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Own Your Story

We are all writing our own story — living our autobiographies.

An author writing a novel starts with a rough idea, progresses to an outline of a larger story and then begins to flesh out each scene, each character, each event. After all the work and rework, writing and rearranging, the manuscript is sent to an editor. The editor marks up every chapter and sends it back for yet another re-write. A story evolves.

Each of us is writing our own story. The story line, the characters, the next scene — all of it is in our own hands. Often we are convinced that the preceding story line must dictate what comes next in our story. What we forget is: it’s our autobiography. We own it. What comes next is our decision.


You’ve probably heard me say I woke up on my fiftieth birthday, homeless, jobless, and alone for the first time in 31 years and yet I was better than I should have been. Partly because I was re-framing the situation that could have been seen as devastating into an opportunity to push the re-start button, a re-birth with all the wisdom of 50 years.

When we reflect on the story that has already been written, it’s helpful to re-frame some of the moments of distress. Re-frame: to look at a situation in a different way — a way that causes you to feel energized. The day the car accident maimed your body does not have to be the day all was lost. It could be the day you uncovered how strong you are. The day the judge banged the gavel declaring the end of your three decade marriage does not have to be the day you died. It could be the day you discovered yourself. The day the company downsized does not have to be the day you lost your identity. It could be the day you gained new direction. Re-framing what we are seeing in the rear view mirror helps us adjust the story line and write the story we intended to write all along.

Zig Ziglar loved talking about mining for gold. He said, “While mining for gold, you are going to find a lot of dirt.” When we are mining for gold, we do not focus on the dirt, we keep an eye open for the glimmer of gold. Finding the gold in our own story, informs our next chapter.

Own your story — build your legacy. Write something worth plagiarizing!

Fresh Start

The smell of fresh bread coming out of the oven is undeniably the best aroma ever.  Fresh flowers sitting on the dining room table always bring a smile.  Fresh ideas can be incredibly energizing.  What we all love about the new year is it gives us a place to start fresh.  

This year I’m going to be intentional about allowing freshness into my life.  Fresh bread takes some work, it doesn’t just happen.  Turning the calendar year over doesn’t guarantee a fresh start.  It does provide an opportunity for something fresh.  A few things I am going to do this year to keep my life fresh.


Look for Adventure — Find things that move me out of my comfort zone.  I’ve decided that 2018 is going to be my most adventures year yet.  What ideas do you have for me?  Going for the adventure invites new experiences.

Accept Change — Recognizing that change is good because it brings growth is a great way to step into a new year.  I’m the kind of person that drives the same car until the wheels fall off, never re-arranges the furniture and works for the same place for a couple of decades.  Change has never been my favorite but I’m learning to re-frame the way I look at change and see it as an opportunity.  Change keeps things fresh.

De-clutter — There is just something about getting the closet cleaned out or the junk drawer organized or the garage orderly that helps us make space in our world and mind. Go ahead and take the plunge, de-cluttering opens up new territory.  

Connect with new people — Friends are a human necessity.  Even if you have plenty, go find one more. If you feel like you don’t have enough, go find three more. New people in our lives bring fresh perspective.  It’s good to be around people who see things differently.  I’m very intentional about this one and am looking forward to the new relationships I will develop in 2018.  

Laugh often — So much of what is required of us is serious business — raising children, managing finances, investing in a career, serving the people around us.  With all this responsibility, we sometimes forget to laugh.  This Christmas break, my extended family got together and laughed raucously.  It was a blast to laugh and to be in the presence of people full of laughter.  Let’s do more of that this year.

Here’s to 2018!