By Kim Worlow
“I get to choose the story I tell myself and how I interpret every situation I experience. So do you.”
I spent most of my childhood scared for myself, my sisters and mom. My home was not the safe haven that many children have. My home was filled with violence and instability. I never knew what to expect, so I always tried to be prepared for anything. To feel safe, I learned to stay within the lines, play small and do what others expected.
I survived by learning very early what others would accept, and adjusting my behavior accordingly. I carried that pattern into my adult life. I received a lot of outward approval, and maybe even what others would label as success, but inside I was emotionally numb and dissatisfied because I lived my life for everyone else. My values and beliefs were based on what I perceived everyone else thought I should value and believe.
The day my first child was born, 27 years ago, was a major milestone in my mental health journey. I knew I wanted to be a better version of myself for this precious gift God put in my care. I had no idea how to become that person, but I was determined to find out. My first realization was that I had been putting more trust in others than in myself. I also realized that every decision I made was driven out of fear and judgment instead of purpose. I thought I needed to be thinner in order to present myself well; I needed to get another degree to be smart enough; I needed to earn more money in order to feel secure. I was motivated by fear, and unconsciously I was creating more fear.
Learning about the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey, and becoming certified to teach the leadership training program by that name, was a game changer for me. Through this transformative opportunity, I began to discover what I value. That sounds so simple, but when I did, my mental health changed dramatically. When I started taking steps toward honoring what I valued, and living that way instead of being driven by others’ approval, I found clarity in my life that I had never experienced.
At that same time I began to accept that without all of my fear-filled experiences, even some very traumatic childhood experiences, I would not be the person I am today. Today, after more than 25 years of leadership development training, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is one of my favorite programs to teach. I honestly discover something new every time I share it.
Two years ago, I again found myself in a place of discontentment and uncertainty, and I began a journey to become a leadership development coach. My company is called InspireMe. I thought I was going through this process to make a career change, but instead I discovered many of the choices I was making were still fear-driven and unconscious. Because of my journey to become a life coach, I now make more conscious choices driven from purpose. It is the most amazing career because with every coaching client and organization I support, I am very much the teacher and the student. Every day is an opportunity to continue to develop, grow, and become more aware and accepting of myself. Today, I help others become more aware of what is important to them so they can lead their lives and careers through conscious choices.
I get to choose the story I tell myself and how I interpret every situation I experience. So do you. I have practiced regret, frustration and holding grudges. I’ve learned that what that approach produces is more regrets, frustration and holding of grudges. I now choose love, forgiveness, and acceptance of myself and my family, and I let those values inform my story. It causes me to be thankful for every member of my family. They each played an important role in my growth and development. I now have the power to choose how I see every experience in life. We can choose to be a victim or to blame others for our life experiences, or we can choose to take every experience as an opportunity to learn.
My life is a journey of growth and learning how to lead my own life so that I am better able to help others. I believe our overall well-being has little to do with our physical health, and much more with our mental well-being.
Along my journey, I was gifted with a second baby boy. I know now that both of my children were put in my care not so I could be a teacher, but also a student and recipient of all that love and gratitude bring. There is nothing like watching two people experience life with awareness of their uniqueness, and acceptance of all aspects of themselves and others, quirks included. M! October/November 2016
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If you would like to experience coaching and discover your purpose and/or what is driving your life, I offer complimentary coaching sessions. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.