We are all familiar with the start of a story that begins with, “Once upon a time.” What if that time is right now? What if years from now someone tells our story based on what they know about us, what they have observed in us, and what they have experienced through us? They may just begin with, “Once upon a time,” and then fill in the rest of our story based on what they remember about us.
Here’s the thing, those stories that are told in the future will be based on what we are doing right now, today, and in all the tomorrows of our lives. The good news is that we get to control that narrative, don’t we? And we control that narrative based on our behaviors, our contributions, the words we use, how we respond to situations, our experiences, and by living out our story in such a way that whoever we meet remembers us as someone who made their day, their job, and their life a little brighter.
When we think about our “Once upon a time” story that people will share, we should not worry about our past mistakes or failures because they are behind us now. We need to own and always learn from those mistakes and failures, but we should also remember that we have the opportunity to create our new story. The story that we really want to live and that we choose to live, and the one that we can start to begin authoring right now.
And maybe it is not a new story at all. Maybe we love the story we have lived and that we are living right now. And from this moment forward we can continue to write the rest of our story, we can build upon our journey by living more “Once upon a time” moments that helped shape how others will remember us and how we may have made a difference in their lives in some way.
Right now may seem like a fleeting moment in time, and that may be true. But years from now we will look back at all of our collective fleeting moments, all the moments that seemed fleeting and maybe insignificant at the time, but the moments that over time shaped our life story. So, whatever it is we are doing right now, what we will do later today, and what we do in the fleeting but significant moments of tomorrow all matter. You matter. Your story matters.
Once upon a time there was a young man who seemed to move from job to job with no goals or vision for his future. Living for the moment, the fun, and the paycheck. He was never thinking about the life story that he was writing. This went on until one day he heard someone else share their life story. It was a story about living a life as a wandering generality, a life absent of goals and dreams until one day someone else came along and made a difference in their life. They taught them about hope, and they taught them how to grow from being a wandering generality to becoming a meaningful specific. In that moment the young man understood that he mattered, his story mattered, and that he wanted his “Once upon a time” story to change. That young man was me.
So how about you? How is your story being written? Are you the author or just the reader? If you are happy with your story, I encourage you to keep writing it. And if you don’t like the way the story is going so far, just remember that you can rewrite it starting right now. As always, I would love to hear your story at email@example.com, and when we live each moment of each day thinking about how people will one day share our “Once upon a time” story, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of Tramazing.com, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.
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