Nope, it’s not an article about leadership, quitting your job, being fired, the perils of being a Millennial, or how Facebook is dying. While those topics seem to be popular on some sites, this is an article about being the author of your life book.
Our life, including our career, is like a book. Some chapters are phenomenal and others leave a little to be desired. You’d like to skip right over those. Yet, every day adds a new page to our overall journey.
Until the final sentence has been written, there’s still time to change the story.
As we flip through the pages of our life, we live through an array of emotions, actions, and circumstances. We have our ups and downs. We laugh, we cry, we win, we lose, we falter, and we grow strong.
But when you are on the last page, what will your book say about you? What story did it tell?
- Who were you as a person? What was it about you that people value?
- What are your values?
- What have you achieved? Where did you work? Where did you live?
- What added meaning to your life and gave you a sense of fulfillment?
- How did your life unfold in these areas: family, friends, significant other, career, health, and your emotional and physical wellbeing?
- Where did you travel? What did you do for fun?
- What advice did you pass on to a younger generation?
- What is your favorite memory in life?
- What gave you the greatest motivation?
- What was your passion?
Will your life book be powerful and compelling or will it be full of pages that didn’t have much of an impact to you?
Your story continues to unfold.
The Past is the Past and Our Power is in the Present
If you don’t like how the story is unfolding, change it. You can’t rewrite life but you can start a new chapter.
The “what if” syndrome is non-productive and a good waste of mental energy. What’s done is done. A critical assessment of your life and career lessons can be useful as you build your future. But, spending time going backwards is simply not logical. Nothing to see there. Life is a forward progression; our power comes with the control we have today.
And, that power belongs to us. We own it.
Today is Never Going to Happen Again
Future achievements are prepared for in the present moment. Let today be the standard for your personal theme of success. Don’t let five years or even one more year go by while you keep looking back with regret.
If you will ever live the way you want in the future; you have to live in the present first.
Make things happen now. There’s no control over the past but there is control over the present which leads to control of the future.
George Bernard Shaw tells us “The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.”
Five ways to Write Your Story
Consider everything that has happened up until this point as character development. Now build on that and write something new.
A good book takes the reader on a compelling journey. It grabs you. You keep turning the pages because you want to see what happens next. It gives you a satisfied ending. And, you connect with the characters in all their glory and even with their weaknesses.
1. Give Yourself a Powerful Voice
Stephen R. Covey said “One word expresses the pathway to greatness: voice.Those on this path find their voice and inspire others to find theirs. The rest never do.”
Give yourself a voice. Flex your vocal cords. The voice is what carries you through in the story. It permeates every page, paragraph, and sentence. How you express yourself is a direct reflection upon how people experience who you are and what you represent.
Your voice defines you. Don’t let your individuality be misrepresented because your voice doesn’t communicate your soulful essence. Your voice gives you clarity in your life’s direction. It gives you the freedom of expression without holding anything back.
Knowing your voice gives you strength of character. It enhances all areas in your life from your personal relations to your career choices.
2. Surround Yourself with Notable Characters
A captivating book has more than just a main personality. It’s filled with memorable characters. They can make the most mundane day fresh and exhilarating. Unforgettable characters make the story come alive and they’re one of the most important aspects to a good story. They’re distinctive to every book and they make us feel emotions. They help us see the world in new ways. They help us to re-think our own lives and motivations and affect us in a manner so that they live on in our memories for years.
Who do you surround yourself with in life that gives you a different perspective? Who inspires you? Who motivates you? Who helps you step outside of your comfort zone so that you live more experiences?
Jim Rohn, motivational speaker, tells us that “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Who are the people you spend time with?
Are they happy, grouchy, ambitious, optimistic, and enthusiastic? Evaluate the characters in your life to make sure these are the people you want in your book.
3. Write a Great Story Line
“If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be unhappy for the rest of your life.” –Abraham Maslow
Make them laugh and make them cry. It makes no difference what elements play into what a great story personally means to you. The point is that you believe it’s exciting. You’re invested in the plot and in the characters. You are living an engaged life and sometimes that makes you want to stay up until 2:00 a.m. because you are not ready to put the book down.
4. A Vibrant Setting
Your setting, both work and personal, ground the story. The setting adds to the details of your book. It helps people understand who you are. Settings set the mood, influence the way characters behave, predict events, and invoke passionate responses. Without a setting, it’s just events.
A setting provides a world in which your story plays out. It’s not just important, it’s vital.
5. Think about the Ending and Then Come up with the Middle
If you get stuck on a chapter, skip ahead. Decide how you want your story to end and then work backwards. That way, every decision along the way will be a lot easier to make if you know the end goal and what you are working to accomplish.
It doesn’t matter what chapter or phase of the book you are currently in because each day presents another opportunity to write something new.
It’s up to you. This is your life and career legacy. Write your story the way you want to live it.