What Have You Made Up Today?
By nature we are curious people, and we want to be able to understand everything that we can. We interpret the world around us based on our experiences from our past, friends and families.
And we tend to give meaning to just about everything. Look at all the meaning that you have assigned to your life – all the stuff that you have made up about yourself, your circumstances, and other people. Now, let me be clear… I certainly do not mean to imply that your circumstances – the facts and situations in your life – are made up.
What I’m talking about is the meaning we have given these facts and circumstances. We can do such a disservice to ourselves by assigning meaning that does not support or make us feel very good.
We are meaning givers – it is human nature. Now here’s the deal: The meaning we give something is a choice that we get to make. Let me share a couple of examples so that you see what I really mean (pun intended!):
I turned 55 a few months ago. And as a 55 year-old man, I’ve decided that I’m behind with what I want to accomplish – with my career, my income, my retirement account, I could go on and on. There are times that I even think, “It’s too late – I’ll never reach my potential.” Notice how both of these ideas, I’m behind and It’s too late for me to reach my potential are both made up. I have given intense meaning to turning 55 that totally makes me feel bad about myself – wow, how yucky is that?!
I’ve made up that for me to truly make it at the level I want to make it in this world, and to have the impact I want to have, that it’s too late. I’ve run out of time.
Now even as I say this, it’s fascinating to notice that I don’t know where this idea came from. I totally made it up! What’s important is that I’m aware that I’ve made it up.
Age is an easy place to hang our hats on keeping us stopped. “I can’t do that, I’m too old! Someone half my age can do that better and faster than me!” And yet, many people have had true success in their latter years of life. To name just two:
1). Louise Hay started Hay House when she was 60 years old. Today, Hay House is the largest publisher of self-help, inspirational and transformational books and products in the world. Louise is now 87 and still active in running her company. Talk about inspiring!
2). Jessica Tandy became the oldest actress to receive an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Driving Miss Daisy. She was 80 years old!
Knowing that the meaning we give something is made up – we now get to choose a different meaning that may serve us better.
Try this one on for size… “My 55 years have given me the perfect amount of life experience to now be very clear about what message I am here to deliver in this lifetime.” This makes me smile and gives me a sense of pride and joy. It even motivates me. As I say it out loud, there’s more energy and excitement about what I want to create next.
Here’s another example… I’ve made it up that I’ve got to work really hard to be successful. And that means I need to work at least 60 hours a week, deliver back-to-back workshops and keynotes, and travel nonstop around the globe.
This just makes me tired!
Hard Work = Success is an equation that I’ve created that does not serve me. A new equation might be… the quality of my work matters more than the quantity of my work. Even as I say this, I find myself looking in the direction of doing work that matters to me versus just doing work that may not actually assist me toward my goals.
Notice what you’ve made up.
Take a good, hard look at yourself, and see what you’ve made up about yourself. Take the time to discover what some of your beliefs are that no longer serve you. What are the inherited ideas that you’ve been carrying around that no longer apply to your life?
Create a list for yourself.
Your job is to take a look at your list and decide which things really serve you and also decide which things really don’t serve you. And then ask yourself these questions:
What is the meaning I want to assign this thing in my life now?
What do I want to make up now?
As you become conscious of what you’re making up – and what you’re not – clarity will begin to occur. And where there is clarity, there is choice.
It is within your power and consciousness to decide.
Rick, this couldn’t be more perfect! Just having left a corporate job and being “of a certain age”, there were a lot of voices (mine and others) making up all sorts of things about me going out on my own to follow my passion and purpose and play a Bigger Game.
“My MORE THAN 55 years have given me the perfect amount of life experience to now be very clear about what message I am here to deliver in this lifetime.”
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
What an insightful post- it’s so true that we can cling to meanings that no longer serve us… maybe they once did, but so many have passed their expiry dates. Thanks for this prompt to do a personal ‘meanings’ reality check- and to make up a new code to live by.
Rick, let me know when you’re in the Syracuse area, I’d like to meet.
I interviewed a client today. He recalled a coaching convo we had where I asked him, imagine you’re sitting in a movie theatre, watching a film of this moment in your life. What are you thinking? Feeling? Are you enjoying the film?
Change your story to change your results.
It’s all made up. Who said that? 😉
I echo the previous posts….yours was the perfect item in my inbox at the perfect time; I had a lot of IGMUs (I’ve got it made up that….) swirling in my head and your words prompted me to get them out of my head and onto the paper.
Wow, I sure was walking around with a lot of ‘bad feeling baggage’ that I’ve been able to leave at the station and move on without. Thanks for the help in decluttering and refocusing – I’ve gained a whole batch of new insights which are much better and friendlier company for the road ahead.
Hi Rick! Curious if you draw any correlations to “it’s all made up” and performance theory – which says that there really is no such thing as a true and authentic self – everything we do is learned performance. So if you don’t like who you are or the situation you’re in – change the performance. (I’m simplifying here.) You read someone like Judith Butler and she would say that even gender is a performance. Don’t like the dominant cultural expected behavior? Perform differently – and over time you may shift the expectations.