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I got a message from somebody in our Author of Your Own Story group and he said, “Doug, I have to talk to you. I have a story. Something happened to me,” and so when I reached out to him in a follow-up, I got to hear what their voice had to say and what they told me was, “About 10 years ago, all the window screens in our house had totally been gone,” so in other words, they had been damaged over time, ripped out or what have you. So, for the past decade, they had been without window screens in their home. Now this has caused all kinds of problems. They have had dirt coming in. They’ve had tons of bugs for over a decade.

This man has raised two beautiful children and still, bugs, everything coming in, just keeping his house dirty. The reason he hadn’t fixed it is his ex-wife’s mother had told him, “You know what, that’s going to cost you upwards of $1,200 to fix those.” At the time, he didn’t have the money or as he really relayed it, once our conversation got going, he just didn’t choose to invest the money. He went out. He had a good time, and he could’ve paid that $1,200, but the thought of a $1,200 expense to fix screens prevent him from taking any action.

Finally, his new woman, who’s an amazing woman, told him, “Hey, look, you got to get this fixed,” and so he finally picked up the phone and called the window repair place and said, “Hey, look, what’s it going to cost? Give me an estimate. What’s it going to cost to get my screens?” This is 10 years ago. He’s thinking $1,200. What’s it going to be now? $1,500? Maybe even more?

Well, they came out and they gave him an estimate, and it was $200 to put screens in his entire home. Solving this problem. See, he told a story. He took a story that somebody else gave him. Somebody else told him it was going to cost $1,200 or more and he’s stuck with that. That prevented him from taking action.

What does this have to do with the IRS? Well, back, probably, maybe almost 20 years ago, I remember sitting in a seminar, and the seminar was on integrity. The seminar was talking about being in integrity and not lying. Well, they gave us a task of picking one area of our life where we were out of integrity, and then following through and taking a major step to get back into that.

The next day, I remember a man raising his hand to talk to everybody, and what he said was really profound and something that’s stuck with me today. He said he has been hiding from the IRS for 15 years. He’s been living under a false name. He’s cut off contact with most of his family, although he was somewhat successful. He had actually just been working on a cash basis. He had been hiding from the IRS because he believed he owed them over $250,000.

Well, the seminar was really good and it really hit him too, so the idea of integrity, he finally decided, “You know what, I’m going to do something about this.” He picked up the phone and called the IRS, said what his name was and said, “You know what, I owe you money,” and they said, “Hold on, sir.” When the woman got back on the phone with him, she said, “No, sir, actually, you’re wrong. We owe you money.”

See, what he told us was this whole weight just lifted off of him. He had some medical conditions that instantly cleared up. He had created a story that he never followed through to find out the truth of. He created a story that he owed this money that just weighed him down. It made him change the whole path of his life and here, with one simple action, one simple great step of making a phone call to get clarity around an issue totally changed his way of being.

This is the same with the man with the screen or the guy with the IRS, but this is also the same with all of us. So what I invite you to do is look at your five to thrive. Look at your holistic life, your mind, your body, your soul, your relationships, and your business. Where do you have a story around something that you haven’t verified?

I know I do this all the time and that’s why I constantly list my five to thrive, and I come up with statements that I believe are true and ask myself, “Do I know for sure that’s true and why?” Sometimes, when I write this out, what I will find is that this is a story that I’ve heard from a different time or maybe I grew up just thinking this or I’ve heard from my parents. Who knows?

Oftentimes, it’s just a matter of making one phone call for clarity to clear up a message. Maybe it’s a relationship that got damaged or something was said or you thought something might’ve been said or somebody might have done an action that you interpreted one way. By making that one phone call to clean it up, you can repair relationships and get clarity around an issue.

I’m going to ask you today. Take out your journal. Write down your five to thrive, and ask yourself, “In which of each of these areas do you have a story that’s not complete fact or you don’t know all the facts that you can get cleaned up and get clarity around?” I think you’re going to see this really lifting yourself and really taking a weight off your shoulders, so you can move forward.

Don’t be the guy who waits 10 years to put screens on his windows, so his family feels good and the bugs are out or the guy that thinks he owes money to the IRS, so he’s hiding out for 15 years. Losing those 15 years of vibrancy in his life, only to find out that they owe him money.

Be the author of your own story, and part of that calls for getting clarity around your life.

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