People ask me how my business is doing and I have this insane desire to tell them my mother just died.
That’s what I said for about six months, followed by the statement she had died “this year.” In recent months, it became “well, my mom died last year.”
And that is true.
But it’s been over 18 months now and at some point I have to decide it’s no longer a reason to stay comfortably stuck. At some point I have to ask myself,
How much longer does that get to be the story that defines me?
It’s A Fair Question
A few years ago, I had a client who hired me to help her ramp up her Mary Kay® business. During our first call, she told me how disorganized she was and how challenging it had been recently because she just had a baby.
Each question I asked was met with resistance and a reminder she just had a baby.
Finally, I asked her how long it had been since her baby’s birth. She paused and said,
Two and half years.
We both took a deep breath and then I asked,
When do you get to stop saying you just had a baby?
I heard her exhale deeply, like she was releasing many months of “white-knuckling” her way through her days. Then she simply responded, “Today.”
We Get Tied To Our Stories
They fit like a comfy pair of Sperry Topsiders® we’re just not ready to replace.
Enough time goes by the story takes up residence in our arsenal of excuses and, before we even realize what happened, the story owns us.
My mom’s passing rocked my world in ways I could never imagine. I questioned my faith, was mad at everyone, embraced drama, and wore a daily blanket of self pity.
My perspective narrowed so the simplest stressors sent me into a tailspin of rumination and regret.
I moved and talked slower, couldn’t seem to make even the simplest decisions, and gradually morphed into someone I no longer recognized, respected, or liked.
Grief had become my “story.”
We Have The Power
One thing I know about our life stories is we have the power to change them anytime.
We can do it in an instant with a simple decision to unhook our future from our past.
We can choose a new story. A bigger story. A story worthy of our destiny, not one intent on reliving the past.
Stories can change from “I used to be a smoker” to “I am a non-smoker” in a second. From “I was abused as a child” to “I am a champion for children’s rights.” From “no one loves me” to “I love who I’m becoming.”
Release the stories that no longer serve you and embrace the ones that honor a future worthy of your gifts and talents.
My new story is one of hope and transformation, one my mother would have been happy to see me live.
What story has worn out its welcome in your life? What bigger story will you choose to live today?