

So what do we do? Let me suggest three steps.

    1. Make peace with your yesterday.

 

Since we can’t let go of our past, we will have to live with our past. The real question is how? With blessing or bitterness? With gratitude or grumbling? With redemption or regret?

 

In my book Regret No More, I teach that we make a peace pact with ourselves. Think of it as being at war with guilt, anxiety, or sorrow. The irony is that we raise these enemies within ourselves, for example, the inner critic. We declare a cessation of hostilities. We may even write down a literal treaty, if we want to.

 

The next time we sense the enemy creeping back, we hold up the treaty and tell the negative emotion “Hold it right there. This says you will stop.” Then imagine the enemy, shamed, slinking away.

    1. Become a better person today.

 

We are not the same people we were five, ten, or twenty years ago. That’s because life continues to shape our personalities, perceptions and priorities. Ideally, we grow in love and wisdom as the years roll by. Yes, that includes the past.

Therefore, leverage the past for your maturity.
Did the hurt deepen your empathy?
Has the career mistake revealed what you really want in life?
Will the failed business train you how to bounce back?

 

There are priceless lessons that can be learned only through the college of hard knocks. Don’t waste the tuition.

    1. Create an exciting tomorrow.

 

We cannot change what happened before. But we can decide what happens next. So take the best pieces of your past and match them with the opportunities of the present.

 

The hurt can open doors to unparalleled service.
The career mistake may be a detour that leads you to your true calling.
The failed venture will remind you that purpose is more important than profit.

 

It is not really true that January 1st is New Year’s Day. Every morning heralds the next 365 days of your life. As we would do with the literal January 1st, be brimming with hope.

 

Dream again. Dream big. Take the calculated risk. Explore the untrodden path. Forge strong relationships. In so doing, you have made the past your friend.

 

You really cannot let it go. But you have successfully lived with it.

God bless you.

This article was first published on LinkedIn in two parts. Connect with me for the latest articles.

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Want to discover an insight about happiness that will only cost you forty pesos?

 

Don’t worry. Half of that amount will go back to you. No, I won’t be getting the other half.

 

Here’s the thing: Spend twenty pesos to buy your favorite ice cream and eat it. Feels heavenly, right? Especially if it’s chocolate.

 

Now get another twenty pesos. Only this time, use it for an act of kindness to a total stranger. For example, when you see a street kid selling sampaguita flowers, buy all his stock. Then let him keep the flowers so he can sell them to someone else.

 

Guess which one will put a wider smile on your face?

 

That’s right.

 

The insight is that happiness is a by-product.

 

Chase happiness itself and it will elude you. Do something meaningful for others and happiness will embrace you.

 

Are you groaning (again) at the prospect of going to work? Is your job something you are enduring rather than enjoying? Perhaps your mantra is “If only I have the right job, I will be happy.”

 

This is the paradox of job happiness.

 

Don’t expect your job to make you happy. Rather, do your job to give value to others and happiness will follow.

 

Focus on excellence and satisfaction will well up within you.

 

Go an extra mile for your boss or client and his delight will be yours as well.

 

Learn skills beyond your job description and you will unleash the thrill of exploration.

 

Today, survey your workplace with a fresh pair of eyes. There is a gold mine of joy waiting for you. You just need to know where to dig. Emotional treasures will soon yield themselves to you.

 

This article was first published onLinkedIn. Connect with me for the latest articles.

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He could have lost me as a customer. But instead, he won me over as a follower.

 

​Kyle (not his real name) was offering training videos which I can watch on-line for a modest fee. So I gave one a try and enjoyed the learning… until the video kept on buffering in the middle. It remained stuck half-way no matter how many times I refreshed my device.

 

I told him of my frustration through private messaging. From the seen icon, I knew he read my complaint. He could have ignored me. Worse, he could have blamed my device or internet connection. Instead, he did something I never thought he would. He gave me a link through which I can download that video… free!

 

If Kyle were to offer me another product, would I buy from him again? You bet! That’s because Kyle did not see me as a peso sign, but as a person. He took his mission to help seriously. In short, he cared.

 

The paradigm is that, in selling, don’t look for customers. Create followers who will buy from you even when there is a better deal elsewhere. Here are three principles to do just that.

Don’t: Expect Loyalty.
Do: Earn loyalty.

 

When I was in sales and marketing, I used to tell my people: “It’s easy to get the first sale. The challenge is to get the repeat order.”

 

Loyalty is rarely bestowed upon you when your product or service is at par with your competitors. That’s why the passive order-taker will usually resort to gimmicks such as discounts and promos. The superior tactic is to do something pro-active and unexpected that touches the customer’s heart. Create an emotional bond with your client that your competitor will find hard to dislodge.

Don’t: Keep your customers waiting.
Do: Keep your followers raving.

 

A seen zone is a kill zone for future business. What if Kyle had seen my PM’s complaint and ignored it? I would have lost all appetite to buy from him again. But when he gave me that link, that was a WOW! moment for me.

 

It wasn’t about the video. It was about trust. He took a risk that I won’t spread that video around and hurt his future sales. I won’t, of course, but I felt honored which I will happily reciprocate by buying from him again.

Don’t: Think one-time.
Do: Think big-picture.

 

Imagine again had Kyle thought like these:

  • I’m too busy to attend to it.
  • What’s one dissatisfied customer? I have plenty of others.
  • If I made it up to Nelson, it would cost me more than what I earn.

 

A popular statistic, attributed to Coca Cola in the 1980’s, says that a happy customer will tell three people, but an unhappy customer will tell ten. That’s nothing compared with today’s social media. Had I ranted about the bogged-down video in my Facebook, Kyle would have lost not just me, but my 1,000+ friends.

 

Conversely, that downloadable video was a modest investment that not only rewarded him with my wholehearted testimonial, but my interested peers as well.

 

With buyers bombarded by all sorts of offers and deals through digital channels, you need to stand out. When you do something wonderful and unexpected, you will make them ask you “What else do you have?”

 

This article was first published on LinkedIn. Connect with me for the latest articles.

Photo by Sebastian Hermann, Unsplash

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