The presidential campaigns employ a powerful strategy: define the opponent before he can define himself.  Better to be seen on the offensive than defensive!

A twist on that dynamic raises a life lesson I encounter in coaching. Too many of us accept someone else’s definition of who we are and then spend most of our energy on defense. Should we be surprised that our lives are out of alignment?

Of course, we have been defined by others since our childhood beginning with our parents and siblings. Soon, it is our teachers and peers and advertisers telling us who we are and who we should be.  Our acceptance of these messages becomes our story. Repeated often enough, we accept the story as our destiny. It defines us.

Unfortunately, like the political campaigns these stories are often based on others pointing out our deficiencies – lack of looks, lack of smarts, lack of ability, lack of ambition. They tell us these things out of anger in the moment or to put us down in order to build themselves up. Too often we accept the messages. We give the power to others to define us.

Creating our own narrative is the most sacred task we have been in given in life.  The key to writing a new history begins with a decision to leave the “lacks” in the past, acknowledge our innate power and step fully into it.

We can begin by answering these questions.  What do I care most deeply about? What are the things I do well? What is the story I want to create for myself and live now?