This is a picture from my wedding.
At this table, sits nearly every one of my favorite people in life.
That's Jodi in the front right. We've probably loggedat least 1,000 miles side-by-side over the last 15 years.
Hilariously, we both despise and adore running with equal proportion... Oh wait, I despise it more than I adore it...
Jodi has talked me through nearly every significant life crisis and event of my adult life. And I've done my best to reciprocate, block after block, mile after mile.
During the roughest periods of each of our lives, our conversation would invariably gravitate to the topic of having a 'movie life.' If only we could have a movie life.
You know what I'm talking about, the life in which love conquers all, the underdog triumphs and blood, sweat and tears lead naturally to overwhelming success.
For crying out loud, we DESERVED movie lives.
What neither of us really got for the first 789 miles or so was something that, in retrospect, is really quite obvious:
Your best shot at a movie life comes only from writing your own damned storyline.
Eureka, right? Eur-freakin'-eka.
What escaped us for months (years) was the exact thing that escapes so many of my clients who are feeling stuck and bewildered in their careers and lives.
You want a better life? Ya gotta draw up the map that takes you there. You. Not anyone else, you.
You can sigh about your bad breaks all you want.
You can wish for some vague form of "better," or "happy," or "fulfilling."
You can wait for some kind of a "sign" to tell you what the hell to do.
You can let your spouse, your parents, your friends, your professors tell you what you ought to do, what would best suit you, what you really would be wise to consider.
You can sit down and draft your own movie life storyline.
What are you doing? How are you feeling? Who are you with? Who are you not with?
Where do you live? What do you wake up and do each day? What energizes you? What do you stand for? What lasting mark are you leaving during your time here on earth?
Spell out the details to your dream specifications.
Now, I'll quickly admit that I'm not carelessly implying that, by merely doodling out your vision of a movie life, it's a done deal.
But I can tell you, from years of wishing for a movie life with absolutely no storyline at all (and running just a sick number of miles whining about it), that you have about a 0.07% chance of that movie life until/unless you write your damned storyline.
Write the storyline, take a bunch of deep breaths, and then start running like hell toward it.
I ran like hell toward mine.
With terror as my unwanted best friend, I founded a business (with almost zero cash cushion), moved 3,000 miles from my hometown, married the man of my dreams, launched another business, and am now in big conversations contemplating yet another big move.
Jodi also ran like hell towards hers.
She weathered a love storm, moved to North Carolina, founded a brilliant business consultancy, met a fantastic man (who I cannot believe I've not yet met!) and now lives on a quiet lake drinking sangria from her sun-drenched balcony.
Two girls from Detroit who refused to say "I can't" or "It's not possible."
Two girls from Detroit who finally realized that while everything is within reach, until you actually define what your everything looks, feels, smells and tastes like?
The probability that you will find your movie life is quite slim.
Write your storyline. It doesn't have to be written in blood. It's not a tattoo that you're stuck with if you decide it's all wrong. It's a roadmap.
And roadmaps get you to the places you want to go.
Photo: Steph Barcenas Photography