The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves
~ Richard Bach
I was once asked to deliver a man’s eulogy. I had never done that before and it terrified me. I saw myself in a dark suit, with all eyes on me, and I got nothing. What do I say? Should I be funny? What if I screw up and say something stupid? So, before I wrote a single word, I asked Donald Miller, an author and CEO of StoryBrand for advice. He thought for a moment, and then he said something I won’t forget. “Remember that funerals are for the living,” he began. “I think what people want to hear more than anything is that they were enough.”
We have trouble with this.
We never feel like enough, and we’re quick to believe the stories we invent in our weird little brains. Part of the reason is that these stories repeat themselves so often. They’re the same stories we’ve been hearing since we were little. They are voices telling us untrue things, but the voices are familiar. We like familiar.
People won’t like me.
Who cares what I have to say?
There are ten million people better than me.
I have to be perfect.
Imagine the creativity the voices kill – The writer who doesn’t believe she can write, the speaker afraid to speak, the singer that remains silent. Imagine the shoulders never offered, the hugs never given, the kind words never spoken. A world, starving for good, goes without because of what Max Lucado calls, “the devil’s hell-hatched hoax.”
Unfriend the Voices
I can’t say I’ve mastered turning the volume down on the voices; I doubt anybody has. But I do put a face to them. A Eulogy? You? You should be terrified. You’re horrible. You’ll say something stupid. Ask yourself, would you hang out with a person who talks to you that way? Is the person who doesn’t champion and empathize with you worthy of your time? Do you often call people who criticize, disparage, and beat you down? Never. You unfriend them.
Unfriend the voices.
I delivered that eulogy and afterwards a complete stranger walked up and asked if I’d deliver hers.
You know what? You are needed. Your work is important. If your dreams and ideas are good, make them happen.
You are enough.