Who’s Holding Your Pen?

Well, good morning everybody. I have a little time here, let a few people, hopefully, get on. Beautiful fall, mid-summer, late fall morning in Minnesota. I’m at the lake. It’s nice and cool actually, I guess sweatshirt weather, you know? Kind of like that first day you get to wear a sweatshirt in the fall. Where you’re kind of like “Yeah.” You get to hear the loons too a little bit. Anyway, had to hop on today and I just want to talk a little bit about who’s holding your pen.

It’s one of the quotes I talk about in my book. And the quote is … And I sign a lot of books this way. And what I sign is, “Don’t let anybody else hold the pen that’s writing your story.” And there’s a lot of meaning behind it. I mean, there’s a ton of different possible meanings behind that. You know, number one is are you in control of your life? Are you in control of your story? We all get to write our own story. I mean, that’s the point behind this. And I just got done at the gym and there’s this plaque at the gym. It was a quote, it was a fairly long quote, but I wanted to read it to you guys this morning because I though it was … And some of you may have seen, you may know what this quote is. But I think it’s excellent. So, I want to read something to you. Because it goes right along with the whole piece of who’s holding the pen that’s writing your story.

Theodore Roosevelt says this. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

It’s a perfect quote for the gym, right? You think about that. You think about are you, as men or women, because there’s women watching right? As humans, are we in the arena? Are we actually writing our story or are we letting … Because here’s the thing folks. If we aren’t writing our own story, somebody else is picking up that pen and writing it for us. At the end of the day we have a choice. We can either write our story or we can choose not to write our story, but at some point our story is going to get written. Whether it’s by us or whether it’s by somebody else.

So, are you going to take the opportunity to write that story the way you want it written? To write that story for what you want to happen. For the ending to happen that you want. Because there will be an ending, right? There was a beginning, there’s going to be a middle, and there’s going to be an ending. At the end of your story what do you want it to say?

There was an exercise that we did with one of our coaches and it was writing your own eulogy. And it was what do you want people to say about you when you die? At your funeral, what do you want people to say? If you write your own story you’re in control of what most people will … What the majority of the context of that story will be. What the majority of the people will say at your funeral.

It was a really humbling experience to do that. So I’ll encourage you, if you’ve never done it, try it. Sit down and write your own eulogy once. It was just … It was weird, number one. And it was humbling, number two. And number three, it really made you think about am I really writing my own story? Am I writing the story the way I want it to read when I’m gone? Because think about it. Your story can be … Your story is a sermon. Your story is a book. And when people pick up that book, which would be your sons, your daughters, your grandsons, your granddaughters, telling about who you were, it’s because of how you wrote it. That’s it.

It is all our power. We have the ability to figure out what that looks like, to determine what that looks like. This is what I’m going to leave you with today guys. I really want to challenge you all to think about, are you in control of that pen? Because if you give up control of that pen, your story is still getting written. It’s being written by somebody else that doesn’t have your best interest to heart. And we … Somebody said earlier, they commented and they said it’s the power of the mind. It’s right between the ears. That’s our first battle. And that’s true.

Because if we can figure out and we can win that battle, the rest of it’s easy. Trust me. And again, like it talked about in the quote, it’s not that we’re perfect and not that our pen’s never going to run out of ink or we’ve got to put a new cartridge in or we’ve got to shake it a little bit or lick the tip a little bit or scribble on another piece of paper. That happens. That happens. We grab another pen and we keep writing.

We don’t stop. We don’t give up. We keep focused on what we want. And we move forward, again making imperfect progress. That’s the best we can hope for is imperfect progress. And if you’re striving for that, guess what? You’re moving forward. That’s what we want to do. So challenge that guys. Just really … That’s one of my biggest mantras is where that pen is at. Whether I’m trying to figure out business, whether I’m trying to figure out my health, whether I’m trying to figure out how to be a good dad, how to be a good father. It’s what am I writing? Or what am I allowing to be written?

If I’m mad, if somebody has offended me or made me mad, am I still … Am I going to hold that pen or am I going to give them that pen to write how I’m feeling? Another way to think about it, right? Because if you give up that power, you give somebody else your pen to let them determine how you’re going to feel, man it can be a very unhappy life. Don’t let them … Even if they’ve wronged you, if they’ve offended you, whatever it is. Sometimes we just need a little bit thicker skin, right? Sometimes it’s ne of those days where everything bothers us or something sets us off. Don’t give that pen to them to let them turn your what was a decent day into crap day. Right?

I mean, there’s all kinds of things to think about when you’re … Or situations to apply this to. So apply it in your situation. [Denita 00:07:41] says, “It goes right along with who you let on your bus.” Absolutely. So many people … If you don’t know where that is from. That is from the book ‘Good to Great’. Jim Collins talks about who’s on your bus. Who are you letting on your bus, number one. Are you letting just anybody and everybody? And number two, is everybody in the right seat on the bus? Everybody has a certain seat on your bus too.

If you’re a really green personality, you like a lot of detail, that’s a great book for you. If you’re not a green personality, read chapter five. That kind of sums everything up in my mind. It’s still a great book. Even if you’re not green, try and make it through it. I had to read it a few times just to really understand it and to grasp the concept of it. It’s kind of like Napoleon Hill, ‘Think and Grow Rich’. I had to read that one, I think it was seven times before I figured out what the “it” was.

Anyway. Sometimes I’m slow, you know? Again, imperfect progress, right? Not everything is going to jive immediately with all of us. Anyway, I kind of got off topic. But that was a good subject. Thank you, [Denita 00:08:50], that was really good.

Who’s on your bus? Don’t give up the control of the pen that’s writing your story to anybody else. Keep control of that pen. Alright guys. I hope you all have a great rest of the day. I’m going to go have some breakfast, get some protein, and have a good day myself. Catch you all later.