Browsing Category Knowing Your Story

How Your Past Connects To Your Life Purpose (A Letter to my 23 Year Old Self)

Dear 23-year-old Dan,

Man. Your hair is way longer right now than you’ll be keeping it in 10 years.

I have a lot to say to you, so get comfortable. You’ll need it, because this might get uncomfortable.

Marry Stacia. That’s the best decision you could ever make. That goes without saying.

That job you’re about to take is almost going to kill you. That’s ok. You’ll survive. And it will teach you something.

The next few years are going to be extremely lonely.

You’re going to make it. But sometimes it’s going to feel like you’re just barely making it.

Go to therapy. Spoiler alert: you’ll decide to go to therapy in a few years, but you should start sooner. I know a guy. I’ll send you his number.

Learn to care for yourself and learn to care for yourself during depression.

Create things. You’re happiest when you’re creating, and people always seem to benefit from what you create…

Don’t just create things, build a creative habit. You make such great things, but you won’t make great things unless you set aside the time to do it. Inspiration will come from time to time, but most great things are made by sitting down and struggling with them.

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How To Be Fearless

One of the most amazing facts about humans is that our identity is a collection of stories. In essence, we are the stories that we tell about ourselves. The choices we make all flow from that identity and thus, from those stories.

Recently I’ve been leading a community of people who are facing fears and courageously making new stories for ourselves. We’re learning that we can be strong, courageous, and adventurous. We’re learning how to be fearless.

Making the choice to show up in the world in a new way is one half of the struggle. The other half is letting yourself believe that these new stories matter.

Erwin McManus once told a story of a friend of his with whom he plays basketball. This friend typically had a few inches on every other player on the court, yet he didn’t play like he did. This guy could easily shoot over the other teams’ heads if he wanted, but he wouldn’t do it.

McManus talked with him after one of their games and pressed him on why he didn’t take those shots. The friend explained that had never been able to get a clean shot. McManus pressed this, saying that there’s no way the defender could have stopped him. His friend replied by talking about how he was the youngest and smallest of his three brothers. When they played basketball growing up he could never shoot over them. He was small then, and he was still playing like he’s small after all these years.

I love this story because it feels so true in my life. Everyone could see how tall this guy was, but his past told him that he wasn’t tall enough and that he couldn’t use his height.

He had grown, but he didn’t realize how much.

The same is true for you…

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The Importance of Forgiving Yourself

Here’s a frustrating fact of life: you have more desire than you have opportunity to fulfill.

It’s true.

There’s more that you want to do then you’re actually able to do. You can dream all you want, but dreams stay dreams until you take action. And when you take action, you find that your time and abilities can only take you so far.

So what do you do with your unmet desires? How do you respond in the face of the fact that you can’t do it all?

There are too many problems in the world for you to solve them all.

Combine these problems with your dreams of being an astronaut, a rock star, and a genetic engineer (maybe that was only my 6th grade self), and you have a recipe for overwhelmed stuck-ness…

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The Meaning of Passion: the GoldieBlox Story

Are you familiar with the toy Goldieblox yet? It’s a toy intended for girls that combines stories with building things. The goal is to helps young girls develop skills in engineering and physics.

It was funded nearly twice over on kickstarter a while back and has continued to grow and expand.

The kickstarter video continues to stick with me.

These are the first lines: “Hi. My name is Debbie. I’m an engeneer from Stanford and I was always bothered by how few women there were in my program, so I decided to do something about it.”

She goes on to tell of how as a child she never really played with toys that encouraged building things. Building toys were “boy toys”, so no one thought to get them for her.

Then she talks about putting all of her resources and savings into creating Goldieblox…

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