From January 6th through the 10th I’ll be taking Storyline readers through a life-coaching experience. Each day I’ll offer exercises that will give you clarity and direction. Let’s pretend you’ve decided to spend a week in my office, organizing your life. This process will prove more effective than New Year’s Resolutions, I assure you. If you want more, either pick up the Storyline book or attend one of our conferences.
On Day One we learned a bit more about how you were wired and about the experiences that have formed you. Today, we’re going to patch up the cracks in your foundation.
Here’s what I mean by that: Each of us have had some hard experiences that, if we let them, can drag us down. Either we experienced a tragedy or made some mistakes or we were wronged in some way. Today, we’re going to spend the entire morning just trying to redeem each of the negative turns in your life.
And the exercise couldn’t be more important.
Here’s why: The process of redeeming your negative turns comes from Dr. Viktor Frankl, who believed one way a person gains the existential experience of meaning is by taking each bit of suffering they’ve experienced and finding a redemptive perspective toward it. His exact thought was this: Once we find a redemptive perspective on our suffering, it ceases to be suffering.
While at first difficult, you’ll find that nearly all great leaders have developed this ability as a habit. In fact, nearly all great leaders cherish their tragedies and mistakes not as negatives, but as the painful experiences that gave them the qualities they needed to change the world.
And that’s what we want to do with you.
After reviewing the reflection questions I gave you last night, I’d want to take another look at your Timeline. And this time, I’d want to focus on everything below the main line. That is, I want to focus on the stuff that has happened to you that has been painful.
I’m convinced that to call people into a higher evolution of health and productivity, learning to redeem negative turns is a must. To start this session, I’d pull out the Timelines of some famous leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, Ronald Reagan, Billy Graham, Helen Keller, Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph from the book of Genesis.
I’d show you how each of these leaders had to make mistakes, be wrongly treated and experience tragedies in order to become people who would eventually change the world. We’d look at each of their timelines and I’d show you how if it weren’t for a dark season, they’d not have produced light later in their lives.
Franklin Roosevelt, for instance, was known as an arrogant young man, entitled and aloof, unable to connect with his peers, until, of course, he was diagnosed with polio and lost the use of his legs. From that point on, he had compassion for the poor and the outcast and could lead not only with strength, but with empathy.
So, once you were convinced every great story goes through dark times, we’d take another look at your life. One by one, I’d circle each of your negative turns and together, we’d brainstorm how each of these painful experiences has shaped you. If you are like most people, you’ll be amazed at how each of the painful experiences you’ve had have actually saved you from a life of arrogance and entitlement and made you a more hard working, thoughtful individual.
This would likely take much of the day and we wouldn’t be fast about the work. The more I can convince you that the tragedies of your life have served you, the more emotionally stable and healthy you will be for the rest of your life.
Here are some examples of how a negative life turn can ALSO be a positive:
|A failure helped you realize errors you were making in life or business.|
|A tragedy made you empathetic toward the pain others have experienced.|
And more specifically:
|A broken relationship helped reveal a character flaw attracting you to the wrong people.|
|The loss of a job prompted you to buckle down and go after the career of your dreams.|
|A financial loss caused you to learn more about earning and managing money.|
|A betrayal by a friend caused you to become a more forgiving person and understand nobody is perfect.|
And on and on we go. There are always positive things that come from even the most tragic situations, and the more positivity we can understand, define and perhaps even create, the more healthy we will be.
And this would mark the end of Day Two. Today, I believe, is the most important day. While it’s important to set goals, which we will do tomorrow, setting a foundation of mental and emotional health is paramount if we’re going to help you become an impactful person. And redeeming our negative turns is the most important part of that process.
So, download the two assignments and complete them if you will. I promise your world will never be the same.
See you in the morning for Day Three.
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