Sunday, January 22, 2012

Discover Your Story

(Chris Seay, Pastor at Ecclesia Church, emphasizes the importance of living your own story.)

Living your own story is about acting in a manner that is consistent with your set of core values. I admire those among us who act consistently, no matter the company or environment in which they find themselves. These folks are true to themselves. They are what I call the “consistent few.”

How many of the consistent few do you know? I know less than a handful.

A member of the consistent few looks at himself in the mirror every day, and sees who he should see, not an unrecognizable person living someone else’s life. He assumes his own story, mistakes and all. He doesn't waste time worrying about what others think, or care what’s said about him. He likes himself just as he is. He understands his own limits and motivations. He is not misled by artificial incentives better fit for another man.

Why is it important to be consistent?

In my life, discontent arrives when I allow myself to be pushed into doing something that’s inconsistent with what I believe—something not reflective of me. The contrary is true when I'm acting in a consistent manner. It is then that I find my flow and excel at whatever I'm doing.

The discovery of my story, in part, is found through writing. It is through this blog in particular that I have begun to discover, understand and appreciate the unique value in my own story.

That brings me to my relationship with the city of Houston, and how this relationship has also been a driving force in shaping who I am today. The city has been an integral piece of my story.

Born and raised in Houston, my relationship with the city has blown hot and cold.

For years, at the top of my bucket list has been to live somewhere else with Emily for an extended period of time. I think it would be amazing to live abroad with her.

In my experience, I've found nothing more perception-shaping than being steeped in the ways of another culture. Making such an experience as a couple has been a mission of mine. I've been frustrated at times that it has not happened for us, because for so long, my very fulfillment was staked into the idea that it would.

Moving abroad has always felt within reach. We live in an ever-flattened world, where business is regularly done across borders. I work for a company with offices spanning the globe. I work in the energy business, one of the most global there is. I have several friends and colleagues who have made life-changing journeys abroad.

To be sure, consulting in the energy world has provided plenty of short-term international experiences that I may not have gotten otherwise, but the right opportunity to move abroad has not come about. That’s not to state that it won’t happen, and if it were to happen, that we wouldn't openly accept it.

Looking back on the past few years, remaining in Houston has been altogether positive: I've come to love the city in new and previously unknown ways. I've come to realize that we are meant to be here.

While coming to appreciate the value stemming from our familial histories in Houston, Emily and I have carved out our own lives here. We have made space for authentic living in a city that, in and of itself, has evolved just as we have, growing more open and cultural.

As Houston continues its economic advancement, welcoming more people from all over every day, the quality of life here improves proportionally. It is rife with opportunities on a variety of levels. The city has developed dynamically, accommodating young professionals. Take the resurgence of Washington Avenue and the Heights for example, or the vibrant local coffee scene that is taking root.

At 35, my story—in a lot of ways—centers on Houston and the relationship I have with it. I have come to enjoy the city and its offerings. I'm content with it. So being here adds a measure of consistency to life.

There’s more to my story, yes, but the first step to telling your story is to discover it.