Let me share with you my success story. I’ve been a speaker, manager, business owner, the author a nonfiction book, “Fire Up Your Profile For LifeWork Success” and most recently a children’s book, “Vegetable Kids in the Garden.” This summer my husband and I moved to my dream house with a swimming pool, I co-presented at a national conference, traveled to visit our grandkids, and I was thrilled with the enthusiasm over the vegetable kids.
As I look back at my first paragraph, I see that I said I “have been” very successful. Putting my success in the past tense may have been the beginning of my slide into my sad story. The incidents that preceded my decline were not the real reason for it as I had originally suspected. My doctor said I would need two eye surgeries this fall which involved two surgeons who were not sure when they could fit me in their schedules. Yes, I was the one that decided to wait until I had pain to undergo the complicated surgery, but I didn’t expect them to take care of it in two surgeries over 3 months.
My sad tale gets sadder when I heard the possible complications from the cornea transplant due to the numerous previous surgeries, advanced glaucoma, and lack of lenses in my eyes. To make matters worse I was told that the new cornea might only last two or three years and my better eye was swelling and would probably be next on the list of surgeries.
I was devastated. I could see my boxes of books still sitting on the floor of my office abandoned and left for a footrest. My mind went blank, and I couldn’t think of anything to write. Well, actually I could think of things to write I just wasn’t writing them. I realized that I must be past my golden age for writing and that too was fading.
Taken in by my drama as I was it was hard to reconcile my state of failure with the book sales and coaching clients that were coming my way. Humm, maybe my life as I know it isn’t over yet. What if despite the complications, the surgeries made my eyes better? What if I still have a business next year? Miracles can happen. I began praying for healing for my eyes not knowing what the result would be. What I found was healing for my heart and mind.
Remembering Positive Psychology’s Martin Seligman saying, “Expect the best and plan for the worst,” I realized I better get busy just in case things get worse––or better. I changed my story from focusing on what I couldn’t do to getting busy on what I can. My life is my story, and I can choose how to tell it. I am not just the editor of a story that I have no control over, I am the author.
In fact, I am the hero of my story, but my life adventure did not begin on a golden mare. I was born with very little eyesight. I struggled through school, surgeries, and getting places I wanted to go always feeling like there would be a new discovery that would change my vision to be more normal. After the news about the condition of my eyes getting worse rather than better, a took a little time to process the information then decided I needed to change the story about my eyes whether or not they actually changed.
My new story is that I have a plan to continue to eat healthy and exercise my body and mind. I will write whether I think I know what to say or not. I will have the expectation that all will go well. If things don’t go as expected then I will work that out when the time comes because a hero has many tools, resources, and powers. My God given strengths are my powers that don’t go away when life’s challenges hit home. I will use my creativity, determination, and curiosity to step into the next adventure. How will you tell your story?
Subscribe to Creative LifeWork Design Newsletter for fun articles and career stories.
Nancy Miller, M.S. is a Career Counselor, Life Coach, and writer. Nancy will assist you with story ideas, organizing your book whether fiction or nonfiction, and choosing a method for publishing and printing.