Authoring Your Own Life

You are your own best authority. You know what works best for you and what doesn’t. Even though it may appear more comforting to receive validation of a business plan or startup idea from another, your best bet is to trust yourself.

The bottom line is, no one cares about you as much as you do. Authoring ones own life is about engaging the courage to follow ones own gut. It’s about being your own man or woman in every way.

We hear it all the time. Be all of who you are. To do that, it’s necessary to take off all masks you could be hiding behind so that the real you has space to emerge. I work with many would-be entrepreneurs in my career coaching practice and so far, everyone of them, at some point, goes through a crisis of self-confidence.

Even though you may be fortunate to find sufficient encouragement on the outside, your true authority is found within. I find it fascinating that authentic, authority and author all share the same word roots. In fact, the origin of authentic is authoritative, which meant acting as ones one authority. That’s exactly the self-assigned credibility that any new entrepreneur needs to declare.

I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don’t have as many people who believe it.
George Carlin

Like many of Carlin’s best lines, he wasn’t really kidding. In the design and authoring of your own life, you have more authority than any recognized authority figure. Without recognition of your own authority you have not really accepted responsibility. Without responsibility you don’t have dominion, power, or the prerogative to call your own shots.

Outside certifications, information products and educational degrees could be exactly what you need or they could be just what someone else thinks you need. Going back to school isn’t always the answer. Permission to be fully authentic is a self-given authority. Seize it now.

Everyone needs to question outside authority, because rarely do they have your best interests at heart. But when it comes to your own authority, self-questioning of your inherent ability only leads to greater doubt. Many who question their own authority are really afraid of how their life may change once they are wildly successful.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
Marianne Williamson

If you’ve never read this entire Williamson passage go here and prepared to be inspired.

Some hopeful entrepreneurs fall into the double trap of comparing themselves to others while at the same time caring too much about what others think. That’s a slippery pit to climb out of because looking without abdicates self-authority.

What’s fascinating is that those same folks think that their success is dependent on the government, the economy or some other outside authority. It’s not. Your success is up to you and that’s a good thing. Along with that responsibility comes your ability and authority to write the script for your own life.

You’re writing it anyway, whether you’re aware of it or not. Might as well add some intentionality to your script and author the life that you most want to live.

Before I came to this realization, in movie genres, my life was mostly a drama. Since I’ve had script control, I’ve decided to make it an inspirational feel-good story.

How about you? What has the movie of your life been so far, a tragedy, a comedy or perhaps even a thriller?

What would you like it to be? Begin intentionally writing today because you’re living it right now.


  1. Evelyn Lim says:

    What happened to my comment?? It didn’t get through the first time round…I’m going to try again….

    I was not in control of the pen that wrote my script for the longest time. It was sheer misery! Then I realized that I ought to be the one in charge. I am now determined to write my script my way. A life of inspiration, hope, peace, joy, abundance and love!

    Evelyn Lims last blog post..What Enneagram Profile Type Am I?

  2. Hi Tom. So true; take responsibility and empower yourself. My life has been a regular film festival and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Although, I could use a short iintermission or perhaps a stunt person to give me a hand 🙂

    Davinas last blog post..Creative Luny Landing In The Sand

  3. When I first came out with my business idea, a mentor of mine told me he hoped I wasn’t making a mistake. I was a bit shocked by his disapproval but I decided I knew myself better than he did and I believed in myself. So I ignored his warnings and proceeded on.

    For you all reading this. I took Tom’s Authentic Business class. It was an incredible experience. I highly recommend it!

  4. It’s important to believe in own ideas – make mistakes and learn from them. If we rely always on others, when will we learn then ?

    Avanis last blog post..Saying No – And Feeling Good About It

  5. Hi Davina – the intermission sounds good sometimes, that’s for sure. But even then as I’m sure you know life just keeps rolling.

    Avani – self-reliance is a huge lesson for many to really get and then follow.

    Laurie – Yep we need to choose our mentors and advisers carefully.
    When you get feedback like you did they are usually just tapping into their own fear. I’m so pleased that you chose to ignore it.

    Thanks for the endorsement of my course. I’d like to encourage all prospective enrollees to check out my coaching in a free phone class like you did. It’s a great way to experience the coach’s style, content and guidance.

    Evelyn – Sorry, I don’t know what happened the first time around. Glad you persisted. I’m also inspired by your decision to write your own life’s script.

    Andrea – I agree you are indeed authoring your own life. Also what you say is so true. Finding the courage to follow through on the voice within is where many stop actually writing.

  6. Adam Pieniazek says:

    This post comes at a perfect time Tom. Just the other day I had to re-explain to my mom why school is simply not an option right now. There’s just no way I could balance school and my startup, and worse yet it wouldn’t help my startup, at least not as much as focusing on it full-time will! I made a relatively sound argument but still I’m emailing your post to her to help explain a bit better than “a piece of paper from an unchallenging, uncreative institution won’t help me”.

    Thanks again Tom!

    Adam Pieniazeks last blog post..Trickle Up Economics Beats Bank Bailouts

  7. I feel like I’m definitely the author of my own life. All of our own answers lie within – it’s finding the courage to receive and act on those answers that can be daunting. It’s so much easier to abdicate both power and responsibility and go along with what other people tell us.


  8. Tom,

    I love the Carlin quote!

    I am absolutely the author of my own life, but it took me awhile to figure out that I wasn’t just the actor in my own life — as if my life was a script given to me, with a part I must play, with my reacting being my only potential role.

    I am the writer, producer, director — and the Story has no template or formula that can be followed — it doesn’t even exist without my making it so.

  9. It takes a LOT of courage to author our own lives and be accountable. But I really would not have it any other way.
    I am finally starting my own business and there is really no place or time for self-doubt!

    Mayas last blog post..The key to happiness and balance is right with you, just learn to use it – Part 1 of the thinkmaya framework

  10. Adam – that is well said. Even a piece of paper from a challenging, creative institution may not help you as much as your own creativity and resolve. Tell you Mom to relax and let you be the guy you are. Most likely you’ll amaze her.

    Slade – yes George Carlin is still one of my heroes. He never apologized for his beliefs no matter who he offended. I like your expansion on my theme. Absolutely each of us plays all of those roles and it can be fun to make adjustments on the fly!

  11. Hi Tom: I think it’s vital that we stop looking for approval and validation from others and learn to listen to our own inner voice. Because what you say here is very true: no one knows or cares about what is best for each of us than we do ourselves.

  12. Jenny Mannion says:

    Hi Tom,
    Beautiful post and lessons it took me a LONG time to learn. I was a people pleaser for a long time AND did not know JUST how powerful I was. I have gone from writing a tragedy to writing a spiritual adventure novel filled with laughs and could NOT be happier! Love both the Williamson quote and the Carlin quote – thank you and stumbled!
    🙂 Gratefully, Jenny

    Jenny Mannions last blog post..Train for Humanity

  13. This is a recurring theme in my life. I find the biggest challenge is to do what you know is right.

    Claras last blog post..Can You Create Happiness With Your Thoughts?

  14. Tom,

    This is it! Especially in days like this, this is where we are able to live our RICHEST lives. We design our days by the choices and decisions we make – not the outside circumstances we encounter.

    People who flourish, FLOURISH.
    Nothing can stop it.
    AND people who flourish and share their blessings,
    Become a gift to the world.

    That’s you Tom.

    Harmonys last blog post..Small Business Squares off with Tough Economy

  15. “The bottom line is, no one cares about you as much as you do. Authoring ones own life is about engaging the courage to follow ones own gut.” Great line and something I have to remember. Comparing myself to others is also a trap I fall into no matter what the subject is.

    Carlas last blog post..Green and Chic Lists – 10/8/08

  16. Hi Maya – That’s so exciting that you are making your move to your own business! We love it here at Delightful Work because you have lifted many by example. What business are you starting?

    Hi Marelisa – For me that inner voice has always been trying to get my attention but I had the channels clogged with self-doubt and fear. After a lot of spiritual roto-rooting I’m clear and getting great reception. If we all took great care of ourselves by putting ourselves first we would all be much stronger and more able to lend a hand to others.

    Hi Jenny – welcome, isn’t it something how many of us really needed to learn this one? That journey from “other-focused authority” to being your own person represents the dues that we all needed to pay to be independent. It’s all good!

    Hi Clara – welcome, it’s funny how lessons tend to repeat themselves. Perhaps you can take this as a sign that you’re ready to be done learning this one?

    Hi Harmony – you warm my heart with your beautiful praise, thank you. Yep let’s flourish and lift the world!

  17. Hi Tom – great stuff indeed – and thanks for the info on the Williamson quote – I’m just learning about her, and I’ve seen that quote before.

    Robins last blog post..Why We Want To Live

  18. I like this article. It’s comfortable not to take personal responsibility, and you can go for years blaming other people or institutions for your problems… but in the end it all comes down to you. Scary, but far more empowering.

    Even if you’ve been letting others author your life for years, it’s not too late to take control. In fact, you have all the more reason to.

  19. Carla – welcome. I think we all still compare regardless of how self-actualized we become. So perhaps the key is to flaunt your own bad ass self so shamelessly that you make yourself laugh. I find that the wilder become, meaning untamed and natural, not necessarily obnoxious, the more comfortable I am in my own skin. That makes me not give a damn about the opinion of others because I can almost guess what it will be. At that point comparisons become less of an issue. Give it a shot – flaunt yourself!

    Robin – that passage was really made popular by Mandela and it became kind of viral a while back. So many motivational speakers were ending with it that it become almost banal. But it is powerful and so very true.

    Richard – welcome man. Yes it’s never to late to step up and be the man or woman you really are deep within. WE all have a gift to give and often that gift cannot emerge when we are wearing a mask. Good point on responsibility. It’s ever present and if we do not seize it then we have chosen to become helpless victims.

  20. We’re writing the script of our life whether we’re aware of it or not — this is so true Tom! If we just realize this, then we can begin to write it intentionally. Powerful thought…

    Lances last blog post..Life’s A Balancing Act

  21. I agree 100% that we are all authors of our own life. However, along the way, there may be a downturn, beyond our control. The trick is to recover from the slip and get control of your life again. I believe happiness is not the same for everybody. My idea of happiness can be summarized in this statement ” The time that you have really live is the time when you have really touch the lives of others”. Good Day to ALL!!

  22. David – welcome. Sure, I’d say it’s more than likely that there are several downturns in our lives. To lessor and greater degrees we have created those as well although perhaps not with full conscious intention. You’re right on – it’s all in how we respond to what happens.

    Lance – best wishes to that automatic constant state of awareness where you know you’re writing the l;life you most want to live.

  23. I always say the best is still unwritten! I will be sharing this post with my staff, thank you for the reminder!


    Miss MatchMakers last blog post..Living vs Existing

  24. Miss MatchMaker – welcome and thanks for passing this along. Wishing you many happy trails as you author your own life.


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