Have you ever thought about the stories you’re holding on to?
These stories can define your sense of reality for how you are existing today. They can greatly impact the way you live and how you make decisions.
Despite the power of the stories we tell ourselves, rarely do we consider that we are being guided by how we have interpreted our personal story. And, rarely do we consider whether the interpretation we’re holding onto is helping or hindering us.
One of the things I often find, especially in my coaching work, is that many people are struggling to achieve fulfilment, deliver a greater impact or move forward in their careers because they are stuck holding on to a story or belief which is stunting their ability to advance.
In the last month I spent an hour with a CEO who was feeling lost because they were holding onto a story about their role. In a mere 60minutes she and I were able to challenge the underlying beliefs about her level of authority with respect to the Board and her team. And through this not only did we create a new story and set of beliefs about her leadership, but we also created a new strategy for how she was going to lead the company into the future.
Explore your story…
Regardless of whether you’re stuck or not, it is essential that we all explore our story to see if there is anything blocking us from reaching our full potential. When working with a client with this issue I always get them to consider three things to unpack and explore their story and beliefs…
- PAST – Look at your past, think about experiences that have shaped you, things that influence your worldview today. Question whether your interpretations of these past events are correct. If you viewed them in a different way, would you feel or act differently? For instance, if someone once told you, you’re a bad decision-maker and now you live by that, question it. Was there credible evidence to back that statement up? And if there was evidence, does it apply to every decision you’ve ever made? Have you since become a brilliant decision-maker but your belief that you aren’t hasn’t changed? Beliefs like these can really shape how people approach life but by changing that belief, it could dramatically affect your confidence and ability to achieve more.
- PRESENT – This is about making sense of your current experiences, what you are conscious of and paying attention to, versus what you are not. Are you choosing only to do the things that you feel comfortable and confident doing? What are you not paying attention to? Are their potential opportunities you’re missing because you are not tuned into them? Going back to the previous example of believing you are a bad decision-maker, this kind of belief would stop you from embracing certain activities, but these could be the exact events that could help you achieve the goals that lead you to greater success.
- FUTURE – Consider the future and what are the full range of options that might be available to you? Take the time to explore what could help you achieve your goals. Once you are aware of them you can proactively seek out these opportunities and make a conscious effort to tackle them. One client believed that self-promotion came across as a bit forceful and desperate, always hoping that by just doing a good job she would be promoted. When faced with considering the future she decided to let go of her belief and let people know she wanted a promotion and deserved it… she got it.
So, if you’ve never thought about the story that you’re holding onto, I encourage you to take some time and think about it in terms of what perceptions you’re holding about your past experiences that are influencing your worldview today. How are you making sense of your present, and almost more importantly, what are the options for the future that will guide your next step to achieving the success and fulfilment you are after.
If you would like some guidance to help you unpack and explore your story and find what might be holding you back, please contact me. I’m always happy to offer my time to those that need it.