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Bookmark Your Story..

By: Julie Escobar
 

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The Power of Taking a Break from the Past

By Julie Escobar

I was on a long drive with a good friend the other day and we got to talking about how some people get so caught up in their own “story” that they leave little room for anyone else.  We were thinking about how unproductive (and sometimes sad) that can be because it can so easily become a trap THAT leaves little room for people to get out of their own way enough to get to what’s really important in the here and now.

Sound like anyone you know?  To be honest, we’re all guilty of it from time to time.  You know those days where you feel the need to drag out the emotional steamer trunk full of your childhood shoulda, coulda, woulda’s or the laundry list of misdeeds, misfortunes or misgivings you’ve endured throughout your life and throw yourself a fine pity party complete with cone hats and balloons.  All right, maybe not you-right?  You’ve evolved past all that but you’ve heard “the stories.”  The “my mom didn’t,” “my dad was,” “I never got to,” “If only I had,” rationale that people use to explain away their failed relationship or unsuccessful climb up the corporate or entrepreneurial ladder.  Heck, we even laugh about it in my house, when the kids start complaining about whatever their lot in life is that day I always say, “don’t make me break out the ‘when I was your age’ speech!”  (Come on, you’ve got one of those too!)

Anyway, in the middle of the conversation I thought what if we could just have a big, fat bookmark for those kind of days?  Some kind of trigger that would remind us to stop for a minute, ‘dog-ear’ our story and get on with the business of living in the present and taking full advantage of what’s right in front of us.  So let’s do that.  Let’s play a game of “WHAT IF” and see what happens…

What if…

You bookmarked your story just for today and stopped talking and really started listening?  What would you hear?  What could you learn?  I suspect that you’d learn that your ‘story’ is pretty mild by comparison to some.  You might marvel at those who’ve come from way less, seemingly through a gauntlet of odds only to rise to the occasion, use those experiences as rocket-boosters rather than anchors and now command the respect of their peers and reap the rewards of their hard work and journey.  You might pick up on a trend, a tool or a technique you hadn’t heard before because you were telling your version of whatever’s going on in your life.  You know my mom was famous for that whole “you have two ears and one mouth in that proportion for a reason” philosophy.  It’s a good one.  Stop today and listen.

What if…

You stopped looking at your story, your past, your ‘reasons’ and started to look, really look at what opportunities today could bring.  Could you see a niche that would be perfect for you to jump into, enjoy and catapult into a great business model?  Could you see what a seasoned salesperson is doing differently than you are perhaps to create sustainable, repeatable results without worrying about what the market might or might not do?  Could you maybe see what a young, brand new person is using in terms of social marketing or new, innovative technology that could very well  teach a lot of the ‘old dogs’ in our industry some seriously cool new tricks?  Could you see a friend in need, a spouse who requires more attention, or a child who just wants to play and learn from you?  Stop today and look.

What if…

You stopped today and turned your story around and saw it for the opportunities and lessons it created rather than the burden you perceive it to be or how you think it prevented you from getting what you wanted.  Has your story, or the ‘tough stuff’ in it made you stronger?  Did it give you perspective?  Did it teach you to try harder?   Did you maybe have to grow up earlier than others but that gave you a maturity that helped you get to where you are faster?  Maybe it taught you to steer clear of certain addictions, behaviors or character traits?  You know, I’ve often told my kids when they have a problem they’re struggling with the turn it over, flip it upside down, shake it loose and look at it again.  Sometimes, right there in the heart of the problem is the answer or opportunity but you can’t see it because you so focused on staring at one side of it.  So today, turn your story around and see it for the positives it afforded you in life rather than the negatives that you can do without.

What if…

Your story has a few “holes.”  You know, we all create our own realities and sometimes we can take some tiny incident in our past and by the time we’re 30, 40, 50 or more years old it’s become the 300 pound gorilla that’s sitting on our dreams.  Want to REALLY make a difference in your life?  Send the gorilla packing, stop fueling the ‘story’ and start affirming and inviting in the great stuff that this day, this business, this world has to offer.  It’s OK to let it go.  Where you’ve been and what you’ve been through, the good bad and the ugly of it will always be a part of you but it doesn’t have to define you, your life or your future.  That’s up to you and it’s “wicked great” as my cousin would say that you get to choose how you want to serve it up every day.

So today remember mindset does matter and while I thank you for playing the ‘what if’ game with me, it’s as good a time as any to stop focusing on your ‘story’ for a little while and dive into the present.   There’s a lot to learn, a lot to celebrate and a lot still to discover.  I challenge you to try.  It’s pretty liberating stuff when you do.  Leave a comment and tell me how the day went!  I’d love to hear!  Make it extraordinary!

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