This means that, in large part, we are in control of our own destiny.
How we talk about, and view, our own lives, helps us become that person and create that life.
So we can create the best version of ourselves or we can completely mess our lives up. Just through the stories we tell ourselves.
What’s your story?
Is it the one you want?
The thing is, our own narrative or story can be incomplete, or misleading or even untrue. But if we tell ourselves that story often enough, we tend to believe it and then create the reality to match it.
One Woman’s Story
I’m reminded of a lady I worked with. She was terrified of meetings. Her own point of view felt neither interesting nor valuable. She was fearful of speaking up or contributing in any way. Then she felt undermined because her view was never taken into account. Which meant that at the next meeting she felt even less like taking part. An ongoing, negative, self-perpetuating cycle.
When we explored how she’d really like to be in those meetings she was very clear. She wanted to be confident, able to clearly put across her point of view. She would sound intelligent, worth listening to. Engaging with others, making eye contact, smiling and calm.
I asked her how far that was from the best version of herself. Then she smiled. A light-bulb moment. She realised that the description of how she wanted to be was already herself when she allowed herself to be. Already adept at all she described, the only thing that was getting in her way was herself. Herself and her ‘story’.
Her story had been “I’m terrified of meetings” and “I’m not confident in meetings and my point of view isn’t worth listening to”.
She had been so taken in over the years by her own, untrue story about herself, that she undermined every attempt to change. She believed her own, untrue story.
Once she discovered this, she already knew what to do: change her story.
So instead, she started telling herself that she was confident, could speak up in meetings, and that her opinions mattered as much as anyone else’s.
You can probably guess what happened.
Soon, her world changed completely. From someone who was anxious and loathe to speak up, she became a regular, confident contributor to meetings. She was listened to and her view influenced decisions.
Her new story was “I am calm and confident and speak up in meetings.”
And this time, her story was true.
Change Your Story, Change Your Life
What story is not serving you well?
What narrative about yourself and your life is holding you back?
In what ways are you hanging onto old, out of date, misleading or even untrue stories through re-telling them and even colluding with others to support you in your story? Their ‘sympathy vote’, perhaps, that keeps you small?
What if you re-write your story?
If you shape your own story now, so the obituary written about you is the one you want, rather than the one you fear?
What if you no longer put up with misleading, untrue, out of date stories about yourself?
And what if you start right now?
There’s a fabulous talk about this by Lorri Gottlieb. So grab a cuppa, settle in, and take 15 minutes out that might just change your life:
I can’t write your story. Only you can do that.
But I can support you in identifying and changing your story for the better.
Get in touch if that could be helpful for you.