I grew up listening to my grandparents telling stories of immigrating to Canada and many of the
struggles, hardships and even triumphs that came along with it. I loved sitting there for hours
listening to their passion and depth of emotion as they shared details of making such an
impactful move for the future of their families. I couldn’t get enough, because they lived it,
experienced it, and overcame it.
Years later, as an adult, that got me thinking about the power of a story. I’ve always enjoyed
listening to others share their life experiences, reading books about miraculous turnarounds and
watching movies about the underdog making a victorious comeback. It’s contagious to connect
with the ups and downs of someone who is not willing to give up, back down and quit.
What’s interesting is when my life took a drastic turn and I found myself going through a painful
and challenging set of circumstances, I hid my story for many years. When I eventually got
through two divorces, bankruptcy, living on welfare and being left to raise a child on my own, I
packed my story away, even from some people I considered close friends. I had no idea that my
story had any value. You know why? Because I was looking at my story through the wrong lens.
𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗩𝗶𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗺 𝗟𝗲𝗻𝘀
It’s easy to go through difficulties and want to feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve all done it, and it
may make us feel justified in the moment, but rooting into a victim stance is very dangerous. A
victim mentality reduces one’s perspective instead of increasing it. The focus tends to be on
‘me’ and a victim generally doesn’t have the capacity to see the bigger picture around them. A
victim can easily jump into self-preservation and continually look inward, which is incredibly
limiting. Growth simply cannot happen with this kind of mindset. Although I can sympathize with
victim’s stories, I’m not encouraged and strengthened by them.
𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗩𝗶𝗰𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗼𝘂𝘀 𝗟𝗲𝗻𝘀
Looking through a victorious lens means looking fear in the face and telling it that you’re
stepping forward regardless of how you feel. Feelings can lie to us and it’s important to keep
them in their proper place. To be victorious means to get out of your own head and see what
gifts and abilities the world needs from you. It means using what’s happened in your life to
benefit others, and maybe even change the course of your family’s future. It’s about looking
beyond yourself to see possibilities despite the failures. This lens may be weightier to pick up
and look through, but the result is impactful for not only ourselves, but so many around us.
Legacy may be at stake. We don’t thrive when everything is easy; we thrive when we face the
hard stuff to conquer and overcome. We were created for victory. These are the stories that
change lives and the world.
Looking back, the shame and guilt narrative I had formed about my own story was actually lying
to me and nothing was going to change until I took a step back and allowed the truth to speak to
me. If I found value in the stories I heard about others going through difficult times, why wouldn’t
someone find value in mine? When I took that first bold step and began to speak my story out
loud, I surprisingly found that others could relate and found hope in my words. Once I made the
decision to look through the victorious lens, purpose, clarity and a nervous excitement showed
up. I’ve never looked back, even when that old narrative tries to rear its ugly head.
I believe in the power of story so much that I created a podcast called Channel One Stories. It’s
a collection of stories told by everyday people who are in the process of unearthing their voice
and sharing their story out loud. If you need inspiration to fuel your own story, this is where you
will find it.
There is power in a story. YOUR story. What lens will you choose to look through?
About the Author
Kim Westlund is a Certified Flourishing Life Coach, Entrepreneur, Speaker and Moderator and is the Founder of Channel One Productions and The Business B-Side Podcast.
Kim’s diverse career and leadership roles have spanned over 30 years in corporate and not-for-profit companies, from numerous world-class performing arts theatres to aligning innovative community partnerships in the banking industry. Kim gained recognition as a leader in the business community facilitating impactful discussions with successful entrepreneurs for Postmedia Network. Kim is a natural connector and is passionate about people and helping them thrive in life and business.
Kim lives in Calgary, Alberta with her husband Doug, beautiful daughter Jayda and Oscar, their sweet, feisty and hairless dog, and very excited to bring her extensive coaching and training skillset to the table as a Facilitator for the Certified Flourishing Coaching™ Program. Kim will facilitate the Certified Flourishing Coaching™ Program in Lethbridge, Alberta and other locations.