You do know you are amazing?
A story in the making, full of joy, sadness, hope and vulnerability. An inspiration, even if you feel small and incomplete.
How do I know? Because it is the story of all of us. We all have our amazing life story. Of course, it is easy to hide behind “no one will care” or “but, I have done nothing really” or “not compared to what she has done”, but that is true of all us too.
I love your story. I know this even without knowing you, because I know it will hold truths and ideas and adventures and missed moments and lost loves. Whatever feels ordinary for you, your story will always have the capacity to inspire others. More importantly, when you need it, your story is the soft blanket of reassurance you can wrap around your shoulders when days are less comfortable to bear.
If I am helping people to reflect on change, or to cope with moments of stress and discomfort, I often start by asking them to write the self-reflective story of their career thus far. The highs, and lows, the feelings and the moments that shifted gear and changed their worlds. The stories then told, I promise you, would inspire anyone. The stories also seem to give purpose and momentum and reassurance for what is happening now, and for the adventures to come.
Every week I sit with my laptop to write my blog and I look at the blank page. I want to write because it is a sort of therapy for a swirling mind. Inside my head I can feel the discordant sounds building in volume. It feels like the noise an orchestra makes warming up before a performance. I know that each sound is hopefully useful and lovely in its way, but when they are played over each other, they become a tumbling din. Writing for me calms the din; it separates the strands of noise and allows me to see the colour of a sound and hear the harmony in a thought.
The blank page therefore has become one of my favourite things. My safe place to calm the noise.
I also see the blank page as a metaphor for my work. Each new page, like each new day, is a place of hope and opportunity. A place where there are no mistakes, no clunky lines, no misunderstood messages – just boundless possibilities for words to nestle together in colours of meaning. A chance to start again, and an opportunity to notice the new stories of love, loss and endeavour that I recognise in the amazing people I meet every day.
The blank page is also a chance to literally pause. We are all rushing by in a world that is rushing by. A trillion data points every second. It can overwhelm us and wash us away. Learning to tell our story is an act of kindness to ourselves, a way to slow down, hold on and to feel we belong. A blank page will willingly accept all our words. Each word with its own reason to be, placed by our hands, to honour and reflect the meaning of our thoughts.
I love the thought that everything ever written, every story ever told, every lyric, every play – literally everything – started with a blank page. Every writer who has made a mark on our conscious minds, or shaped our world, started that process with a blank page. It is the same starting place for us all, without hierarchy or preference or privilege. It is our opportunity for our story to be given form and substance and a direction for ourselves and others to see.
Whatever has been written before, by you or me or anyone else, there is always a new page that can be started. We are not constrained to only follow; we can create and shape new ideas or we can bring new light to established thinking.
As soon as we make the first keystroke the blank page will always be our most forgiving friend; we can start, delete, edit, start again – we are never judged and we will always be offered another pristine page to gently lay out our hopes, fears, ideas and challenges.
You do know you are amazing?
The joy of knowing you, is the joy to also reflect you in my words. The small things we walk by and forget before we have even noticed, might be the moments that hold back the tears for others, or which shine a light when darkness descends. The path you have trodden is also a direction for others to follow.
What would it be like if we treated each day as a blank page? What if we noticed meetings and events and relationships as part of our narrative and allowed them to tell our story? What if we told the story of how we felt so that others could hear our needs and not have to guess them or care less? What if hearing our needs was permission for others to speak up too?
What if leadership was not always strategic and far off, but small and in the moment? What if you then used the moment to tell your amazing story?