Reflections on losing a job, and rewriting our story

 

Charles was let go due to downsizing last week. It was really unexpected and a lot to process over the weekend. But we're emerging with one dominant thought: this is our opportunity to rewrite our story.

He and I have had a theory for awhile that people have stories that they tell themselves about their life. These are usually created subconsciously as we grow up and experience the world. Every adult has a story they're living that was created based on their past experiences. And we believe it and live it out dutifully until something changes it. I believe anyone can choose to change their story and embrace the power of doing so to reinvent their life. It all starts with changing your thinking. What you think determines how you feel, and your thoughts and emotions create your inner reality, which you then produce as your external reality.

I read a book over the holidays by Dr. Caroline Leaf, called Who Switched Off My Brain? The title doesn't do justice to the book. In it she goes through methodically and lays out the science for how your thoughts actually create the structure of your brain and determine your reality.

Changing your thoughts has the ability not only to change what you think and do, but also the physical health of the systems in your body. She also talks about how it's actually a real, healthy thing to listen to your heart or to listen to your gut. My two practical takeaways from the book, beyond the importance of thought in general, was to listen to my heart and to talk to myself out loud.

We had thought about making a change for awhile, but loyalty and stability were keeping us where we were, even though we knew we had outgrown it and that we longed for something more, something new and different, more in line with the vision that has been growing in our hearts for the past few years.

So now we've got so much freedom, it's scary.

But we're embracing it and being open. That's why we're going to put our house on the market, and apply for jobs across the country. We might end up staying here but for us this season about being open - including to the new and unexpected, about dreaming, about writing a new Story together for our family. And it's going to take a lot of effort to change our story, to shift our identity, to let the old one die and a new one take shape.

But it's going to be a joyful journey, the only one for me that has any draw. You know you're really on your way when the old story begins to wilt before the new one has fully taken shape. That's the feeling of being pushed out of the nest. When nothing in the big scary future is as scary as staying where you've been, that's the sweet spot to learn to fly.

I love the way Bo Eason talks about how to share a story from your past in an effective way. What I'm talking about here is how to tell yourself a Story about your future in order to determine the script that you are going to be living out. But I believe the story of your past is one you should learn to capture and tell in a way that allows you to connect with an audience, convey your values, and impart truth on an emotional level.

And then what I think is really exciting is the story of transition. It sits between the story of your past which we can choose to view with a redemptive or grateful perspective, and the story of your future which is what you visualize and imagine in detail in order to get your brain thinking about how to get you from here to there. Your future story is full of goals and dreams and aspirations, of the person you want to be, the life you want to live, the impact you want to make.

In order to change your story, you've got to sit in that tenuous place of transition, where you mine your past for clues until you find your true purpose and identity, you project those into the future, creating an image and a Vision that feels larger than life. When you get that amazing gut reaction of recognition that makes you cry with joy that you've found something you've lost, that you can feel in your body was your truth, your mission, your destiny. When you find that feeling, you've accomplished this step of digging below your surface story to find the one thread you need to follow to create a new one that is really YOU, truly Your Story.

And when you find that, you'll journal and write affirmations and do a vision board, you'll do everything that helps you to capture that compelling vision of the future, that Story that resonates with your gut. And you'll become determined to grow into it.

And then when you have that, you're ready (you'll constantly question whether you are ready, but you are), you're ready to walk out in your day to day life, right NOW, the craziness that will be the work of living in your old reality and doing the work of folding your new future reality into it slowly, so that you methodically transform your life from old to new.

This requires you to keep your vision, the image of your future constantly on your mind, and to know in your soul that it is your new and true reality. The real trick here is to marry practicality and faith in a way where you do the responsible things in the here and now that you need to do, while holding the Story you have created about your future and your new reality as a Truth in your mind that you will carry with you until it becomes your reality.

That journey is where I'm at, and I'll have to judge how much to share, but I feel compelled to share my journey with you through this season to help you see that it is possible to change your Life and your Story, and to provide both an emotional example to build your faith, and also some practical ways to walk that line of faith and practicality.

I'll tell you right now, that God will put the right people in your life. When you need someone in this role, just look and they will already be there.

I see now that my husband is the practicality that balances out my positivity, and seeing this reaffirms in just another way that we are truly equipped and called to walk this journey together.

I'm working consistently to cultivate a crazy dream of where I know he and I have always wanted to go as a family. The more I visualize and embrace that mental path, the more I walk it back and forth in my morning routine, the more it takes shape and starts to become real.

But then when my husband is successfully driving Lyft less than 48 hours after being let go, that helps me see that I should accept most or all of the money making opportunities that I have right now to work with clients, instead of overthinking which ones best fit the big vision I'm creating - while at the same time mining my experiences to see the thread that will guide me forward, so that as I go forward and do have the opportunity to focus and choose, I will know which clients to take on or to continue working with.

With so much sudden freedom, and openness to change, and financial instability, faith and joy have been present, but clarity has been elusive.

But thinking of my current situation in terms of navigating faith and practicality helps me to see the way forward, and reminds me to lean on my husband to balance me out, knowing that between our temperaments, in our joint decisions will lie the way forward.

Have you thought about your life as a story?

You have a script that you believe about your life, and if you don't like where it's taken you, you have the opportunity to mine it for the good, for the nuggets that will point the way forward, and then to embark on the journey of rewriting your script, changing direction, forging a new path.

My main caution in that is to not do it too quickly or rashly, go slow enough to stay in alignment with your values, to act out of love rather than fear, and to prioritize the relationships in your life that are integral to your journey. When you focus on love and service, rather than fear or hurt, you will find your true way forward.

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