As I write on this subject, I want people to understand something. By no means do I have it all figured out. I struggle everyday to make the right decisions about how hard I should work, where my energy should be focused, and trying to pay attention to my attitude and how I am presenting myself. It is a constant self-check to make sure I’m making the right decisions for me, and what I want to achieve. And guess what? I don’t always make the right decisions! One thing that I have done a better job at in the last few years though is taking control of my own story. Let me explain.
In life, it is easy complain and blame things on others, or on bad luck. I believe that this is a waste of time and most often is counter-productive. Instead of wasting energy on the things that went wrong, try thinking about what you could have done differently to make them go your way. If there’s nothing you could have done differently, then consider the next steps you can take to turn the outcome from a negative into a positive.
Taking control of your story is about making the decision to be productive. It’s about figuring out what you want to achieve, big or small as it might be, and then taking steps in that direction. Being productive doesn’t just mean being active. Being productive means doing what you are doing for a reason. It means that you are using your time in a calculated fashion to work towards what you want to achieve. If you are not getting the results you want, then reassess and make changes. This is how you start to take control of your story.
Things most definitely will go wrong at some point. It may be your fault or it may not. That part doesn’t matter. What does matter though, is whether or not you learn from it and find a way to turn the outcome into a positive. No matter how negative a situation may seem, if you choose to find a way to turn it into a positive, you are then taking control of the journey.
Another benefit that I have noticed from taking control of my story is that it has allowed less room for complaining or worrying about what others are doing. The time and energy that I may have used for those counter-productive activities quickly gets taken up by planning my next step and trying to figure out how to get past whatever obstacle is blocking me. But again, to be clear, by no means am I perfect at this. I still do complain from time to time. But every day, I work to take control of my story and where it’s going.
On my journey to become a basketball coach, I received more rejection letters, emails, and phone calls, than I can count. Not to mention, the number of people that never even got back to me. It would have been very easy for me to say, “Life’s not fair,” and believe me, there were times when I did. But I understood that, that attitude would achieve nothing. I needed to keep pressing forward, sending the next letter or make the next phone call. I did my best not to let rejections dictate my actions or how I felt about myself, but to say I was frustrated would be an understatement. I still knew I was a good coach. I just needed the opportunity to prove it.
So how can this translate for you? Take this time to decide how hard you are willing to work. How much are you willing to sacrifice to achieve your goals? What will your actions and reactions be to events in the future? You make the decisions. If something doesn’t go your way, make the decision to take a positive action, rather than complain in a negative fashion. If something does go your way, great! How can you replicate that outcome or improve it somehow? This is how you start to take control of your story. Again, taking control of your story doesn’t mean that you will be able to control every aspect of your daily life. That is ridiculous. It also doesn’t mean that that you will never have setbacks, or that events will always go your way. What taking control of your life means is taking ownership of your decisions. Decide what you want to achieve. Decide what steps you are going to take to achieve that. As you see the results, decide how you are going to react. And then decide your next action. Do not be passive and let life come at you. Attack it! Control your story….or at least as much as you can!
Remember to enjoy the journey!