What’s your story?

All of us have a story for our lives, but I think all too often, we coast along without some grand vision for what our story should ultimately be.

Sometimes a direct approach is the wrong path to take, so we take a lateral drift, coasting along until we figure out what to do next.

It’s okay for a while, but if you do it too long, you’ll end up completely swayed by whatever is around you. You’ll end up spineless and without any sort of conviction, blown by whatever is popular at the moment.

On the other hand, we can get so caught up in the moment that we fail to look at the bigger picture of our lives.

Angry birds of distraction

We get distracted by every day things like school, jobs, maintaining the car, the rent, the dog food, the bills, keeping kids clothed and fed, all the things that turn into a daily to-do list that we dutifully fulfill every day.When that’s done, we’re exhausted, so we plop in front of the TV for a few hours before bed. Right?

If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself in an existential tight spot, realizing you could’ve taken more advantage of those hours you frittered away playing Angry Birds instead of being more intentional with your time.

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you. No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun. “Time” – Pink Floyd, 1973
I’m not trying to get all Cognitive Surplus here (though that’s not a bad idea at all) but I do have a couple of quick suggestions.

Don Miller at the Bat

A few days ago Don Miller wrote a thoughtful blog post about how he sees himself as a baseball player at bat, and all these balls are being lobbed at him every day. Not just a few, but thousands, in the form of emails, phone calls, text messages, and more. He feels like his job is to only hit three or five of them really well, and knock them out of the park. Just those few. Because he is busy with his next book, an upcoming conference he is organizing, and a business he is running, among a couple of other things. So he winds up with a lot of unanswered emails, but he’s okay with that.

Blaine Hogan’s Wallpaper

Then I got an email from Blaine Hogan where he shared this cool wallpaper the other day that asks two questions:

  1. What story do you want to tell?
  2. How do you want to tell it?
Blaine admits that for a long time he put the HOW before the WHAT or WHY. He wanted to make movies that told great stories, put on killer productions that moved people, that sort of thing. He realized that’s backwards. The story comes first. The why is more important than the how. Once he changed his thinking, it started clicking better for him.

What about you?

What’s your story? Your big picture, what does that look like? And how are you going to make that happen?

Image credit: Desert Island sketch: Brad Blackman. Rollerball on copy paper, colored in Photoshop. Nothing fancy.