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Owning the Pen That Writes Your Story

How intentionality and the words we use affect our narrative

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Recently I was thinking about my story. Who I am. Where I come from. What I’ve accomplished. How I treat people. Where I’m going. It got me thinking – am I owning the pen that is writing that story?

It’s easy to think, “of course I’m owning the pen. It’s my story after all.” But, what does this exactly mean?

For me, this means that I am in control of the narrative and I am not allowing someone else to write my story. It means I am authentic, flaws and all. It means if I don’t like the direction I am heading, then I can change course and go another way.

It also means I need to be intentional about the words I am using as part of that narrative.

For many years I would say that the success I have seen both personally and professionally was due to luck. That I was lucky to have landed such an amazing job. I was lucky to have received a promotion. I was lucky to live internationally and travel the world. I was lucky to branch out on my own and start a company. Lucky.

In my story, I had attributed everything I had accomplished to a dice roll. I didn’t own the pen I was writing with. I had imposter syndrome. I didn’t feel like I had the ability, knowledge, experience to achieve what I had. I felt like a fraud. And that was my story.   

After taking the time for introspection, I realized that the truth is, I work hard. I put in the blood, sweat and tears to make things happen. I put in the time, countless hours reading, working on projects, managing a team, and the list goes on. I take time for self-care so that I can give to my business, my family, my friends.

This isn’t to say that there weren’t forces at play which brought me to these moments. It’s to say that when these moments presented themselves, I capitalized on them. I worked hard to ensure success. I set myself up to allow for more of these moments. And, it’s safe to say I began to like how my story sounded much more.

I know I’m not alone in this. It’s hard for many of us to admit that we are the reason we achieved success. That maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t luck but the energy that we poured into something to see it come to fruition and finally happen. It’s not arrogant or self-centered to think that we played an active role in this. Rather, by saying we were merely lucky we are undermining the work we actually did. We can be lucky and hard working.

This became my new narrative. This is when I started taking control of my story and all of the internal and external factors that play a part in it. This is when I became more intentional and more aware of the pen.  

Now my story reads: I feel fortunate. I feel grateful. And I work hard to make it happen.

How are you owning the pen that is writing your story?

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