Year in Review: How to Write a More Magical Story of Your Life

Every day, we are writing the story of our lives. We don’t always think of it that way. Life happens to us. We get busy. Before we know it, we are signing holiday cards and decking the halls. Creating a richer, more vivid story requires that we first look backward, not forward. And get quiet.

Let me explain.

A few years ago, I jumped at the chance to move to the woods. I knew I needed a place to get quiet and face myself. Besides, my soul felt weary from decades of business travel as a serial entrepreneur and speaker. As much as I love that work, it was working me in ways I didn’t always enjoy. Besides, I was losing sight of my own storyline–just pounding through O’Hare Airport to get to the next thing. Around this time, I also grew tone-deaf to my own muse, which left me rudderless.

There’s a key to finding a richer story within yourself. And you don’t need to move to the woods, either.

Consider doing a Year in Review. The goal is to carve out time each year, preferably between Thanksgiving and the new year, to reflect on all the important moments that made up your year. I jot them down along with quick notes about what made them remarkable.

The first time I did this. I had to get quiet and listen for the answers, even if I didn’t like all of them. The quiet helped me expand–-to widen my angle and deepen my field of vision. That led me to see which projects I wanted to commit more of myself to, and which ones I could discard without a lot of fretting.

Don’t forget to include the juicy tidbits. My internal editor is a tyrant who rarely lets me run wild into the funhouse of good descriptions. So, I intentionally set my words free when doing this. Next, I put a star next to the things I’d like more of in my life—this step is important. Then I make a copy, whisper words of thanks for all the things on the list, and file it away until next year.

Each year, I’m blown away when I open the file and review the previous year, making note to consider just how the things I starred had come about. And deliciously, many of them do. I’ve also come to notice that the items with the most vivid notes—the juicy bits– tend to play out in more adventurous, unbidden ways. But because I let go of the list and forget about it, I’m allowing it to unfold, rather than jamming an outcome.

In a mechanistic world, we’ve learned to live without such magic. This process has taught me how to welcome it back.

Oh, and there’s a bonus! I’ve learned that what comes with it is a well-spoken muse. She’s a scout, a guide, and an interpreter for the moments in life that shape us.

As I gather the notes for the Annual Trend Report, I’m keeping all of this in mind. I’m looking at movements and momentum in the collective that has bubbled up unbidden, unforced by the calculations of overwrought humans. I’m looking for a touch of magic in them—silver linings and glints of potential to soften the clanging chaos.

What arrived unbidden, unforced in your life this year? What did you learn from it? Who did you meet? Write it all down. Star the good stuff.  You’re writing the story of your life. And it’s what’s coming next for you.

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