The final step toward putting your past behind so you can reach for what's possible is tying up your loose ends. Loose ends are the unresolved relationships that keep you from sleeping worry free at night.
Skeletons are hard to keep buried because they always have a bone to pick.
You have a loose end, if there's someone you don't want to see at the grocery store or movie theater. You have a loose end, if there's someone you don't want to run into on a first date or at work. You have a loose end, if there's someone you don't want to sit next to at a holiday dinner. Loose ends are distracting and have an amazing way of biting you in the butt at the worst times.
When loose ends are lurking in the back of your mind, they take your focus off doing what it takes to succeed. Loose ends bring you back to a place where you don't want or need to go. Loose ends must be tied up so they cannot run free to steal your confidence and concentration. Tying up loose ends allows you to totally focus on doing what you need to do to get where you want to go.
For example, if you borrowed money from someone and never paid her back, you have to always worry about running into her at the wrong time, like when you're already late for a date or out shopping with your mom. Instead of facing these embarrassing scenarios, have the courage to call your lender up and agree to repay her a little bit every week until you are square. You'll be amazed how a little effort on your part can salvage broken relationships and let you walk once again with your head held high.
How to Tie Up Your Loose Ends
1. Identify the five people with whom you have the most unresolved issues. These could be past relationships, employers, business partners, friends, family, or co-workers. These are people you avoid talking with and running into.
2. Contact each of these five loose ends. Invite each separately to a coffee shop or some other nonthreatening, nonalcohol environment. Tell each one that you want to apologize for allowing things to get crossways between you. Even if she was the one who hurt you, tell her you want to move on. Some may doubt your intentions, but tell them that you sincerely feel its time to clear the air. Ask those who agree to meet to write down any ways they think you wronged them, and you do the same. Tell them to bring this list to your get-together.
3. Show up on time and thank each for being forgiving enough to meet with you.
Tell each person that you want to apologize for whatever you did that hurt him (even if you don't completely agree with his view of the situation). Be an adult here; finger pointing only tears people apart. Remember, your experience may be -- and most likely is -- totally different from his. Listen to each issue each of them raise and try to see it from their perspectives. Don't interrupt them when they are sharing. Seek to understand why they harbor bad feelings toward you. Apologize for each thing they think you did to wrong them. If you're nervous about apologizing, go ahead and practice in a mirror before each meeting.
4. At the end of the conversation, thank each once again for talking with you. It was a big show of faith in your character. Plus, she's helping you to move toward your dreams by tying up loose ends in your past. The next day, send her a handwritten card thanking her for reconnecting. You can then decide whether or not to stay in touch.
After you tie up your first loose end, you'll want to resolve them all. This is hard to explain until you have done it; but once you do, you'll know what I mean. I learned so much about myself by tying up my loose ends. Most of all, I think this process helped me become a more understanding and patient friend.
Copyright © 2007 by Jason Ryan Dorsey from the book My Reality Check Bounced! by Jason Ryan Dorsey Published by Broadway Books; January 2007;$14.00US/$18.00CAN; 978-0-7679-2183-1
Twenty-seven-year-old Jason Ryan Dorsey wrote Graduate to Your Perfect Job when he was just eighteen, and it went on to sell 200,000 copies. He has since spoken to more than 500,000 young adults and those who educate and employ them. Winner of the Austin Under 40 Entrepreneur of the Year Award at age twenty-six, Dorsey has appeared on Today and The View and in Teen People. He lives in Austin, Texas.
To learn more about Jason, visit www.jasondorsey.com or www.myrealitycheckbounced.com.