Magic doesn’t lie on the other side of the fence. The fence is there only to entice you to believe that the next thing will complete you. This is how marketing works. Millions of dollars are spent to convince you that you’re miserable and the only way for you to be complete is to get that one thing that has always seemed elusive. But wait! If you call within the next 10 minutes you can be completely whole for just $19.99. Now, no one ever believes that the ‘sham-wow’ will make their life complete. But once that story is set in motion within the emotional framework of a person it feels near impossible to stop. Ikea thrives in this market. Part of the brilliance of their marketing is that they have created window shopping destinations. Once you arrive at an Ikea store, there are hundreds of stories set up via bedrooms, kitchen, baths and living rooms. You can literally walk into a mock living room and begin to own the narrative of how beautiful life would be if you were telling your story with their furniture.
The equation of the story looks like this:
Broken you + New ______________ = Complete You
There are much more subtle ways that we engage in the story of the fence and the greener grass. You feel unfulfilled in your job and you begin to think that a different job will make everything better. You seemingly can’t find what you used to from your current relationship so you begin to peer over the fence and fantasize about another man or woman. If only you were with them things would be exciting in your love life again and you would be whole. If only I were smarter (take another class). If only I was prettier (eat less food). If only my boss wasn’t such a jackwad (find a new job). If only my partner were more exciting (look for a new partner). We could play this game for God knows how long, but I won’t waist your time.
The problem with the fence and grass scenario is that it never takes into account the one constant in the equation… YOU. Once you get to the other side of the fence you will find yourself… still with yourself. And that job that you thought was perfect? There is a boss there as well and she has her marching orders.
But what if you aren’t broken? I’ll ask it again. What if there isn’t something wrong with you? What if you’re simply telling yourself the wrong story and subsequently LIVING it?
What if instead of peering over the fence you took a peek inside of yourself? Not to find what is ‘broken’ but to tell a new story. What if your story was the one about the girl who embraced her incredible creativity, beauty and strength and determined to live a full life right now… before making any external changes. What if your story was the one about the guy who instead of having to climb over the fence, immediately, was able to summon his inner strength, courage and resourcefulness to begin living the life he always knew he was purposed for?
Yes, this might lead to starting a new career. It might lead to moving to a new town or city. It even might lead to letting go of some relationships that drain you instead of accepting who you are. In this scenario the one constant, you, will be empowered from the beginning instead of waiting for an external change that may never happen.
What is it that you fantasize about which causes the grass to be so lush on the other side of the fence? What are three ways you could tell a more empowering story right now without having to change your environment immediately? There is a time and place to change the circumstances of your life. But first you need to stop telling the story that never resolves and start living a new one. What ways are you blaming the circumstance of your life for your unhappiness? What ways could you take responsibility and take control of your inner life?
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_______________________________________________________________________ "Start where you are. Distant fields always look greener, but opportunity lies right where you are. Take advantage of every opportunity of service." - Robert Collier
But whenever you feel yourself losing focus and wondering about where you’ll be happy next, bring yourself back to the present, look at what you already have, look around you and enjoy the moments that are happening right now. - Katy Cowan
"When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor Frankl