Dr. Marry and Me,  Personal Writing

Flip the narrative to find your spark

I’ve had an interesting week of ups and downs. I’m wondering if you can relate:

  • I’ve been talking about and planning a big travel event in my life for three+ years, and earlier this week, I started to finally make concrete plans, only to have a number of people disappoint me in their responses. Consequently, I slept very poorly Monday night.
  • Dr Marry and I did our live Tuesday episode of Daily Dose. In part because I was tired, I was irritated when he finally sat down at 8:29 (we start at 8:30). When I said, as the clock was literally ticking down 8-7-6…, “So you’re going to lead this conversation, right?” because we had talked about it the day before, he looked at me like I was speaking jibberish…and then we went live. You can see the fury on my face throughout most of the episode. The conversation reflects his lack of preparation and my refusal to step in and save him—this is one of the few places where I am the “expert” and Dr Marry can flounder if it goes poorly.
  • I had to leave almost right afterwards for a three day conference for my day job in the nonprofit sector. By the time I got to Minot, ND, about four and a half hours away from Fargo, I was still grumpy.
  • The conference was actually great. I (re)connected with people I like and learned some new information as well.
  • I slept poorly both nights I was away.
  • I’m working with a marketing team from both coasts around (re)Discover Your Spark, and we had an excellent meeting this week. They laid out a plan for me that isn’t brand new information, but they said it in a way that a different lightbulb went off in my head.
  • A good friend and I had dinner in Minot. We were talking about my retreat, and I showed her my workbook. I watched a million responses wash over her face before she said, “Can I tell you what I really think?” Then she gave me such extraordinarily useful feedback that I had one of those moments where I thought, “Why in the world didn’t I think of any of that?”
  • I had a grounding conversation with my son on the way home from Minot. He helped me put some things in perspective, as he so often does.
  • Dr Marry and I had a good conversation Tuesday evening, and we talked about Daily Dose on Thursday when I got home, too. We made some important changes to our T and Th morning schedule to get “on set” earlier than 8 seconds before going live.
  • I had a great Friday morning meeting with a business leader, an afternoon date with a friend and we spent Friday evening with our good friends—all three fun and illuminating.
  • While I’m glad to be home in my own bed, I’m still sleeping poorly. There’s just too much on my mind.

So this is a pretty typical week, wouldn’t you agree? Some good, some less than good. Some wins, some disappointments. Some connections, some disconnections.

But I could flip the bullet points that left me disappointed or frustrated to tell a different side of the story:

  • More than three years ago, I conceived of a pretty audacious vacation with friends and family to celebrate a big milestone in my life. Dr Marry and I are providing a fabulous opportunity for people to travel and stay in a big, beautiful house that we’re renting as our gift to them. But they still have to get themselves there, pay for food and other accommodations beyond the house since it’s just for three nights. While some people have decided, for various reasons, that they can’t make the trip work, a number of people have enthusiastically said, “We’re in!” Just because I plan something doesn’t mean it will work for everyone else. I need to focus on the joy of planning and the excitement of those who can make it work.
  • It’s unfair of me to ever expect Dr Marry to “take the lead” in Daily Dose. He wouldn’t expect me to take charge of a plant research project in his lab. If I want him to sit down sooner than 8 seconds before we go live, then I need to express that, and I need to be clear with the “plan” for the episode way before then, too. After all, this is my realm, and I am the producer of this program.

It’s easy to look back on a week and only see the “bad.” To focus only on what didn’t go your way. If you reflect a bit, however, you’ll likely see that while the occasional week can be truly awful, most weeks have more good than bad.

How are you looking at your life? Your choices, your reality, your opportunities? This is more than being half empty or full. This is about taking an honest assessment of what is real in your life and letting go of the negative because it’s not serving you.

Choosing to focus only on the negative creates rocks that emotionally weigh you down. They limit your innate spark’s ability to shine as brightly as it can and should. Fixating on what isn’t working, who’s let you down, where you’ve failed doesn’t make you happy, and it certainly doesn’t create a joyful path going forward.

I’m not saying you should never dwell in the disappointments, missed opportunities and failures because we all have to address the full complexity of our lives, but you can often choose how much time and energy you’ll give that “dark side.” If you chose to stay there, you’ll miss out on so many other extraordinary things that are good.

Lift those rocks off your chest, take a deep breath and look around at all that’s positive in your life right now. Flip the narrative to focus on what makes you happy. Let go of your expectations of what others can or should do.

Your spark longs to shed a bright light on your journey—for you and for others. Don’t let anything or anyone else dim it to the point that you are walking in darkness. Shine on!

ps: And if you have any tips for sleeping better, send them my way. Maybe for about eight hours a night, I wouldn’t mind if my spark dimmed its light just a little bit so I could sleep!

Dayna Del Val is on a mission to help others (re)discover the spark they were born with through her blog and newsletter, her professional talks and the (re)Discover Your Spark retreats she leads. Dayna works with people to help them not just identify and articulate their dreams but to develop a framework to get going on the pursuit of those dreams—today, in the next few months and for the years ahead. She's at the intersection of remarkable and so, so ordinary, but she knows that pretty much everyone else is, too. She's excited to be sharing this extraordinary journey with you.

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