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That’s not who I am

Yesterday morning I had coffee with a fellow mindfulness teacher in the tiny town of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.

As we swapped stories about how we were led to this work, she spoke of helping couples who had been through some sort of trauma – an affair, addiction, etc. – but were trying to repair their relationship and hold their families together.

“What did you like most about that?” I asked.

She looked at me and her eyes welled up with emotion.

“So many of my clients deeply regretted the damage they had caused. They would say to me over and over, ‘That’s not who I am.’”

In that moment of genuine sincerity…

… I thought of Paula Deen.

Because in her Today Show mea culpa this week where Deen was asked about making racial slurs in the past, she basically said the same thing.

Over and over.

That’s not who I am.

It’s fascinating how many of us talk such big games about who we are, only to fall short – sometimes when it matters most.

Doesn’t make us bad people.

Doesn’t mean we can’t change.

Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be forgiven.

However, it does mean an opportunity for the rest of us to learn from those mistakes.

As I was listening to my friend talk about her clients, I was reminded yet again of how years and years of hard work – with a spouse, with a child, with a colleague, with customers, and, yes, with the Food Network, QVC, and Target – can be gone in a moment.

Which is exactly why you need to own each and every moment you’ve been given.

Because it’s what you do RIGHT NOW that defines who you are.

Regardless of what you say later.

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