Do you remember your kindergarten teacher? I don’t remember much about her, except her name and the stories she told. Since then I’ve had many more teachers and mentors who have all contributed to who I am today. We learn from all of our experiences and from everyone we meet, some more significant than others. Although we don’t always remember their name, we usually remember the story they told us. When you are a writer, you’re always looking for that story or insight to share. It’s a gift when you hear such a story. So it was with delight when my youngest daughter, Savanna, was visiting last week and I experienced such a moment. As our conversation evolved she shared the following story that speaks for itself. Like life, there are many variations of the story—stories that have the power to shape our life. The most powerful being the ones we tell ourselves.

A son and his father were walking on the mountains.
Suddenly, the son falls, hurts himself and screams:
To his surprise, he hears the voice repeating,
 somewhere in the mountain: “AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!”

Curious, he yells: “Who are you?”
He receives the answer: “Who are you?”

Angered at the response, he screams: “Coward!”
He receives the answer: “Coward!”

He looks to his father and asks: “What’s going on?”
The father smiles and says: “My son, pay attention.”
And then he screams to the mountain: “I admire you!”
The voice answers: “I admire you!”

Again the man screams: “You are a champion!”
The voice answers: “You are a champion!”

The boy is surprised, but does not understand.
Then the father explains: “People call this ECHO,
but really this is LIFE. It gives you back everything you say or do.”
Our life is simply a reflection of our actions and what we tell ourselves.

If you want more love, create more love in your heart.
If you want more competence in your career, improve your competence.

This relationship applies to all aspects of life.
It gives you back what you think and believe. It gives you back everything you have given to it.

As I shared with you in the beginning, quite often we don’t remember the name of the person who tells us the story, even though we remember the story. Savanna and I attempted to determine who wrote this one. We searched the internet (I sure wished we had it when I was in college) and found the story, but the author was unknown. Whoever he or she is, we want to thank them from the bottom of our heart for the gift of their wisdom.

Life is for giving, loving, teaching, learning and sharing all we are and will ever be; our joys, our sorrows, our triumphs and our disappointments. And of course, our smiles.

As the father in the story reminds us, what we tell ourselves becomes our story. Sometimes the story gets old. If you don’t like it, create a more empowering one.

You know that I love to hear from you. What is the story you have been telling yourself? Please feel free to share this message with those in your circle.

"What a worthy adventure we are on. Our job is to enjoy it, to be ethical and to live life fully."

Journey On


Author's Bio: 

Mark Susnow, is an executive-life coach and recognized thought leader who inspires others to believe in themselves. He is passionate about life being an exciting journey of discovery. His enthusiastic and inspiring keynotes on change, leadership and connection thoroughly convey this message to his audiences. A former trial attorney and musician for 30 years, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. In his former career he was covered by The New York Times, Rolling Stone Magazine, Boston Globe and The San Francisco Chronicle.

He is the author of Dancing on the River: Navigating Life’s Changes. Most recently he has written Discover the Leader Within.