What Tunnel?

“No matter what you’re going through, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it may seem hard to get to it but you can do it and just keep working towards it and you’ll find the positive side of things.” Demi Lovato

Sound familiar? It is to me – it’s a very old saying dating back to approximately 1922. I hear it used often, but have you ever stopped to consider what it really means? More important, have you ever considered how this saying might be getting in our way? Well, it’s about time that we shine some light on this false idiom.

A couple of months ago, I was visiting my friend Karen in Charleston, South Carolina – my favorite place in the world. We caught up on life. We talked about what was going on, what was working, and what wasn’t working – opportunities, challenges, the good, the bad and a little ugly. At the end, Karen said this to me, almost with a tired expression: “You know, Jeff, I wish the light in the tunnel didn’t always seem so far away.” In that moment, I had a vision of clarity, and I said to Karen, “What if there’s no tunnel?” She looked at me and said, “What are you talking about?”

I said:

“What if there’s no tunnel? What if we’re already in the light? What if the idea of a tunnel is a story we created or the story someone else gave us that said everything always has to be out of our grasp, everything always has to be far away, and everything has to be hard, take a long time and involve massive change. Maybe that’s all a story: a story designed to protect us, to keep us safe, to keep us from taking risk—a story that keeps us stuck.”

Karen looked at me and said, “Wow, that would change everything.” A couple of weeks later, I shared this story with my MasterMind group, and their response was the same: “If there’s no tunnel, then that changes everything.” Indeed, it would … and it does!

Think about it. Have you ever heard someone say that the light at the end of the tunnel is so bright that they have to wear shades? I never hear anyone say they are excited to finally be in the bright light near the end of the tunnel. No, that damn light is always off in the distance at the end of the tunnel. Don’t we ever make progress? And that is precisely the point and the reason for challenging stories and beliefs: the stories are often in our way and they are just stories.

This is just one example of how old beliefs, sayings and default thinking patterns can keep us stuck. It also shows how shifting our thinking (and beliefs) can change everything. Every single one of you is living, being, doing and leading according to a bunch of stories – a bunch of stories you have chosen to believe are true. I am here to tell you that they are just stories. Instead of accepting the old stories and living according to them, the opportunity is there for every one of you to say, “I’m going to pick and choose what stories serve me, what I decide is true.”

I admit that this thinking is a little different – some people might say crazy (I have certainly been accused of that over and over) – but to me the process is rather simple: I choose to question everything. I never simply accept anything that involves a belief, rule, structure or way of thinking.

Are all of the stories wrong? Of course not. Do I reject everything? No, but I question everything. I ask the question: “Is this really true or is it just a story? Will I choose to live with that story? Is that story serving me?” I do this because I believe that we all have choices every day and one of the most important and, for many, most unexercised choices is the choice of what stories and beliefs you will accept as true.

Why does it matter? Because the stories you believe to be true very much affect your business and your life. You must choose wisely, for these stories and beliefs will not only define you, but will likely determine whether you see possibilities or impossibilities, whether you live fully or with an internal governor, whether you experience life or survive it, whether you flourish or simply get by.

What stories are you living and leading by? What stories are at the heart of how you live, relate and build your life or your business? Are they true? Are they serving you? Have you chosen your stories, or have you merely accepted the stories of others? Isn’t it time for you to choose your own stories and thus choose your own outcomes? This is an opportunity for you to declare that story time is over … if you choose.


  1. Good article and made me reflect on that conversation a bit more, thanks Jeff, look forward to seeing you soon!
    Walking in the light, my new mantra!

  2. Steve Martinek says:

    Jeff: Profound pragmatic insight. Perhaps a corollary, to explain the historically accepted conventional view that a tunnel exists, is that each of us has a subconscious construct of a tunnel limiting our perspective and our potential?

    • Absolutely Steve! Most of our perspectives are subconscious driven. In order to release them we must step into the light of awareness.

  3. If I’m already in the light, that means the light wasn’t a train! I don’t have anything to fear, so I can make choices with anticipation instead of apprehension. Thanks, Jeff. This is freedom.

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