A couple of weeks ago I heard a story through the podcast Inspired to Action by Kat Lee. It was brief but the lesson had an impact on me. It was the story of Isaiah Austin, when he was in middle school his eyesight left one of his eyes, it was a dream of his to play sports and he was devastated that his dream wouldn’t come to pass. His mother told him, he could either make this his excuse or his story. He went on to play basketball professionally.
The line, this can either be your excuse or your story, summed up my whole life. I used to make many, many excuses; I have no support, my day didn’t start the way I wanted, my expectations were not met, etc. I let things happen to me, I was acted upon and I never took control of myself. The one person in my life I can control and change? Myself.
I’ll have one bad thing happen in the morning and then I start telling myself, ‘Well today is going to suck.’ That one event was my excuse to making my day terrible/complaining about my day. Upon reflection, was it really a bad day or just a bad 5 minutes? I’m the one in control of my day and what did I do to change what happened?
All the ‘bad’ events in my life, I can either tell myself I have a bad life, I am the sum of the mistakes I’ve made or learn from those lessons and help them guide me to be a better person and write the story that I want for myself.
About 8 years ago now I was living a life I was dissatisfied with. I wasn’t making good choices or really making any choices, I was so indecisive and I just let people act upon me. I was in a relationship that I didn’t want but didn’t know what else to do in my life and I didn’t want to be alone. I had always pictured my life as being happily married, several children, having gone to college for something, being involved in my community and having some sort of connection with God. Where I was at the time and my lack of choosing wasn’t leading me anywhere near that image.
I remember the day that I made a change.
I didn’t have to work that day and I was catching up on some laundry. I had a stackable washer and dryer in my apartment and I had climbed on a bar stool to reach some items in the back of the dryer. I fell and hurt myself. At first I held back my tears because I felt like a child for crying over some bumps and bruises then I realized no one was there to scold me and I should just let them flow. So I did; it was like a flood had been released. At first I did cry about my scrapes but as I let it out I realized I was crying about my life. How much I hated it, I wasn’t doing anything with myself and the choices I did make I felt made me a bad person. I felt like what Alma the younger wrote about his experience in (Book of Mormon) Alma 36:17:
“And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins…”
I was in torment. After what seemed like hours of laying on the floor crying I decided then that I was going to start making changes to my life. I didn’t need to let life happen to me, I needed to life my live. I made a plan on how to move forward. Honestly along that path I still made some major mistakes but I didn’t change my course, I knew what I wanted and what I needed to do to get there.
Now with this blog I’m sharing my story; the events of what has happened in my life are the chapters that will build my life story. The plan I had for myself? I’m living it right now. I still have my ups and downs, but ultimately my life is what I had wanted for myself; I wouldn’t change where I am.
My hope is that you rid yourself of your excuses and start writing your story. You are the only one standing in the way of what you want.
This Wednesday I’m starting a short blog series on updating my toolbox (the #1 item) and would love for you to create your own with me or update what ever system you have.
As always I would love your hear your story and possibly have you share here on the blog, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.