Do the current stories you tell yourself and others energize you? We tell different kinds of current stories related to five basic subjects:
While there are a lot of variations, these themes form the basis for everyday complaining… or bragging — two facets of personal storytelling.
In the work I do with clients, our current stories are often revealed by how someone complains. The reasons for a complaint often have to do with their internal stories. Conversely, what we are most proud of is related to a core story we tell ourselves about our strengths and values.
Do a reality check to see if your stories excuse your actions or inspire new behaviors. How do you feel about your results? Are you happy with the way you conduct yourself? Answering these questions allows you to uncover how your internal stories influence your behavior.
The important thing to realize is that we invent these stories anyway, so we can reframe them or change them just as well to make them more effective. Change your perspective and see your story in a new light that energizes you instead.
3 Steps to Rewrite Your Current Stories
- Make a list of your current stories. Identify the areas where your stories are clearly hurting you.
- Articulate, as clearly as possible, a story that isn’t working for you. Are you, for example, rationalizing a behavior or scapegoating a colleague? Are you bitter or boastful? Your story should be as authentic as possible.
- To rewrite your story, first identify its faulty elements. Ask yourself these three questions:
- Does the story reflect the truth?
- Will it take me where I want to go in life (while allowing me to remain true to my core values)?
- Does it stimulate me to take action?
Performance psychologist Jim Loehr in The Power of Story (Free Press, 2007) says a constructive story contains three key components:
If your story lacks one or more of these elements, it remains flawed and unworkable. Only a purposeful, truthful and hope-driven story will inspire you to unleash your intrinsic energy and achieve what you want from life.
What can you do to improve the quality of the stories you tell yourself? Maybe a good coach might help you with this? Give me a call and let’s talk.