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  • Gladys Agawi

Do You Own Your Headlines





“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Aristotle


I have had too many conversations about the overwhelm experienced when listening and reading the headlines about all the bad stuff happening everywhere. If you are not careful, you will not even notice the change in your reactions and behaviors from the attention you have given to bad news. It seems like every conversation becomes about the problems and it becomes a negative pattern of behavior that spins out of control. Have you ever developed a headline about your life that defines who you are based on outside situations? For example:


• Some believe because the COVID pandemic negatively impacted their business that they are a failure.

• Others see the political turmoil in the news or in real life and believe they will always be in bondage to government.

• Too often high divorce rates are perceived to mean you will never be happily married or find a partner

• When examples are heard and shared about toxic organizational cultures you fear you will never have organizational, team, or career success.


I know you have your own negative headline that you have adapted to outside circumstances. Are your actions and behavior aligning to the headline you have chosen for your life? Have you lost focus on the things that matter? Have you allowed everything else to take priority over you and your ambitions? Are you following a direction that is taking you nowhere fast? Your identity will be damaged if you choose to adopt the negative headlines.


Decide to choose differently and see the bigger picture when defining yourself. Keep your pattern of behavior and headline focused on the present, future, and what you have. But what does it mean to define yourself?


Defining yourself means you know who you are, what you stand for, the rules in which you live, and your characteristics/identity. Some examples are your values, morals, level of integrity, importance of your word, what you consider to be good and bad things, and your beliefs. Having a positive belief system means you know your past has made you stronger, you will find a way, your word is your bond. In this case, your headline could be “A Way Made Out of No Way”. You act accordingly. This headline says you are not alone. Help is near. The struggle is real, but you will make it out of the struggle, no matter what. An opposite headline will defeat you before you start. Your steps will never be enough to reach your goals, get that job, promotion, or partner. Your focus is on what you are missing and the past.


Remember where your focus goes your energy will flow. Answer these questions:


• How have I defined myself and what is my associated headline?

• How are my actions aligned to it?

• What are my advantages and disadvantages?

• What “must” I change to think and act differently and better?

• Why is it important to make that change? What will be the impact if I do not?

• Write down your updated identity and headline that describes who you are and act on it.


You choose how to identify yourself, the kind of person you want to be, or the life you want to live. The danger with not taking these steps is that you will be defined by your subconscious. Your subconscious will pull in your environment, the world around you, the people you hang out with, your experiences, and your failures and create an identity for you. The danger with this is that you could be taking in a bunch of negative experiences and letting them define you without realizing it. You could also be trying to do something that means a lot to you, such as starting a new career, business, or relationship, but find that you keep having failures with it. If you are not careful, you will create a headline that says, I AM A FAILURE, rather than switching your mindset to show that you are the kind of person who perseveres through struggles, is worthy of success, joy, love, and enough. Do not waste your life living a negative headline. It holds you back from being the best version of yourself so others can be their best version of themselves.


Identify the thoughts and actions that limit you. Even with a new identity and headline old habits and conditioning will come up. Accept and understand them taking action to let them go. The more you do this the easier it becomes to release yourself from old habits and conditioning. If you need help letting go, seek help from someone to ensure your success.


Pastor Andy Stanley told this story, “Sometimes I just want it to stop. Talk of COVID, looting, brutality. I lose my way. I become convinced that this “new normal” is real life. Then I meet an 87-year-old who talks of living through polio, diphtheria, Vietnam protests and yet is still enchanted with life. He seemed surprised when I said that 2020 must be especially challenging for him. “No,” he said slowly, looking me straight in the eyes. “I learned a long time ago to not see the world through the printed headlines, I see the world through the people that surround me. I see the world with the realization that we love big. Therefore, I just choose to write my own headlines:


“Husband loves wife today.” “Family drops everything to come to Grandma’s bedside.” He patted my hand. “Old man makes new friend.” His words collide with my worries, freeing them from the tether I had been holding tight. They float away. I am left with a renewed spirit and a new way to write my own headlines.” Your headlines and identity are yours.


Write and own them!


“If you really have your own identity, you’ll keep on doing what you think is really right for you, and you’ll also understand the next step you want to take.”-Helmut Lang


Article by Gladys Agwai



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