Thursday, March 12, 2009

What's Your Story?

Frank was enjoying his day. Everything had gone well that morning, and he was able to stay on task, despite the numerous distractions all around him that attempted to push him a degree off course. He sauntered down the hallway, with his favorite Red Sox mug filled to the brim with a strong cup of coffee. As he entered his office, his desk phone rang – that ring that let him know it was someone calling on his direct line. He set his mug down delicately, eased into his leather swivel rocker, and answered the phone. This was a phone call that could change the course of the rest of Frank’s life…

What happens next? Who is on the other end of the phone call? Is it good news or bad news? Is Frank faced with a grueling decision? There are probably a dozen more questions we could ask. We don’t know how this plays out. But, we know something happened that had the potential to dramatically shape Frank’s life from that moment forward.

And, here’s the lesson for you and me. We are all Frank. All of us wake up, go about our day, engage in conversations, and make choices that put us on a path.

Think of it this way: your life is a book, and each and every day is a chapter in that book. Each decision we make, each task we complete, each word we utter become sentences and paragraphs within the chapter.

Many of us have lives whose stories are page-turners. They are filled with adventure, drama, suspense, horror, tragedy and comedy. And, then there are a few of us whose stories are yawners – we let endless possibilities pass us by without taking a risk.

But, each and every sentence of your story- as you live it out - ends with “…” That’s because we never know what comes next. Will we get the girl? Will we come to someone’s rescue? Will we get that job promotion? Will we choose to speak kind words to someone desperate for hope? Will we choose our family over our career? Will we put someone else ahead of ourselves?

Or, it can go the other way. Will we walk away? Will we throw our arms up? Will we speak harshly to someone who so desperately needs hope? Will we continue to work overtime at the expense of our spouse and children? Will we continue to push our way to the front?

You are faced with countless decisions each and every day. It’s likely you aren’t aware of these “tiny” choices you make every day, but their effects can be profound.

Andy Stanley, in his book The Best Question Ever, talks about the compounding effects of our decisions. One decision, by itself, may not provide a desired – or undesired - result. But, a series of choices will compound – like interest on a credit card balance. If I eat Buffalo wings for dinner, I may have heartburn, but I won’t see a change in my waistline. But, if I do it every day for a month, I would have to loosen my belt a notch. Conversely, if I exercise for 30 minutes, and never do it again, I won’t see any improvement in my physical health. But, if I do it consistently over a longer period of time, I’ll see positive results.

So, what kind of story are you living? Better yet, how do you hope your story ends? That part has not yet been written. Every story needs a compelling opening chapter, but the greatest novels always have an even stronger ending.

Finish well, and begin today by taking a positive attitude and making wise choices to get you there.

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