Your Life Can Be a Great Story
What’s your life story?
When I meet people for the first time, as soon as the introductions are out of the way, I ask them to share their stories—to tell me who they are and where they’re from, where they’ve been and where they’re going. I want to understand what matters to them. Maybe you do the same. The telling of our stories becomes an emotional connecting point for us. It bridges the gap between us.
Why is that?
Everyone loves a good story—we always have. Stories tell us who we are. They…
connect with us.
animate our reasoning process.
give us permission to act.
fire our emotions.
give us pictures of who we aspire to be.
Stories are us.
Every day, millions of people watch movies, read novels, and search the Internet for stories that inspire them or make them laugh. Every day, we listen to our friends tell us about the dramatic or funny things that happen to them. Every day, people take out their smart phones to show pictures and share stories. Stories are how we relate to others, learn, and remember.
I believe that no matter what “plot” each of our stories may follow, deep down we all want one thing. We want our lives to matter. We want our stories to be of significance. So here are two more questions:
Do you believe you can live a life of significance, that you can do things that really matter? Can you make your story great?
With all my heart, I believe the answer to these questions is yes. You have it within your power to make your life a great story, one of significance. And don’t let the word significance intimidate you. I’m not talking about being famous. I’m not talking about getting rich. I’m not talking about being a huge celebrity or winning a Nobel Prize or becoming the president of the United States. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, but you don’t have to accomplish any of them to be significant. To be significant, all you have to do is make a difference with others wherever you are, with whatever you have, day by day.
So what’s the secret to filling the pages of your life? What’s the key to a life that matters?
Living each day with intentionality.
When you live each day with intentionality, there’s almost no limit to what you can do. You can transform yourself, your family, your community, and your nation. When enough people do that, they can change the world. When you intentionally use your everyday life to bring about positive change in the lives of others, you begin to live a life of significance. Intentional living is the bridge that crosses the gap to a life that matters.
If you’re like me and want to make a difference and have a significance story to tell by the end of your life, the first thing you need to do is be willing to take an important step forward. And that comes from a willingness to start writing your story by approaching your life differently. Here are three things you can do right now to start making your life a great story:
Evaluate Your Story So Far
How would you characterize your life story so far? Take some time to think about it by writing about it. You can do that any number of ways. The how isn’t that important. What matters is that you take the time to do it, and be sure to think about whether your story is headed in the direction you want it to go by the time you’re done living.
Start Outlining a New Chapter
If the direction of your life isn’t all that you want it to be, then take some time to write out what you want to accomplish to make the world a better place. It doesn’t need to be lofty or earth-shattering. It just needs to make a difference in some way that’s important to you. What would you like people to say at your funeral? Write it now.
Step into Your Story
Now try to discern what it would mean for you to become more proactive in making your life matter and stepping into your own story. Identify what single action you could take today and every day for the next week or month to start rewriting your own story. As Doug Horton says, “Be your own hero. It’s cheaper than a movie ticket.”
By John Maxwell
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