Because you can.
Start a new chapter. Change the title of your book. Remove the characters that don’t fit anymore and add new ones that do.
While this can apply to your fictional story project, I’m actually talking about your real life.
We all tell certain stories of how our lives go. Sometimes they are stories of joy, success, and triumphs. And then there are those stories of sadness, anger, regret, resentment, fear and failure.
And I’m willing to bet that most of us have more of the latter. We’re human after all.
But if there’s a certain story we’d rather not play out (or continue to), why do we continue to tell it?
You’re the author. You’re in charge. Be the director.
Be the narrator of your story.
If something isn’t clicking with you or if you know that something needs to change, you have the power to edit your story.
So how would you go about doing that?
We are all storytellers.
We’re just not writing the stories we want to write.
When I watched Tony Robbins in one of Oprah’s Master Life classes, something he spoke about really hit me. He said that if we are telling these stories where we play the “victim”, then that’s exactly how it’s going to play out in our lives.
While I consider myself a storyteller because I’m an actor and a writer, moments like this made me realize that we’re all storytellers — you, me, and everyone else. Some people just do it professionally and for a living compared to others.
Re-writing my own story.
In 2011, I started my own business and I called it Video For Shy People. After doing the usual and surveying my target audience, I found that a lot of entrepreneurs wanted help with overcoming their fears of the camera and creating their own videos to market their business.
So I thought, “Great! I’m an actor, I know how to film and edit videos – I can totally help them with this!”. And for two years, that’s exactly what I did.
I helped a great group of remarkable entrepreneurs who I deeply respect and admire on their sales videos, speaker reels, video scripts and on-camera presence. It felt great to see the transformations in their businesses and within themselves.
But deep down inside, something in me was calling my name, trying to get my attention.
At first, I couldn’t quite hear this voice very clearly so the short (and incomplete) message I was receiving was to STOP.
“Stop doing what I was doing, stop offering the services I was offering.”
“Stop online video marketing.”
So of course, I naturally freaked out. “Why was I hearing this? Was my inner voice trying to sabotage my business? Online video marketing is getting hot and everyone’s been telling me how great it is that I’m in this niche.”
And because of this fear that I felt, I continued to neglect this inner voice instead of asking her for clarity.
When you are avoiding something or pushing something to the side, you know deep down that you can’t continue doing that forever. At some point, you need to face the music. So that’s what I finally did this spring (don’t you love transition seasons?).
While I continued to work with my clients, I also went back to journalling. I underwent a deep process of self-inquiry, self-exploration, self-awareness and creative play. I wrote my heart out and I made the commitment to be completely honest with myself. No censoring allowed.
After pages and pages and pages of getting my thoughts out onto paper, I finally found gained clarity. I found the answers I was looking for and I finally heard the message my inner voice was trying to tell me:
Stop being just another ‘online video marketer’.
Start being the storyteller.
I was… speechless. Once I heard this, it hit me hard. I couldn’t move for a few minutes. Not because I was metaphorically paralyzed, but because letting that sink in felt so profound.
Last year, I wrote a blog post about how I got in front of the mic at a retreat I attended and was completely vulnerable.
I had experienced a major breakthrough and my business mentor spotted me — crying. She then asked me to come up to the mic and share my breakthrough. Curious to know why I cried?
Right before I experienced my breakthrough, she asked everyone this question: What would you do if you could not fail? She then gave us 1 minute each to share our thoughts to the person next to us.
When it was my turn to share my answer, I started off with staggered sentences I was trying to complete. My answer finally rolled out of my tongue (effortlessly) when I heard the one minute bell ring.
I would be a storyteller. I’d act, write, and create movies, documentaries, books.
And once I heard that out loud, I cried. (And it wasn’t just a few tears – it was the type of crying that was on the verge of getting really messy, if you know what I mean.)
It was a release.
It was a surrender.
When I got up on the mic to share that with everyone, I felt free and completely present, as if a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
People came up to me during the break and said the most heartfelt things. They connected with me and it was great to feel their support.
So the next few months, I was working on being the story I declared I wanted to be. My inner voice showed up on that mic and I heard her loud and clear.
But then life got in the way. Fear wiggled it’s way back in. Things got stressful. I panicked. I told myself I’ll be a storyteller once I do X, Y, and Z.
Looking back on it now, I realized that my inner voice did continue to drop in for a visit… I unfortunately pushed her to the side, or I’d tell her to come back in a few weeks.
But because this was such an important truth that I really need to own up to, she continued dropping by, until she couldn’t take it anymore and this leads me to where I am today.
Luckily, I was able to hear the message again. This time, I’m fully embracing it.
I’m taking this big leap of re-writing my story.
I’m stepping into my spotlight.
And I want to help you step into yours.
Making the necessary revisions.
Revisions are an important part of any creative process.
Any editor will tell you that when it comes to editing: do it ruthlessly. Cut like a knife. Keep the best parts, get rid of the rest.
It’s all part of the process and the end result would be your best work.
You can do the same with your life.
Look back and make a list of what you loved, what lit you up, what was working, what you’d keep with you.
Now look back and make a list of what you’d never want to experience or encounter again, what didn’t work, what you don’t need, what took the life out of you.
Now think ahead to your future: how do you see this playing out? How do you want it to play out? Remember to be honest with yourself.
Now ask yourself , “As the editor/director/narrator/author of my life…”
> How would I re-write my story from this moment forward?
> How would I want my story to unfold?
> What are the possible endings I’d love to have happen?
> What revisions would you need to make now to make the events you pictured happen in your future?
These are the questions I asked myself, too.
It’s really important that you listen to your inner voice when answering these questions.
It’s even more important to put yourself first, to be a little selfish.
You need to put yourself first with the self-inquiry process.
Step into your spotlight, even if it’s uncomfortable or if you feel guilty.
Because truthfully, if you put everyone else above yourself, you’ll be doing yourself (and everyone else) a great disservice.
When you operate from a state of joy, everyone benefits. (Anyone carrying negative vibes is bound to rub off on just about anyone they come in contact with.)
So take charge and answer freely.
When you become more aware of how you’ve been living, how you’ve been making (or not making) decisions, you’ll start to become more conscious of each choice you make moving forward.
Are you ready to re-write your story?