“Never be a prisoner of your past.  Your past is a lesson, not a life sentence.”

I’ve been working out of the same office for nearly 25 years.  The memories are vivid of the first time I walked in here, in January 1994.  In no way, shape, or form would I have ever believed that 25 years later, I’d still be here. A few months back, one of my co-workers here decided that we needed to clean out the past.   We decided to get large garbage containers and we filled up enough stuff to fill a small dump truck.  It was hard to believe how much crap we were hoarding!   Even after 90% of the stuff was gone, the remaining 10% still felt like a cling to the past.

I fought this “intrusion of my past” for months, and then realized that it was the very thing that was holding me back.  I then decided to take the plunge on taking this 4,000 square-foot office down to the studs and re-do everything.  So, that meant that everything else has to go now, i.e. books, journals, photographs, video tapes, manuscripts…everything.   At this point, I’m not ready to send it all to the trash heap, but I’ve decided to put it all in storage, as a last step to get complete with it, before it is gone forever.

Three of my friends lost everything they own:  One to a fire that destroyed both their office and their attached house; another to hurricane Katrina, which washed away their entire 5,000 square-foot house and all memories with it; and one to a lighting strike to their home, after with they watched their home burn to the ground, along with all their precious belongings.

In all three cases, I was shocked to learn that each one of them said it was a huge blessing.   They realized that the world is moving so fast, that it’s best to leave the past in the past.   By having a natural disaster do the heaving lifting, it allowed them to leap-frog into a new future automatically.

Growing up in Northern New Jersey, not far from where Frank Sinatra grew up, it angered me to know that Frank vowed in 1948 to never return to his hometown of Hoboken.  I never understood it until now.  Frank’s career was a rocket-ship, and he probably felt that in order to keep moving forward into an “unknown” future, it’s best to leave behind the “known” past.

It has been my experience that in order to reach the next level in life, you must be willing to leave your past behind; along with all the nostalgia that goes with it.

This, my friends, is NOT for everyone- but only the rare few, that are willing to take this giant step forward.

We all have a choice: we can do this housecleaning ourselves, or we can wait (maybe forever) for a natural disaster to do the clean-up for us.

What will YOU choose?


Rick Sapio, Co-Founder
Business Finishing School, LLC