How do you feel about your life? Are you living in possibility? Do you love what you’re doing? Do you feel free? Excited? Happy? Purposeful? Are you living your best life?
If your answer is no, WHY NOT? If you’re not quite sure, what stops you from saying yes?
Your life is yours to design. Your passions are yours to pursue. The multifaceted idiosyncracies that make you – YOU – are meant to be shared! So what stops you? What keeps you from living your best life?
If you’re anything like me, it’s pride. Ego. That stubborn side of ourselves that desires applause or acceptance over authenticity. Ouch. Anyone else too proud to be awkward? Too afraid to be weird? Chances are, your best life requires embracing a whole lot of both. You’re not made to be like everyone else! You’re made to be you. It’s your original design.
So how do we transition from overly self aware to what the heck, I don’t care? The answer just might be easier than you thought. Well, at least the first step. I just finished reading Don Miller’s book: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and the essence is this: You need to write a better story. Or at least edit the heck out of the one you’re currently in. Chances are, it’s boring.
The truth is that we get stuck in old stories, fear (real or imagined), anxiety, rejection and every other reason to sit around and play it safe. But does anyone want to hear that story? Would anyone want to watch that movie? You know the answer. It’s no. No, they wouldn’t.
The stories we want to hear and see are the ones that are unexpected, risky, impossible, or just darn right good. Like those about people who work and risk for a cause beyond themselves. That makes a good story. If the person’s very life is at stake? Well, that makes it great. What story does your life tell? Would you want to hear it?
To write a better story and live your best life you’ve got to give up a few things:
- Pride: One of the deadliest of sins, pride will destroy every good thing in your life. It just will. But it also threatens your future. Pride preemptively kills creativity, wonder, hope and possibility as quickly as it does relationships.
- Permission: Are you a rule follower? Do you need permission before you’re willing to take a risk on you? Let me just shatter that perspective immediately. You were made to do great things. You don’t need permission. Chances are the one holding you back is you.
- Past: Is your past holding you back? Perhaps it’s a rejection, abandonment, or experience that continues to stop you from pursuing a different future. Believe me, I get this wholeheartedly; I even wrote a book about it. Here’s what I know: you need to move through it. You’re not meant to run from it, go around it, or pretend it away. It won’t go. You’re meant to go through it, however long, painful or ridiculous it may seem to others. It’s your story. The only way through is through.
Next, to write a better story and live your best life you’ve got to commit to a few things:
- Purpose: What story are you writing? Why? Would you want to watch it? Ask yourself: What story do I want my life to tell? Forget about the how. The hardest step is saying yes. Yes I will sign up for a marathon. Yes I will go on a mission trip. Yes I will go back to school. Yes I will sacrifice my self for someone else. Yes… When you choose yes for a purpose greater than yourself, in that moment, you are already telling a better story.
- Possibility: Do you know that anything is possible? Impossible exists only in your head. It’s true. Your yes will simply lead to another yes. Or a no. Or a twist. Or a turn. It’s a story. That’s how it works.
- Pursuit: You can’t sit on the couch and write a good story. Just like you can’t eat crap food and expect to be fit. It doesn’t work. You’ve got to pursue it. Question it. Listen to it. Lean in to it’s discomfort. Learn. Good stories are rarely easy, safe, or predictable. Stop trying to map it out, figure it out, or script it. Just pursue it.
Are you already living your best life? If you are, you should probably be writing here instead of me. I’m still learning. But here’s one thing I know for sure: it’s out there. Your best life is waiting for you to unshackle yourself from pride, stop waiting for permission, and journey through your past — so you can find a purpose, full of possibility, and pursue it. That will be a good story. Maybe even a great one. I think I’d probably even like to see it.