I used to believe being powerful meant you had to have a forceful personality with a healthy ego. 

I grew up watching John Wayne movies and revered sports heroes portraying a confident air about them, the level of self-confidence that seemed unshakeable. 

As the years passed, I learned self-image is simply a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. 

It’s a perception and a mask that has the ability to keep us locked into an old pattern, belief, or story. 

Over time, I changed my own self-image from one of victim to victor rewriting my story of tragedy to one of triumph where I got to be the heroine. 

Several years ago, I flew my business coach into town to work with me for 2 days. 

When she and I were driving back to my house from having lunch, she said, “Stop telling that story.” 

I remember exactly where we were in my neighborhood and the abruptness of her comment had me literally slow the car down. 

“What story?,” I said. 

Yet, I knew. 

It was an old version of me that had turned into rote conversation that was repeated over and over again producing the empty friction like getting your car tires stuck in the mud and going nowhere. 

It didn’t serve me to repeat it, yet I found myself thinking back at the many conversations where I shared this “truth” more often than I realized – and she caught me. 

While I wasn’t entirely grateful at the time, looking back I realize she brought me back to the present moment and had me focus on what is, not what was. 

When you live in the present, the here and now, life moves about with ease, grace, joy, and in harmony. 

When you focus on what was, life is less fluid and agreeable. 

Courageous, servant leaders ask the question, “What is mine to do now?” 

They don’t second guess the decisions they made last year, last week, or even 5-minutes ago, trusting they did the best they could with the information they had in the present moment. 

Leaders are keenly aware of the history behind them to learn from it, they look to the future to see what may be and how to develop, and live fully engaged in the present. 

Rather than acting from boldness acquired by a big ego or bluster, it is from the spectrum of experience plus foresight that allows a leader to be confident in the choices they make today. 

ACTION: The Upside Challenge of the week is to notice what story you are telling.

Is it constructive to the present moment or where you are headed?

If not, what will you do to re-write your story?

If yes, what will you do to speak it a little louder? The world needs you and your brilliance. 

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