One of the greatest gifts we receive when we own our stories–triumphs and tears, joys and pains, truths and lies, good decisions and bad–is the ability to teach, inspire and help others to grow just as we do.  When, in spite of our fear, we choose to stand tall, naked, vulnerable and raw and live in accountability, we expel guilt and shame and inhale truth, strength, bravery and love.  When these are restored at the core, at our core, we reclaim power, wisdom, and unlimited opportunities are present with which we can now aspire to inspire.

Successes can be inspiring, but show me the struggles, the wounds, the scars of your journey as that’s where I will learn. Please listen as I, in turn, acknowledge and take responsibility for my faults, my failings. Let’s share how we hit our lows and the steps we took to stand back up and face the world. Our testimony is our story, we hold the pen and at anytime, we can say, ” NO, this is not how this story will end.”

We can edit, rewrite, crumple the paper and begin again, because of course, not only are we the authors, we are the heroes/heroines of this life novel. And who wants a wimpy hero?

As we write and rewrite, it may not always seem obvious, but people are watching you, reading you, praying with you and for you. Perhaps it’s sometimes like watching one of those campy horror flicks; you know where the silly teens go down in the basement and the audience is screaming “No, the hockey-masked, chainsaw-wielding, metal prongs for fingers maniac killer is down there–don’t go!” Yet we, our lives playing out in front of everyone on the big screen, can’t hear them (or choose not to listen because we are oh so smart figuring out this life stuff).  Other times it seems as if nothing can go wrong because we are on top of our game. Either way, you can be assured that they watch us and our actions speak volumes.

And they learn.

They see what we do in all types of scenarios, they see us at our best and at our worst. They see how we interact with other, how we handle struggle and disappointment, they see when we make brilliant decisions and the most f’d up choices as well. But most of all, they see what we choose:  to wallow in the pit or to rise like a Phoenix from the ashes. No matter how long it takes, when we keep climbing, keep moving forward–people notice and learn.

Lasso your courage, face your fear and rise up.  They are watching; especially the children. We shouldn’t hide our fears from them all of the time and all mistakes do not need to be hidden (within reason and age appropriate of course). Children need to see us falter, to see that we can’t buy our way out, that violence or revenge isn’t the way, and to see that we don’t have all of the answers.  Most of all they need to see us not giving up. This is how they learn about the tough aspects of life.

They may not ever tell you that they learned something, they may not say that you inspired them…but they will show you.  They will show you in their choices and actions. Like last week, my daughter, three weeks shy of 25, bought her first house.

I received the greatest gift that day:  she learned what to do and what not to do, made some wise choices and is reaping great benefits of learning the things that I couldn’t quite seem to fully grasp.  My heart is full, my wisdom has grown, my soul dances with joy!

Always aspire to inspire!