Change is not simple. Why do we repeat behavior that doesn't work? Those actions that lead to stifling debt, disappointing careers, or stuck relationships? Then do it harder, yet expect a different result? Why is it not obvious that trying to exit an old story by simply writing a better ending?only recreates the same story, and ensures that we remain in it? That a thousand better endings to an old story dont create a new story? That the past cannot be changed and is a settled matter? That too often, we see ourselves as the victims of the stories that we author and the feelings we create? We actively construct what we think, feel, and experience. How surprised we are to learn that our fears are not in the dim shadows of the pasts unknown, but in the hopeful light of this moments change. The only thing more difficult than changing and growing is not doing it. It is never too late to become what you might have been. Or too soon to become who you want to be. As adults, we are the sole authors of our own life stories. Every day begins a fresh page. The dramas of everyday life do not simply affect us, they are created by us. Yet so often the story closest to us, our own, is the most difficult to read How can we tell our life stories to ourselves in order to know which aspects of the narrative work and which need to change? How can we identify what is missing, change an attitude, or generate happiness? How can we shift our understanding to see life not as a multiple-choice test with certain predetermined answers, but as an open-ended essay question? 12 STEPS TO LISTEN TO YOUR LIFE STORY This exercise intends to illuminate invisible decisions camouflaged as beliefs and assumptions. This exercise intends to align your efforts with a refocused vision. 1.Crystallize awareness of beliefs, views, and opinions that you hold in each area of your life: family, business, personal, financial, creativity, and spiritual development. Recognize that none of these are facts, but beliefs that are created. The beliefs, points of view, and opinions are decisions that you make, a perception that you hold. You can track when in time you made your original decision that led to the view or belief that is limiting. Most often the original decision arises from disappointment, or what you did not get. An example is a decision to be cautious about relationships, and protect yourself in case of rejection. This belief brings about what you fear, though perhaps based originally on adaptive protection from physical or emotional abandonment. Problems are not written into your genes, though an assumption such as victimhood can be a powerfully organizing storyline, even an aspect of identity. 2.Look for the link/connection between the original decision to the view or perspective held now. Acknowledge the impact it has on your current life, the costs, and the exchanges that you make. Does each belief serve you right now? At one time, the decision served you but you may have outgrown it. Is it still worth the cost that you pay? Are you exchanging valuable time and energy in pursuit of something that ultimately is disappointing? 3.Try new perspectives and possibilities. You have to try on and live an experience to get informed data of how it may bring a change to your life. An experiment may be an idea or image that you live into, and evolve it to create a habit. 4.Explore what is possible. From the place of what is possible, clarify what you want to create, and what action would be paired with it. 5.Recognize and honor your uniqueness. Your uniqueness includes distinctive capacities and abilities, what you do exceptionally well, what works best for you. The design of your life plan must recognize your exceptional strengths, and place your energy on leveraging strengths, rather than creating obstacles. Are you engaging your passion and creativity to do what you do uniquely well in your life and career? 6.Recognize that which you can determine, and that which you cannot. Let go/accept what you cannot determine rather than engaging it with hope and ultimate frustration. Embrace that which benefits you and the elements that serve you, and let go of all that do not. 7.Do only that which works in current time and that is consistent with your needs and values. The bottom line of any theory or belief system is: Does it work now? 8.Clarify decisions about how you use, invest, and refurbish your life energy based on your life plan. 9.Change is a process, not an event. Design short-term, step-wise measurable goals to validate your progress. Hold yourself accountable to the timetable of your goals. 10.Review your tolerations list. Update and revise it. 11.Create a mission that is stronger than your fear. Focus your energy on where you are: the present-- and where you are headed: the future. You cannot change the past, but you can free yourself from its grips. 12. Focus your energy on where you are: the present-- and where you are headed: the future. You cannot change the past, but you can free yourself from its grips. 15 REFLECTIONS TO BEGIN MASTERFUL PLOT REVISION 1.What are the recurring storylines in your life that work? 2.What are the recurring themes in your life that do not work? 3.Is there a piece of your life that is unlived? 4.Who are you in your career? 5.Who are you (or who have you become) in your most intimate relationship? 6.What goals have you realized in your life? 7.What goals have you not realized in your life? 8.Do you have a clear internal ideal of who and what you want to be? 9.What percent of your full capacity are you functioning in your work? 10.What percent of your capacity are you living in your personal life? 11.What are your conflicted storylines where it is obvious not all of you is going comfortably and effectively in the same direction? 12.Do all the storylines fit and further the plot you want to advance? 13.What do you continue to engage by disclaiming and denying? 14.Do you have an awareness of your different states of mind? Do you have basic mastery of how to enter and exit various states of mind? 15.What do you hear in listening to your body's somatic language?