I'd genuinely like to know: How do YOU know when you're doing pretty good at life?
I ask because, by all outward measures, you could be KILLING it -- doing good work, making decent money, secure in your relationships, enjoying your physical health and a roof over your head and a home-cooked meal on the table...
And STILL find ways to torture yourself about whether you're "doing enough" or "growing enough" or even just "good enough" as you are.
I'll be honest: The past week has been an emotional rollercoaster for me.
Partly because, although I love working for myself and the crazy adventure I've managed to make of it, sometimes the reality hits:
That pretty much ALL the urgency I feel around creating and delivering value into the world?
... Is completely MADE UP by me.
No one asked me to build a business around storytelling, and as far as I can tell, there's no one looking over my shoulder with a stick in one hand and a carrot in the other, making sure I'm "doing it right."
Mostly I find this rewarding and fun (ESPECIALLY when I look back several years ago, when I was working full time at a job that wasn't right for me under a boss I didn't respect in exchange for a steady but mediocre salary, and mourning what felt like the slow suffocating death of all the great and unique things I had to contribute).
Mostly I enjoy the freedom and empowerment that comes with firing on all creative cylinders, recognizing needs I can uniquely meet and then creating things to meet them.
But sometimes, like today, I'll catch myself thinking:
"I don't have time to call my friends and family today, because I have to write my Sunday Story and edit the script for the next film shoot tomorrow AND draft that proposal I promised."
And then I'm like:
"It's SUNDAY, and every one of those deadlines was invented... by YOU."
And THEN as I head to the kitchen to make second coffee it will occur to me for the eighth time in two days that I really haven't used my PHYSICAL BODY since we got off the bikes two weeks ago, because I've been so caught up in the creative sprint that is pouring your heart-and-soul-and-intellectual-expertise into making a digital product that you KNOW will really help people and offering it up to the world's cold, clinical judgment like a mother holding her newborn baby aloft at a beauty pageant.
And THEN I'll sit back down and notice that a SINGLE person has unsubscribed from my list, which normally I can accept as the side effect of putting yourself out there but which at THIS particular moment feels like a COMPLETE and cosmic dismissal of everything I've ever written or done...
... And THAT'S when I start to feel the immense vulnerability that comes hand-in-hand with creating ANYTHING at all.
And although I know the feeling will pass...
Sometimes all we really need is for someone to hold up a mirror and say: "Look at you! You're doing GREAT."
Which is often enough to help you snap right out of it.
And which is, ironically, a big reason why I love working with people on their stories.
... Because so much of my role? Is just to BE that mirror.
To show people how great they're already doing.
To show youhow meaningful your story ALREADY is. (And give you a few structure and language tweaks, so that you can show OTHERS as much.)
Often I'll summarize something back to the client, and they'll say:
"Wow! It sounds pretty great when you say it like that."
Which is when I must remind them:
"These are your ideas. I'm just showing them to you in a different order, in slightly different language, and without all the fear and self-doubt attached."
And this is always quite a powerful moment.
The moment when you really, truly recognize the inherent value that exists in your story.
So today, I want YOU to know, dear reader -- that whatever you're doing?
You're doing GREAT.
And just because you may struggle at times to articulate that greatness to yourself, or to others?
Know first: That you're not alone.
And second: That it doesn't mean it's not there already... waiting to be reflected back at you.