I’ve been thinking about story telling as I continue work on my forthcoming book. Stories are such powerful things. People certainly love listening to stories being told and telling stories themselves.
Most of all, folks seem to adore telling stories about themselves, which I find very revealing.
When someone tells me a story that goes something like this: “I can’t _____ because _____,” or “I’m not _____ because _____,” I know they’re stuck. They’re probably telling a story about themselves that once may have been true but no longer really works. The old story holds them back, yet a new story seems unwritten and, perhaps, unwritable.
Hey, want to look at your personal narrative and figure out if the story you’re telling about yourself is actually moving you toward something, or holding you back?
I sure do. Ready?
So what is the story you tell about yourself? [reader does a spewing spit take] “I don’t tell a story, I just live my life,” the reader says with indignation.
Take out a piece of paper and make two columns. Title the first column: Now Words. In that column write words to describe your life as it is right now.
Write as many describing words as you’d like. Then, title the second column, “Future Words” and start writing words that describe the life you want to have. You may carry Now Words into the Future Words column. For instance:
Now, here’s where you change your personal narrative. Start consciously using your Future Words in your day-to-day life, and start taking actions that bring those words to life. So, if “creative” is a part of your future, what can you do today to create? Be very specific: “I can write 10 pages. I can solve a problem. I can work in my garden. I can throw a pot. I can paint.” Name your creative thing, then go ahead and do it.
We can all make lists, friends. But not all of us are adept at putting our energy in the game and actually doing. All it takes to re-write your personal narrative is awareness of what you want, backed up by purposeful action.
When you pair that up, you’ll find — pretty soon — that you’re telling a new, happier story. I promise you, it will be one you’ll enjoy telling so much more than the old version. Oh, and you’ll be living a happier, more successful life.
That’s my story, and I’m… well, you know the rest.