Bill Kenower

Day 75:

Bill Kenower, 47, knows a lot about stories. He’s the Editor-in-Chief of Author Magazine, hosts a weekly radio show by authors for authors, and recently finished writing his memoir, “No One is Broken.” Bill knows first-hand how to craft a good story, but for many years he did just the opposite. It impacted his whole life, and according to him, you may be falling into the same trap.

Although Bill is a full-time writer now, things weren’t always this way. For more than 20 years he worked as a waiter while writing and acting on the side. It was a way to pay the bills and support a wife and children. The money was a blessing, but the job felt like a complete curse.

“I felt trapped and imprisoned at the restaurant,” Bill said. “And I felt like a victim to the necessity of my survival. I was so unhappy there. In absolute despair, I told myself stories about failure. I thought things like, ‘I am just a loser,’ and ‘I hate this f*ing job.’ And then one day I realized that this was all my creation. I had created a job I hated. And that gave me hope, because I thought that if I could create a job I didn’t want, I could create a job I did want.”

That moment of insight led to one of Bill’s greatest life lessons.

I learned that your life is not what happens to you,” he said. “Your life is the story you tell yourself about what happens to you.”

Bill decided he needed to radically change his thinking to change his life. He started to meditate not on thoughts of failure, but on thoughts of success and fulfillment. He quit the restaurant job and started doing something he was passionate about, writing a blog on spirituality and creativity. Suddenly, everything began to fall into place. Within 6 months, Bill was writing a monthly column on the subjects that most interested him and was also launching Author Magazine for the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. According to Bill, none of this would have been possible if he’d still been thinking like a victim.

“There is power in the story you tell yourself,” he said. “The world will agree with whatever story you tell. People won’t always know why they’re responding to you the way they are, but they will react to the story you’re telling. It can be something as simple as a guy thinking that girls don’t like him. He may be handsome and funny, but girls won’t respond to him in a good way. They won’t know why. They’ll just think it’s something about him that they can’t put their finger on. But it will be the bad energy that comes from the story he tells himself about not being desirable.”

According to Bill, you can change the story you tell yourself and thus your life. But to do so, you first need to become aware of what stories you are telling. Examine your thoughts and hold each one up to the light. Is that thought working for you or is it working against you? Next, focus on what you do what in your life more than what you don’t want. If you hate your job, don’t focus on it. Instead, visualize, in detail, what it would be like to have your dream job. Involve all of your senses and paint the most vivid picture you can. Finally, if all else fails, change the story you tell yourself. If you’ve been working as a waiter to support your passion, don’t tell yourself the story of failure. Tell yourself the story of commitment and dedication in the face of difficulty.

It’s not easy to change your thinking or your situation. But you, like Bill, are the author of your own life. It’s up to you to start a new chapter and write yourself the happiest story you can think of. After all, it is your masterpiece.

Things you can do:

  • Follow the steps above to change your thinking and change your life.
  • Sit down and write the best future you could imagine for yourself. Once it’s written, post it where you will see it often. Don’t be surprised when it starts coming true.
  • Check out more of Bill’s wisdom and writing at his web site, Author Magazine, and by visiting his blog.

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