Five Entries to Modify in Your Owner’s Manual So You Can Soar

“My Owner’s Manual was written by a psycho!“

Unfortunately, when I learned what her mother had written in her Owner’s Manual about her, and how her dad had actually reinforced it, I actually couldn’t disagree with her statement.

We all have one. We all have an Owner’s Manual that has specific instructions about who we are, what we are not, what we are capable of, what we are incapable of, and how our life will go.

Whether yours was written by a “psycho,” or parents who meant to install the very best things, don’t you think we should know what our Owner’s Manual actually says?

I am in the middle of a coach training certification program where I am guiding students to learn about their own Owner’s Manual first, so they can help others with theirs.

After the lesson on Owner’s Manuals this past week, one of my brilliant students said that I should help people find the index in their Owner’s Manual. So that at any given moment they could go to and understand what was written in their Manual about those specific things.

Because I had visited with several of the other students who were trying to access what was written in their Owner’s Manual, I thought the indexing idea was brilliant. 

I have heard so many stories from my students over this past week that it made me realize that there were some commonalities that were in almost everyone’s index of their Owner’s Manual.

I thought I would share five of them with you this week so you could follow the index to what has been written in your Owner’s Manual about these topics. Because they are topics that so many people struggle with. 

Did you know that you can rewrite your Owner’s Manual? You are not stuck with what was written in yours. But in order to rewrite and re-program, you must check your index to see what is written about these five things in your Owner’s Manual.


If you check your index, you will find that you have an entry for “you are too… “

I don’t know what yours says after that. Most peoples’ say things like:

  • You are too young, or too old
  • You are too tall, or too short
  • You are too poor, or you are too rich
  • You are too emotional, or you are too much like a robot
  • You are too fair skinned, or you are too dark skinned
  • You are too smart, or you are too dumb.
  • You are too quiet, or you are too loud
  • You are too casual, or you are too formal
  • You are too egotistical, or you are too insecure

You may have more than one of these entries. But the truth is, you are not “too” anything!

When I think about this in my own Owner’s Manual, I think about the papa bear’s chair, and it was too big! The mama bear‘s chair, and it was too small! But the baby bear’s chair was “just right!“

Although we all have room to grow, you need to think of yourself as “just right!“

I asked my client what the “psycho” wrote in her Owner’s Manual under this index. Without any hesitation, she said: “Oh that’s easy! I am too emotional and I talk too much!“

Because I know her well, I was appalled. Her emotions are so sweet, and so well managed. But she did not know that. Because her Owner’s Manual told her differently.

As for talking too much… She’s very inviting in conversation, but always make sure that others have plenty of time to speak.

When I suggested we take that “psycho entry” out of her Owner’s Manual, she was very eager to do so!

Do we need to edit what’s written about you under this index topic? Or do we need to delete it altogether, and replace it with something true about you? 

2. YOU ARE NOT                           ENOUGH

Most everyone has an entry under the index of you are not ­_________   enough.

  • You are not pretty enough.
  • You are not coordinated enough.
  • You are not gifted enough.
  • You are not educated enough.
  • You are not confident enough.
  • You are not skilled enough.
  • You are not connected enough.
  • You are not experienced enough.

Whatever the blank is in your Owner’s Manual, I can assure you that it’s likely very disempowering.

You do not have to keep what has been written in your Owner’s Manual.

My client’s Owner’s Manual said that she was not “smart enough“ to get the degree that she wanted, so it was suggested that she settle for an “easy” degree. 

Thankfully, she has already written over that crazy entry, and has earned her masters degree in a field where she is excelling!

No matter what your Owner’s Manual points out that you are not “enough of“… Let’s rip that page out and re-write it! 


There are various versions of this one:

  • You’ve made too many bad decisions.
  • You’ve made too many poor choices to pull out of this.
  • You’ve just taken too many missteps.
  • You’ve had too many failures.
  • You’ve had too many false starts.

When people tell me that their Owner’s Manual says that they’ve made too many mistakes, I always ask a question to break the moment of shame: “Oh… How many mistakes is too many? I didn’t know that a number had been assigned.“

Recently when a young man told me that, and I asked the question, he had a real a-ha moment. His eyes opened wide as he gasped and said, “OMG! Why do they get to decide how many mistakes are too many?“

I smiled and nodded, “You you get to decide how many mistakes is too many. And from why my worldview, that simply isn’t possible.”

We’ve all made mistakes.

We’ve all had failures.

We’ve all made poor choices and decisions. 

I often tell people, it’s not how many mistakes you’ve made that is significant, it’s how many times you’ve gotten up, learned new lessons, and moved forward as a better and stronger human being!

Perhaps you’ve made some very big mistakes. My question to you is this: “Did you learn from it? Did you make new decisions about how you wanted to handle those kinds of things if they came up again?”

I love that John Maxwell calls it “failing forward.“ When we fall back, we give up on ourselves or often become victims.

But when we fall forward, we acknowledge our mistakes or missteps.

We brush ourselves off.

We consider how to grow from the moment.

We keep our momentum forward.

 You have not made too many mistakes.

Get up!

Keep moving forward!


Oh my! I would say 90% of people I work with have an entry similar to this in their Owner’s Manual.

  • No one will listen to you
  • No one will follow your advice
  • No one will think you have anything to offer

It comes in different forms, but it’s the same message. The message is that you aren’t smart enough, skilled enough, polished enough, or perfect enough.

When I was doing my internship as part of my PhD program years ago, I told my mentor and advisor, Dr. Pat Love, “I just don’t have enough of my life together or straightened out yet so that anyone would want to come to me for counseling.“

In her classic manner, she threw her head back with laughter, and said: “And just who do you think has it perfectly together? There would be no counselors if we had to have things perfectly together before we started.“

Then she gave me some advice that I pass along to all of the coaches that I train and certify: “Just work with people who need assistance in things that you’re at least a step ahead of them.“

I’ve done that for over 25 years, and one of the things I love the most about doing therapy and coaching, whether with individuals, couples, families, or businesses… Is it keeps me on a very steep growth curve all the time. 

I love that! What a gift!

Whatever you’re attempting to do in your life, if that Owner’s Manual entry is nipping at you… I would love to suggest that you make sure you’re on a growth path, and then remember you are steps in front of many people who will be delighted to listen to you! 

There are many “someone’s” who will listen to you!


So many people that I have the privilege of working with have this hammered deep within their brain, heart and soul.

I had it myself. And I truly believed that no one would believe that I could do what I wanted to do.

I was a shy girl who grew up on Galveston Bay and had no special gifts or talents really. Actually, I had plenty within me, but my fear prevented me from stepping out into any of them. When I did, fear engulfed me and pulled me under.

Then I would vow to never do it again. Whether it was a trumpet solo, a twirling routine or sporting event. 

But somehow, after traveling and singing and performing all over the world in the background of an amazing group, something happened that was a life changer for me.

Although in the beginning I was terrified, I was always in the back, and I knew my parts well. No spotlight, so the fear went away pretty quickly.

Just as I was considering leaving the touring group and returning to college, a very unfortunate thing happened. Our lead singer got pneumonia just before our big West Coast tour, and the Musical Director said to me casually while pouring himself a cup of coffee, “You’ll just have to take the lead while she’s out.“

I proclaimed as he walked away: “NO WAY! I can’t do that.” He just looked back at me casually and said, “Of course you can! And … well … you have to!”

Sirens went off in my head and heart, screaming, “You know you can’t do this and no one else believes you can.“

(Interesting how an Owner’s Manual entry can override something that someone you admire says. He believed I could, but I never ascertained that because “NO ONE BELIEVES YOU CAN” was screaming in my head as an entry in my Owner’s Manual, written in big black letters!)

So the next night. there I was singing lead. They had to talk a long time between acts and songs, because I had to run outside and hurl. I was terrified. 

I had to lean against the wall because I was trembling so hard I thought I’d fall down. It got easier as the months went on, but I could hardly wait for my departure from the group to return, to college.

When various group members were asking me what I was planning to study, at first I would just say, “Well … General studies to start with.“ Because they had lived with me for a number of years, and I knew they would not believe that I could counsel anybody.

On the last week of tour I thought to myself, nobody believed I could sing lead including me. And I did it! And I don’t know how, but I’m going to become a counselor!

On my last night of tour before I caught my flight from LA to fly home to Texas, they had a little special gathering for me, and once again asked what I was going to do. Proudly, I announced, “I’m going into counseling/psychology.“ Interestingly enough I had great feedback and support from all of them.

It does not matter who believes in you. Probably more people do than you think.

But the next time anyone doubts you, or you doubt yourself, turn on your best speakers and play Richard Marx: “Ready to Fly:”

I’ve been trying to open the door
To the secret of my destiny
And every new road I think is the one
Seems to lead right back to me

I’ve looked for a way to be wiser
A way to be strong
Now I see the answer was hiding
In me all along

And I’m ready to fly
Over the sun
Like a rocket to heaven
And I’m ready to soar
Right through the sky
Never dreamed I’d find something to lift me so high
I’ve always had wings
But I wasn’t ready to fly

My friend, you’re not “too” anything.

You’re not “not enough” of anything.

it doesn’t matter how many mistakes you’ve made.

There are those who would love to “listen” to you.

And I, for one, believe you can!

Decide today that you are ready to fly!

I tell people when you start working on your Owner’s Manual add one sentence to the beginning of it and one sentence to the end while you work on the middle.

The sentence is for the opening of your Owner’s Manual is:

I’ve looked for a way to be wiser
A way to be strong
Now I see the answer was hiding
In me all along

And the sentence to close it is:

And I’m ready to fly
Over the sun
Like a rocket to heaven
And I’m ready to soar
Right through the sky
Never dreamed I’d find something to lift me so high
I’ve always had wings
But I wasn’t ready to fly

I’ve always had wings
Now I’m finally ready to fly!