What’s Your Story?
Is The Narrative You Tell Ruining Your Chance at Success?
As a creative business coach and someone who likes to listen more than speak, I hear people and I pay attention to the stories they tell consistently, especially the one’s that can sabotage them.
Stories are big part of being human. From childhood, the stories we make up help shape how we see others and how we act in our world. As we grow older, we hold onto the narratives that feel the best and tend to stick to those various stories. Life can shape our narratives as well. Obviously the challenges we face create new stories but the style stays the same.
The way we speak about ourselves is very powerful and if we tell the same story over and over, we tend to become the story whether it’s healthy or unhealthy.
Take for example, our busy lives. I hear from many of my colleagues, especially those growing businesses, how overwhelmed they are. It’s natural to have an abundant life, filled with activity, work, learning and adventure but when a person’s hectic life becomes their story and they use it as an excuse, over and over again, they risk damage to themselves and their relationships.
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Have you ever known someone that has similar stories to tell every time you see them? They’re always sick. Or overworked. Or cash strapped. You offer advice and/or connections to support their growth but either they don’t take your gifts, or they do and yet nothing changes in their lives. They stay sick, overworked or financially unstable.
It’s like they BECOME the story they tell about themselves, which is a shame because we are each so very layered with so many different tales to tell that we certainly do NOT have to focus on the same one, especially if it’s unhealthy.
“Stories shape memory so dramatically that once you tell a story, it’s hard to get out of that story’s framework, and they tend to get more dramatic over time.”John Holmes, PhD, psychology professor at Waterloo University
In my life, I hear a stories over and over again and the “victim” story is the most prevalent.
That’s when someone places the blame for their inability to do something important on someone or something else. A person who speaks like a victim isn’t ready to take ownership or responsibility. And if they can’t take ownership of their life, they may feel stuck, helpless and sometimes worthless. I’ve let quite a few friends go because they stayed in their “victim” story so long that I became bored hearing the same issues over and over and frustrated with their inability to look at the true issue, themselves.
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It really doesn’t matter the reason a person cannot take responsibility for their action or inaction, like not fulfilling a promise or forgetting to call back. The fact that they push the blame onto something else shows that they’re emotionally unhealthy or stuck in their “victim story loop.” Someone who’s stuck in the loop may never give themselves an opportunity to escape because their victim story takes over their lives. We have a tendency to fulfill the labels that we brand ourselves with and by staying in our story loop, we may alter the way people behave towards us.
“There can be a huge danger in these imagined constructs in our minds, because they can translate into a small but persistent voice that says we can’t do it and we don’t belong there.”Frances UK – Thrive Global . com
Years ago I saw my own victim story and once it became apparent, I made a conscious effort to stop telling it. My victim story used to be “lack of time.” I would blame not being able to go out with friends, not exercising, or not buying new things, on my busy schedule .
Everything that came out of my mouth was, “I don’t have time”, “After I do this one thing for my business”, or “I have a deadline”.
Since I broke out of my story loop, I speak more about my abundance; my friends, family, my innate qualities and desire for growth, and I speak gratitude rather than lack. In doing so I edited my script to more realistically reflect that fact that I LIKE staying home, I love working on Embrace Creatives, shopping is something that I truly do NOT enjoy and I now focus not on “how often” I meet friends but the friends themselves.
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That being said, I realize I have a long way to go to reach the goals I’ve set but I consciously try not to fall back into my own victim story when I speak.
Listen to yourself.
As I teach, your business ties to your life so watch your stories. If you’re settling into “victim” stories, change the narrative and more importantly, really look at WHY you’re not fulfilling your promise, calling someone back or whatever your victim story is keeping you from doing. Because if you’re a victim in your personal life, you’re sure to become a victim in your business life and that will sabotage any chance you have at success.