I decided that my decisions were more important than my beliefs, which are simply thoughts I think repeatedly.
I’m Mary-Elizabeth Harmon, and I learned a lot while clawing my way to recovery from a “downturn” in my career. During that process, I decided to play with new beliefs, and one I live by now is this:
As Within, So Without.
Or, our emotional states—our moods—drive our outer experiences.
This is the opposite of what I believed before, which is that I felt the way I did because of what happened to and around me. But that perspective made me a victim. By contrast, “As Within, So Without” put me in a position of power—it was mine to decide whether to think about life’s events in good-feeling or bad-feeling ways, and to improve my life by thinking good-feeling thoughts about it in the first place.
Just as orange trees don’t grow from apple seeds, great-feeling lives don’t grow from seeds of discontentment.
Our thoughts are the seeds of our lives, and my all-time favorite thought was this: I’m wasting my life doing this job. But that was just a story I made up. Still, I thought it so much that I made myself sick and stopped working to regain my health; this threw my life into financial crisis, which created new problems for me, like losing my home.
But just as my stories put me in crisis, I used them to get myself out. Over time, I dreamed up better-feeling stories about my life and changed my all-time favorite tale into this: I’m building an entrepreneurial empire. And the more I thought about that story, wrote about that story and decided to HAVE FUN and follow my impulses and hunches—without heed for whether I was using my time productively—the more I remembered that I loved to tell stories, and the more an entrepreneurial empire founded in storytelling took form in my mind.
Great-feeling lives grow from seeds of enjoyment, so do something—ANYTHING—you enjoy every day, without thinking about where it will lead.
This advice may seem to be misguided and have nothing to do with your work, but the decision is yours: to remain in your reality or to feel great, or at least to feel better than you do right now. As I continued to HAVE FUN and RELAX when I felt myself struggling to make things happen, my storytelling empire sprouted and started to grow, first with a book, now with another book, and next with a business. I’ll concede that none of this happened quickly, but that was largely because after decades of working as a research biologist, science advisor, and program analyst, it took me time to get into the habit of feeling, not thinking, my way forward.
Another thing I’ll share is that I’m not yet making a living through my labors of love. But after ten years of unemployment, underemployment and confusion and angst about my future after I stopped working as an analyst, I can attest that it feels great to have formed a vision that’s calling me forward.
Remember: Our stories can plunge us into crisis or pull us out, so imagine the greatest-feeling stories you can about your work or whatever is bringing you down. Next, HAVE FUN thinking about your stories often, writing about your stories often, and RELAX when you feel yourself trying too hard.
Again, the choice is yours: to “keep it real” or to feel great. Should you decide to try storytelling to transform your life, know that you are worthy of any tales you feel worthy of telling, so be unabashed in making them up. And don’t worry about telling your stories “right”; focus on having fun making them up and giving yourself time to do that regularly.
If I’m speaking your language please join me, because together our stories can spread peace around the world.
I have so much more to tell you. Some of it I’m putting in my upcoming book. Most of it, however, I’ll share by blogging through my burgeoning business, a marketing & design company with a mission to promote worker welfare. Click here to learn more.
And now, I’ll close with this: A great-feeling life consists of great-feeling moments. It doesn’t mean that bad-feeling things won’t happen, only that with telling the best-feeling stories you can about life’s events—and doing anything you can to improve your mood when you feel it going out of whack—you’ll return to good-feeling territory quickly. If that sounds like a way you want to live, you sound like the kind of person I’d love to join me on my business adventure.