Coaching Corner: The Story of Your Life
- Wednesday, February 22, 2006
With every step of our lives we enter into the middle of some story which we are certain to misunderstand.
— G.K. Chesterton.
You know how no matter which lane you choose on the freeway you seem to have this magical ability to end up behind the one oblivious slow driver? Or you know when you finally make time to go for that bike ride you’ve been craving all week, and one mile into it you get a flat? Or when you go to the grocery store only to realize you forgot your wallet at home?
When frustrating things like that happen, I have this terrible habit of letting out a sigh, then muttering under my breath, “It’s the story of my life.”
It’s an awful habit. Horrible! Why? Because even though it’s mindless – I usually don’t even realize I’m saying it until after the fact – I know it has a subtle impact on my perspective on my life. Is it really the “story of my life” just to encounter one frustration after another, day after day, with no progress and no end in sight? Of course not! But If I begin to believe it is – even subconsciously – then that is probably all I will see, regardless of the actual truth of my life story.
So what is the “actual truth” about your own life story? When you peel back all of the habitual perspectives and automatic thinking, and step way back and take in the grand view of your life’s journey so far, what do you see? What really is the Story of your life?
This question actually points to a fascinating coaching tool I love to use with clients. I offer it here for you to try for yourself: Set aside several hours over the next few weeks to write a 3-to-5 page synopsis describing the story of your life. In other words, if the life you’ve lived thus far were captured in story form, what would the story be? What are the key events? Who are the primary characters? What are the driving themes? What is the message – or messages – your life’s story is telling the world?”
This simple tool provides an amazing way to get perspective on your life – to see truthfully where you’ve come from, the journey you’ve taken, and where you really are right now. Once you’ve completed the synopsis, take note of your own reactions to it. Are you disappointed? Proud? Angry? Delighted? Why do you suppose you’re reacting the way you are?
From there, let dreaming take over:
What do you want the story of your life to be? What theme or message do you want your story to ultimately broadcast to the world?
What would you have to begin doing now for your life’s story to move in the direction you want?
What would you have to let go of in order to move your story in the direction you desire?
What is the even bigger story here? What is the story that God is wanting to tell through your life?
What is the story God wants to tell through your life this year?
How will you let that story unfold, beginning today?
Viewing your life as a grand story really lets you connect with the true essence of your heart’s desire. And it gives you a clear vision for the direction and focus you really want your life to have.
But more than this, the tool connects you to a deeper truth: God really does have a story he wants to tell through your life. It’s a beautiful story, a grand tale of adventure and redemption and freedom and love. But he isn’t the only author working on the narrative. You are co-writing with God the story of your own life.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the two of you chose to work as intimate allies this year in co-creating the next chapter of your story? What would be possible then?
Michael D. Warden is a Professional Co-Active Coach, nationally certified through the Coaches Training Institute, and a member of the International Coach Federation. Michael’s clients’ one common trait is their passion to live a bigger life – to discover what they're here for, and boldly go after that vision with confidence and authenticity. Find more on his life and work at www.michaelwarden.com.
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