We ended last week by discussing stories. The stories we tell ourselves to prevent us from trying new ideas and concepts. I shared some of the stories from my life and how they have affected me. We even looked at stories that others tell us about ourselves. We looked at how we view stories, events and people from our past and how that can have an effect on our future. All of these examples can show how important stories are to our development and overall well-being.

Today we are going to look at your story. In the last few years I have learned so much from listening to the stories of others. Whether it is the stories from my friends Cari and Kelly who show me that even people coming from some of the most challenging circumstances can grow into some of the most loving people with wonderful souls. Listening to the stories about my lovely Margie helped me to better understand the woman I love and the people in her life that helped form her into the divine lady that she is today.

I know I could learn a lot from your story as well. That may sound like a bold claim considering the people who read this span the entire globe. You may be asking what can I learn from the individual from Tunisia who read this on Sunday? I can’t say exactly, but I can tell you for sure something. The examples may not be something I can relate to, for example I have friends who were abused, in foster care, divorced, lost children and a host of other challenges I have not faced. In them I can learn the principles of hope, faith, determination and love. I am eternally grateful to each and every person who shares their story with me.

You may think that your life does not offer any inspiration, but I am here to tell you nothing could be further from the truth. I have heard stories from a friend in Romania about listening to certain music on the way to work. I have heard stories from my friend in Australia about the way she discovers indigenous medicine by visiting local markets. My friend from Mexico shares challenges that the local economy and health care cause him to face in his country. These are but a few of the countless stories I hear each and every day. Even those who share stories about their love, good fortune or healing give me a joyous feeling in my heart.

Perhaps you still think your story is nothing special? “I am just a person who wakes up and works to pay the bills.” Let me tell you that your story, and your life may be just what someone else needs to hear. It may be the challenges or amusing stories you have to offer about your chosen line of work. It may be amusing stories and episodes you have had raising your children. Maybe it is even the way you have approached a health challenge you have. After more then 20 years in the self-improvement field, I can tell you without a doubt, one of the most common feelings people deal with is feeling alone. Knowing that there is somebody else in the world who is facing the same challenge or has even made it through that challenge, can give their heart a little peace.

Please share your story. It may not seem like much to you and you may not understand how it will help anyone else, but it will. Whether you wish to start a blog like this one, write your own book or start a YouTube channel, please get your story out there. Someone is needing to hear just what you have to say. They may be in Armenia, Brazil or Zaire but they are out there. If you need any advice or suggestions on how to get started you can ask yours truly or make good use of Google which has many helpful tutorials.

It’s all up to you…

When talking to people about increasing the joy and passion in their lives I often hear such lines as “If I had more money I would be happy” or “I just was born under a lucky star” or even “You don’t understand all the bad things that I grew up with”.  It is no secret some people are born with more resources than others.  More money, more education, a large support network, but these can be just as much of an obstacle as a gift.  Sometimes being raised in such an environment can be as much of an obstacle as an advantage.  How can being born in ‘all the right situations’ be an obstacle you may be thinking.  Being raised with things that others do not have often robs us of that drive for a better life.  That is not to say all people who are blessed with being born in the right circumstances are lazy, quite the contrary.  Circumstances are what we make of them.  For those of you shaking your head, let me give you some proof.  First, let us flip this story around.  What would you predict for a girl born to a 13-year-old single mother?  Let’s say that girl after the age of nine is physically, emotionally and even sexual abused from the age of nine?  What if that same girl finds herself pregnant at the age of 13 as well? Not looking so good is it?  Now let us say this girl leaves her mother to find her father at the age of fourteen and 8 months along, and then shortly after arriving there gives birth to a still-born child.  What would be your prediction for this young lady? Well that event could have destroyed, and rightfully so, any fragile teenage soul, but it only served to galvanize this young lady.  She applied herself in school remained focused on her goals and while being employed as a journalist was offered her own daytime talk show.  You see Oprah Winfrey did not let her circumstances define her.  She knew the life she wanted, and when she couldn’t find it, went out and created it.  So let’s do ourselves a favor and not cater to our present or past situations. Let us not be defined by events we had little or no control over.  Let us be defined by our future, and by what we are yet to become! Let us create our own future, starting today.