IdeaLast week something AH-MAY-ZING happened. Unfortunately, I can’t talk about it just yet, but know that it was sorta  life changing.

But as awesome as it was, it would not have been possible if I didn’t change the narrative in my head.

Until two years ago, I was a middle school English teacher. I spent six years in a public school classroom trying to do my best despite knowing, in my bones, that I was in the wrong place, and it would kill me if I stayed.

Increasingly, I became miserable. I hated my job. I hated getting up every morning to go to work. I liked my students (a lot), but hated all of the things that I had to do instead of just teach. Soon, I became overwhelmed and depressed, but I felt stuck. I thought there was no way out and I couldn’t change my situation. After all, I had a job, a “good job,” when so many others did not, so I stuck with it.

Until I changed the narrative.

After asking a coworker for her therapist’s info, and crying through my first few sessions trying to figure things out, I finally told myself, “Hey…maaaaybe you can start writing and see where this goes.” And you know what happened? Things actually started to go somewhere once I began thinking it was possible.

Who knew?

I was reminded of the power of changing the narrative when I read the Hollywood Reporter’s recently profile of Oprah. In it, she talks about the “fight of her life”—trying to resurrect her network.

At one particularly low point, Oprah admitted—on TV—that she wouldn’t have started OWN if she knew it was going to be so hard. This pissed off David Zaslav, the CEO of Discovery, because his company had poured over $300 million into OWN and was invested in its success.

Zaslav called Oprah in for a “come to Jesus” meeting and told her this:

“We are going to change the f—ing narrative. Enough of the ‘how hard this is’ and ‘boy, is this difficult.’ It ends now.” 

Dude. My mind was blown. Oprah? $2.9 billion Oprah? OOOPRRAAAAAAAH got told off?

Yes she did. And if she can change the tape in her head and turn OWN around when folks were counting her out and reveling in her seemingly eminent “failure,” then I know we can.

Whatever you want to accomplish in your life—you can do it. Period.
I didn’t think I could be a professional writer, but I did it. I started telling myself it was possible, starting taking baby steps toward my goal, and now it is a reality. I’ve racked tons of bylines from Clutch to Essence to Ebony and JET to GOOD, and I’ve even written three books!

Anything, ANY THING is possible when you change your narrative.

Clutchettes, 2014 is coming. What story will you be telling yourself in the New Year?

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  • listener

    I really needed this and I appreciate you posting. I feel stuck where I am and know my current environment is stifling me. I plan to change that narrative in 2014. I will become a business owner, my blog will become successful, I will get that graduate scholarship.

  • Nix

    Thank you

  • UgoBabeeee

    I sincerly raise this point and solicit guidance/answers in that: (using you for me) you WANT to change the narrative..you aren’t afraid to but you don’t know what to CHANGE it to…

    Its not just a matter of picking up and changing but what are you going to do…you’re not stopping yoursef…sometimes you set goals for yourself, acheived them and then realized this is not where its at…but what else can i do with myself now? Also waiting for external things to happen- (like meet a man to settle down)….what then do you?

    Unless am missing something- changing the narrative is not just about wanting to change it- sometimes you can’t

    • SayWhat

      1. To pick what to change, I’d suggest with thinking about what you don’t like currently, or another way to look at it is to think of someone you admire and copy them, because if you admire them, then chances are it is because they are doing something that you are not. Start there, the great thing about it is that I bet they would be willing to help you on your journey.

      2. You CAN change, you may need a lot of help, but you can do it. What about you is so unworthy that good things shouldn’t happen to you?…..NOTHING. So ‘change’ like you eat your food, small bites till you get the job done.

    • UgoBabeeee

      Thanks for the advise.