Friday, September 30, 2011

Jack Welch on the Wall

When I was a junior in college, I found a quote by Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE:

Control your own destiny or someone else will.

I wrote it down and pinned it to the bulletin board that hung above my desk next to photo collages of friends, magazine cutouts and a life we all thought we wanted (and would have).  I wanted to embrace controlling my destiny, perhaps because I knew I was not in control, but controlled; whether it be by my fears, my family, peers, boyfriends....think of me as a leaf in a stream, carried by the current, sometimes gently, sometimes getting a little "beat up" in the process. 

Yesterday I was searching for a quote or saying to put in my oldest boy's senior yearbook patron ad and I found Jack Welch's quote.  We decided to go with something else, something that will mean something to him..and make him laugh, but I can't share it here yet.  (Not that he would ever read this. As if!)

Anyway, coming across that quote made me think...who is controlling my destiny?

If we want to go theological the answer still isn't clear cut.  Some believe that God started the world and now it's running on momentum and God is hands-off, watching.  Some believe that God has a hand in every little thing that happens.  Most believe that God has a plan for each of us and that God can use for good everything our free-willing selves choose to do.

So if I'm reclaiming my awesome, I need to start thinking about controlling my destiny.  But controlling my destiny may have consequences, some you expect and some that are unanticipated and may not rear their (ugly ?) heads for quite some time. I don't live in a vacuum; I have a family, friends, obligations...I can't just decide I want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and beat feet, you know?  (No, I really have no desire to do that, it was an example.)

Yesterday one of my friends posted a quote on crackbook   fb, "...if you get a chance, take it.  If it changes your life, let it..."  Hmmmm.  Ms Medium isn't a chance-taking, acceptor of change.  Remember the leaf in the stream, getting carried by the current?  And now I'm thinking about controlling my destiny and taking chances.  It's a lot to think about, at least it is for me. 

I'm taking baby steps and one of them is realizing that finding my awesome depends on me controlling my own destiny.  How I feel, who I am, what I do cannot be based on another human, no matter how much I love them, respect them or want them to accept and love me.

Baby steps.  When the Husband's response to a new outfit I choose is, "I [meaning him] don't have to wear it." (which means he hates it), and I loved it, I will still love it.  (And my dark purple nail polish.)  To be fair, I don't think he's trying to control me or my choices, just voicing his opinion.  It's my problem that I internalize his opinion and don't trust my own.

Controlling my own destiny (and finding my awesome, cuz it's all about me.;) ) is about trusting myself to be rational and practical but it doesn't necessarily mean just going where the current takes me.  It's not going to be easy and sometimes my outfit won't work.  (Let's hope that's the worst consequence. ;) )

That handwritten quote from all of those years ago might still be kicking around in a box (doubtful), but I'm glad I was reminded of it yesterday and I want to embrace it again.

To loosely quote Martin Luther, "Sin boldly, and trust in the Lord bolder still."



  1. I have really found myself thinking about this very issue in the last year, Stacey.

    I recently made the very big decision to quit my long-term career. I prayed and prayed about it before making the decision, but never really felt like I heard from God, one way or the other.

    When I finally made the announcement at work, I was met with some tears and anger by coworkers. Later, I went for a walk and I asked God,"Why didn't you respond to me? I asked! I asked for a clear answer!" And almost clear as an audible voice (almost) I had this thought: "What do YOU want to do? I'm not saying no!"

    Oh. You mean God was letting me decide what I wanted for my life?

    That's when it dawned on me, sometimes we want someone to take the wheel and drive us to our destination so we don't have to think or take responsibility. But sometimes I think God is saying, "Do what you want-- go where you want in life-- just include Me, please, and I'll make sure you're in my will." Oh.

  2. Hi Stacey! I just stumbled onto your blog. What a great site you have!! I am now your newest follower; and I hope you will follow me, too! God bless you!