Live Out LOUD: What’s Your Story?

“If you asked me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.”

–Emile Zola   


Here’s the thing: We all have stories.


Someone asks how you are on a particularly bad day and you quip, “I’m fine.” Or, you meet an old acquaintance on the street and she asks how the kids are and how work is. You tell her, “The kids are great. The job is fantastic.”


It’s a perfectly ordinary exchange of banter. We each have similar conversations, share similar stories each day.


Here’s the thing: We all have stories.


But, more often than not, the stories we tell are not an accurate representation of our actual lives. We don’t want to say that we’re knee-deep in a dark place and don’t know how to get out. We don’t want to say that one of the kids is failing at school. We don’t want to say that our work often feels meaningless. We tell ourselves that we don’t have time to go into the gory details with everyone we meet. That we don’t know this person well enough. That we don’t want to appear sad, confused, lost, weak or self-absorbed. And so we hide our truths, cover our secrets and go away wondering, “How come he/she has it all together?”


More important than stories, we all have truth. That’s the real magic. That’s where our living gets LOUD.


The truth is a meeting place. It’s where we come together. It’s where we learn to live out loud. To practice what it means to show up and be seen. It’s where we practice courage and gain clarity. It’s where we realize we’re not alone (and that no one has it all together).


What is your story? And, how different would your life be if you told it?


This month’s theme is all about living out loud and like the opening quote suggests, that is where the real living of life takes place. But, rather than living out loud, I found myself shrinking. Instead of my life being a living declaration, I was barely an audible whisper. Rather than living life purposefully, I resorted to a mechanical way of living where I’ve been going through the motions.


I talk a lot about being vulnerable and raw. I share my stories quite often in class and wholeheartedly believe that our stories connect us in greater ways than we could ever imagine. But I realized this week as I was gripped by writer’s block that the stories I share have been livED out loud; they aren’t ones I am Liv-ING out loud. The stories I share go something like this: “This is what I went through and this is what I learned.” And that’s great…but what about the stories that say, “This is where I AM. Right now. I don’t know what that is. I’m struggling. I’m sad. And I don’t have the answers…not yet anyway.” What about those stories?


Living out loud is having the courage to say what we need. To say what isn’t working. To share what we’re going through. It isn’t about winning or losing. It’s not about the big steps or the finish line. It’s not even about being LOUD. Living out loud is about taking risks, small steps even. It’s about questioning the life we’re living and deciding if that’s the life we want to live. It might be telling someone you love them. Or going full force toward your dream. It might sharing your story…your REAL story, not the one of smoke and mirrors. It might be moving away from something that is a dead end for you even though it’s easier to stay. It might be having the courage to start again. It may be something less dramatic but sill just as powerful.


We all have stories: THIS  is the one I am living out loud this week.


Putting ourselves out there, living our life out loud, does come with great risk. But, when we step back and examine our lives, we will find that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous or hurtful as standing on the outside looking in and wondering what it would be like if we had the courage to step into the arena–that new relationship, an important meeting, a difficult confrontation. What we know matters, but who we are–who we show up as–matters more. Being rather than knowing requires us to show up and be seen. It requires us to speak our truth, to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, so that we can cultivate a heart of courage and a voice filled with conviction.


What is your story? And, how different would you like be if you told it

Join the conversation and start living your life out loud today.


May we courageously rise to the occasions in our lives. May our daringness to live out loud allow us to explore our unlimited potential for growth and authenticity. May we realize that none of us have it all together but in our stories we’ll find a meeting place and our voice.