Have you ever had to write a bio? You know, like for someone to introduce you before speaking or for people to learn a bit about you on your blog, site, page, etc. If you haven’t, I’ll tell you it’s a little hard to write your own bio! It can feel awkward to talk about yourself!
I want to talk a little today about your bio; the story of who you are and how you came to be that person. To start out, I want to share with you two versions of my bio- two versions of my story. At some point in reading these, I want you to think about your story. I want you to think about what you would write if someone asked you for your bio.
As you’re reading this first version, I want you to imagine putting a brick in a basket each time I mention something difficult, something negative, or something hard. Maybe count them on your fingers or make tick marks on a piece of paper. Okay, here we go!
My Bio Version One
I am an average looking, overweight 47-year-old mom of seven.
My parents divorced when I was just around two years old. My dad was a visitor in my life, stopping by to bring a birthday or Christmas gift.
When I was five, my mom remarried and I was then the youngest of 10 kids. As a result of the busy household and all of the issues my new step family brought, I went from being the princess of the family to the forgotten caboose. I often felt unimportant and insignificant.
I married at 19. The man I married was a good man, but he had a few flaws right off the bat. The biggest being that he did not love himself, as a matter of fact, he hated himself. Over the years he became controlling, emotionally abusive and suicidal. After 18 years of trying to love him enough for him to learn to love himself, we got divorced and I found myself a single mom of five kids.
My second marriage has brought its own trials. Blending families and taking on the role of step-parent has loaded a new kind of heavy to my backpack.
I have dealt with depression, obesity, negative self-image and feelings of failure my whole life.
I have struggled with being self-employed and running my business for over 20 years, with what feels like one failure after another. As a result of years of stress and overwork, I have had to deal with chronic pain and fatigue and know very well the feeling of not wanting to get out of bed in the morning.
In my lifetime, I have been affected by the results of drug and alcohol abuse, pornography, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, mental illness, depression, anxiety, chronic health issues, the death of a loved one, divorce, rejection, failure and disappointments of all kinds.
The Trouble With Bricks
Okay, did you keep track of the bricks? As you can see, there are a lot of heavy things that I have had to carry over my lifetime. Each struggle, each trial, each negative experience can be very heavy. I’m not special. We all have a whole load full of bricks. We all have our story and we all have trials. There aren’t many things in life that are a guarantee, but one thing I can guarantee is that everyone has hard things.
Over time, these things can become really heavy. As our load gets larger, brick by brick, it starts to consume our lives. It gets to a point where all we can think about is the load we carry. It gets to a point where we can’t handle one more thing or we will completely fall apart.
There are people around us who could really use us, but we’ve got these bricks. My neighbor could use an extra hand, but I don’t have one because I’m carrying these bricks.
The longer we carry them and the closer we keep them to our heart, the more unable we become to help, serve, and bless those around us.
We have a choice. We can keep holding on to these bricks with both hands, or we can put them down. One by one, we can set them in their place.
Self-doubt, abuse, loneliness, depression, neglect, abandonment, failure- see them for what they are. They are real. They are important. They are ours whether we like it or not.
See them for what they are NOT. They are not a punishment. They are not our fault. They are not our destiny. And even though they helped make us who we are, they are not who we are. We are divine and we have eternal value. The things we experience here in life do not define our value.
As we put each one of these bricks in their place, as we appreciate them for the life lessons they truly are, as we take every good thing we can from a bad situation or experience, we can take those same bricks that used to be our burden and use them as a foundation. The same bricks that weighed us down for all those years can become our platform to stand on. We can stand taller, see more clearly, and help more people as we take a stand on those very things that held us back. That thing that holds you back can be the very thing that launches you to new heights.
Do you ever see that the thing that you are holding on to is the same thing that someone else is using to change the world? What’s the difference?
It’s all about what we do with the bricks. It’s all about how tightly we hold on to them and how long we do so.
So, that’s all well and good, but how do we put them down? How do we put them in their place? Here are four things that have helped me put my bricks in their place:
1. GRATITUDE: Appreciate what you learned from the trial. The scriptures tell us to give thanks in all things. To me, “all things” means the good times as well as the bad. That we should feel gratitude for ALL THINGS-both easy and hard. Somehow, find a sense of gratitude for it. Find something positive that you can take from it and focus on that. THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING POSITIVE IF WE LOOK HARD ENOUGH. Journaling is one of the best ways to sort through these feelings. Write the issue and then write the blessing.
2. FORGIVE: Forgive whoever it is that needs forgiving. It doesn’t matter if they deserve it, forgive them anyway. The only person that suffers when we hold on to our negative feelings is ourselves. You aren’t teaching them anything by staying angry or hurt. If you need to forgive yourself, then forgive yourself.
3. ASK FOR HELP: Sometimes it’s just way too hard to unload your arms by yourself. Ask for help. Find a counselor, talk to a friend, talk to God. Don’t do it yourself, and remember that they may need to help you as much as you need their help.
4. LET GO: Sometimes we go through all of the steps and do all of the things, but we are still holding on. Maybe we feel like it’s just part of who we are. We can’t imagine our life without the load in our arms. Maybe we are afraid to let go because it’s been a part of our identity for so long. This is where faith and trust come in. Believe that there is something better to hold on to. Believe that you are capable of using that brick for good.
I want to show you just a couple of people who changed their story. People who took the bricks that were thrown at them and then used them as a platform.
Edward (Ned) Hallowell, MD
Orville and Wilbur Wright
The list could go on and on.
A Fresh, New Look
My friends, it’s time. It’s time to look carefully at what’s holding you back and write a new bio. Write a new story.
I started this post with one version of my story. One perspective of my bio.
I’d like to end this post with version 2.0. A new perspective and the one I chose to make my own. And then a challenge.
My Bio Version 2.0
I am a proud mother of seven children and four grandchildren with 47 amazing years of life behind me and another 47 ahead of me!
I grew up the youngest of 10 kids and learned at a young age about compromise, compassion and the importance of family relationships.
I have had many opportunities to learn how to dig deep and rely on my faith and testimony to pull me through some very dark times. Hand in hand with my Heavenly Father, I have been blessed to experience the kinds of life experiences that bring you to your knees as well as to the top of the mountains.
I have seen many miracles over the years as I have helped the people I love, as well as myself through effects of drug and alcohol abuse, pornography, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, mental illness, depression, anxiety, chronic health issues, the death of a loved one, divorce, rejection, failure and disappointments of all kinds. These experiences have given me valuable insight, compassion and an understanding that I would never have learned in any other way.
In my 20+ years of being a fearless entrepreneur, I have become a respected leader in my industry. My global following looks to me for my passion for creativity, inspiration, and sheer determination to keep going and never give up.
While my journey hasn’t been an easy one, I’m known for my optimism and grit.
I love deeply, cry easily, and live openly.
My friends, I end with a challenge. Write a new story. Take each brick, each beautiful brick, bless it, put it in its place and then stand firm on the lessons you’ve learned. Stand with a new perspective and open arms to help those around you who need help placing their bricks.
I challenge you to dust off, rise up, and live a beautiful life built on beautiful bricks.