Take Back the Pen in 2016

Welcome to 2016. January is great for fresh starts. It’s a time to collect yourself and try again to achieve your goals. But success in life isn’t always about what you do with your life. Sometimes success is about not letting other people do things in your life.2016

I like to think about it as writing a story…my story. I don’t have total control over what’s written. Good and bad things will come my way that I can’t control. But I have a lot of control: control over my decisions, my attitudes and whom I let write my story.

We may not be aware of what we are doing, but when we let people into our lives, we hand them a pen. We invite them to take part in our story. To whom have you handed a pen?

If you are unhappy with your life today, it could be because you’ve given a pen to someone who is a careless writer. If that’s true, take back the pen. It’s your story. They have no right to your story, unless you give it to them.

The sooner you take back the pen the better. If they’ve done damage so far, what makes you think it will change? How many pages will you let them write before you take back the pen? How bad do things have to get?

If you are unhappy with your life today it could be because you’ve given a pen to someone who is a careless writer.

What you don’t see is how much time you spend worrying about what they will do next. It’s a cloud that hangs over you that you’ve probably gotten used to by now. But imagine the freedom you’d experience if you didn’t live with that constant threat…the fear of “the other shoe dropping” and the ensuing fallout. Imagine your story losing the drama that these people continually bring to it.

If you want 2016 to change for the better, make a list of everyone you’ve allowed into your life that’s negatively impacting you. That’s your “to-do” list for the next few months. Then decide what action needs to be taken with each person to stop them from writing in your book.

I can hear the push back: “I can’t do that!” “What will they say?” “I hate conflict.”

You have to decide which you hate more: conflict, or a bad story. You can do it. Yes, it will be hard, like pulling out a thorn, but it will change your life. When it’s all over, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

It helps to have a support system. So share your list with a counselor or supportive friend and ask them to hold you accountable. If you need advice on how to confront someone constructively, I outline this in a few posts in this blog and in my book STUCK. But make it your priority this year to take back the pens from people who have abused the privilege of holding one. The only people holding pens should be you, God, and a small circle of trusted friends.

If you’ve had success taking back the pens in your life, leave a comment below. If you think this might help others, please click one of the SHARE buttons below. Thanks!