I have never met an inspiring person who had an easy life. Think about that. Who is someone you look up to? Were they given everything? Did their achievement and character come without hard work? Sacrifice? Suffering? I would venture to say if someone has the ability to pull at your heartstrings, it’s because they struggled.
I think the animating force behind any group that thrives is the idea that you are not alone. You aren’t the only one going through this. Someone has been there before. Someone is there for you now. It’s why I love our international sales meetings that happen twice a year.
In January and July, people stand on stage and tell their own personal story that led to whatever award they’re celebrating. And guess what every single speech with almost no exception has in common? Getting to that moment of clarity, peace, success...was anything but easy. It required mental fortitude.
All great stories need conflict. Any characters who have moved us deeply had to become and overcome. Epics weren’t written about the entitled, easygoing, lazy, or negative. They were written about those whose vision of what mattered in life was so crystal clear they not only knew what they should do, they knew what they absolutely had to do.
We tell ourselves a lot of stories. We have a constant track running in our heads: self-talk, the inner dialogue, the voices in our head, the messages we tell ourselves. The unintentional, unconscious voice is generally negative.
“I’m not good enough. This isn’t my fault. These circumstances are out of my control. If only I had more money. If only I had more time. If only I had more opportunity. If only I was smarter, stronger, prettier, braver...”
The power of positive thinking is not hocus-pocus magic. There is no “Secret.” It’s not some supernatural ritual to channel the universe. It’s psychology. It’s a testament to the fact that what we think about the most wins. Thoughts shape our behavior and, therefore, our outcomes.
I used to think writing out and telling yourself positive affirmations about the person you’re becoming sounded cheesy and superficial. I thought that until I started noticing the voice that had been speaking under the surface for years without me knowing it. And it wasn’t a positive voice...
I learned my default mode was negative. I also learned that negativity sticks to the brain like Velcro, but positive, grateful thoughts slide right off like Teflon unless an intentional practice of gratitude is implemented. I learned that why you do what you do must come before what you do, or the first time you encounter what isn’t enjoyable, you’ll give up.
What stories are not just running under the surface but are running, or dare I say ruining, your life? What are you leaving on the table? What version of yourself are you stealing from those you love? What dreams stay dreams because you tell yourself it’s impossible?
Tell a different story. Tell a better story. Whatever you do, decide to tell your own story. If you don’t, the world and your mind—that’s great at searching for threats in the African bush but not at growing spiritually and emotionally—will tell you one you don’t choose.