The Bellwether January 1, 2024

With Deborah Froese

Life Story

If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to settle back, evaluate the year gone by, and plan for 2024. But consider taking a different approach this year and examine your life as though it were a story. In his book, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, Jonathan Gottschall writes, “We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.” So, if your mind is going to stay up all night anyway, why not give it a story that works in your favor? Just like a story, life has turning points that occur when events or circumstances propel us in new and sometimes unexpected directions. Welcoming a new partner or child into your family. Losing a job or someone you love. Starting a new business. Change forces decisions and character growth. The greater the adversity, the more compelling our story and expansion become. Embrace your life story by examining its turning points thus far and envisioning new ones for the road ahead. Grab a pen, a notebook, and your favorite beverage, find a comfortable place to muse, and begin.

New Turning Points

Now, dream. Employ every visioning tool at your disposal. Picture yourself living the life of your dreams and imagine the events—or turning points —that would help you achieve them. Don’t skimp here. Think like a novelist and let your imagination run wild. Begin by determining your overarching goal. This could be an objective for the year or a longer period of time. Make sure you choose something that really resonates with you, regardless of what anyone else may think. 1. Why do you want to achieve this goal? Dig into the nitty gritty and consider how this goal makes you feel. 2. What are the most audacious steps you must take to achieve this goal? 3. 4.What synchronicities would help? Organize your ideas into a logical progression so that one step naturally leads to the next. 5.

Your Story

Now that you’ve figured out your life’s turning points, write your story. Yes, you heard me correctly. Draft a story about a character—you— struggling to reach a goal. As you write, describe the setting and people around you. Explore the emotions that arise as you get closer to your goals and how you celebrate your achievements. Emotion is key: if you can feel it, your brain registers it as real.

Previous Turning Points

First, review. Make a list of the turning points in your life thus far and arrange them chronologically. They don’t have to be big events, just impactful moments, the ones that tend to stay with you. Reflect on each one. 1.What happened? How did each of these moments impact your life? 2. 3.What did you learn from them? 4.How have they moved you forward?

That’s a powerful kind of magic!

You don’t need to share your story with anyone but yourself. Read it regularly to visualize the future and create momentum for your journey. Life is a story, and you’re writing it whether you take pen in hand or not, so why not make it a good one?

Author, editor, and story coach Deborah Froese is on a mission to spark change through the stories we share.

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