OUTsight/ Authoring Your Story

Photo Austin Neill at Unsplash

Photo Austin Neill at Unsplash


Jakarta, 4 July 2018 — Are you authoring your life story or still starring in life dramas? Here is why it matters.

Moved to innovate

Have you noticed how innovations are often led by people who have stepped out of their comfort zone? If often happens with people who have started a new life challenge, like a move to another country. Have you experienced this already?

Without your trusted structures to support you, you can feel a need to create something new and thereby level up in your leadership for others and yourself. Being in a new environment may also trigger new and exciting perspectives on how to combine ideas into new solutions or products.

Research has shown that taking on new challenges can contribute as much as 70% of your leadership growth and that taking an assignment overseas is an effective way of doing that. In The Other Side, I wrote how this applied to three chefs who chose to move to foreign lands. Most of the leaders I know have had a similar experience after expanding their horizons.

Learning from new experiences will give you most value when you have a curiosity to learn and a positive attitude to take on challenges with courage and a cheerful mindset. These are two of the three foundational behaviors of Triple C Leaders, together with doing your homework to become convincing in your ability to inspire others and make a difference.

To come up with new solutions or products, your Triple C Leaders mindset will help you. To start off, it will take courage and awareness to step beyond the experience and well-intentioned advice from people around you and embark on your own course and create your own story. It's what artists are challenged to do when they set out to develop their own style. 

Transforming out of dramas

Many things can hold you back, especially the fear of not being good enough, and also the drama of life stories you are starring in. Most of us are already playing several roles in life dramas, including the role of victim in relationships and circumstances when you unconsciously hand the power over your life to others.

It can be hard to turn this around, as pointed out by Matt Church, a thought leader in Australia and a prominent teacher in my leadership journey. In Attention Out he offers a choice between acting in the drama of life stories and becoming the author of your own life. What a powerful distinction that is.

When you transform from drama roles to authoring your own story, you start becoming aware that you can take full responsibility for your life, including your thoughts, behaviors, and actions. I was reminded of this kind of transformation when I listened to an artist's talk by Natisa Jones, an Indonesian-born painter and a Millennial who works in Bali and Amsterdam, about her exhibition Grotesk in Jakarta. 

Natisa Jones speaks on Jakarta TV about her exhibition 'Grotesk' at Komunitas Salihara.

Natisa Jones speaks on Jakarta TV about her exhibition 'Grotesk' at Komunitas Salihara.


In my own life, such a transformation started when I chose to move in my career from working as a global water expert and development banker to becoming a leadership trainer and coach. No one advised me to make that move—I authored that story myself and I took on the challenge.

My transformation keeps evolving as I create new chapters in my story, just like Natisa Jones is authoring the next chapters of her story as a painter. 

Authoring your story

Whatever your situation is, you can choose to make new meaning in it and become an innovator in work and life. Making a move to another job, city, or country can help you create more space to step out of your comfort zone, take responsibility for your full life, and start authoring your story. 

Matt Church wraps up his post by sharing how his coach taught him about the power of responsibility to understand the world as the author of his own story. 

Are you already authoring your life story, or are you still starring in life dramas?

Have the courage to let go of the stories of the past that hold you back, and start to author your own life.
— Matt Church