Have you ever started working on a project that was really important to you, but then suddenly you just stopped?
Do you work on your ideas and then abandon them before completion, or do you finish them only after a Herculean effort at the end?
Examine your stories. You may find roadblocks there.
Stories are the collection of things you tell about yourself. Your stories involve how you look, how you feel around certain people, and what kinds of things you think you need to make your life complete.
Stories also include your perception of your abilities: things you do very well, and the things you might not even want to try because “you’re bad at that.” Your stories started a long time ago, and they have since become part of your identity.
You may not even be aware of what you are telling yourself. If you are interested in making changes, however, it may be time to check your stories and see why you think they are true. To do this, you can 1) Listen and let your stories surface, 2) let your stories flow by, and 3) release the stories that no longer serve you.
Listen and let your stories surface.
Stories are often made up of thoughts about who we think we are. We don’t notice our stories because we have integrated them into our lives as real and unchangeable. It may take a while to notice what you are telling yourself, but try. It’s worth it. Start by quieting your mind.
Meditate or simply sit quietly and just listen to the constant chatter in your mind. Listen to the words you use to describe yourself and those around you. Soon, you will identify things you tell yourself and you will subsequently see behaviors that make those things true.
If you have an important project you want to finish, for example, what are the things you are telling yourself about not being able to cross the finish line? You may be surprised at the things you tell yourself, which is precisely why it is so critically important to pay attention to your stories. What good is it to keep working on stuff if your story involves you as a flakey kid who never finishes what she starts?
“It runs in my family,” you may say. “My Aunt Tilly talked about writing the great American novel until the day she died, but she never got past an office littered with pages upon pages of scribbles.”
Let those stories surface. Then quietly question whether or not they are true. Hint: They aren’t.
Let your stories flow by.
Consider your stories to be simply ideas that you previously have allowed to define you. Don’t judge your story or lament having it – just watch the strings of words flow by and float away.
Have you told yourself you’d never amount to anything? This story may look something like this:
“I know I have x y and z degrees and x y and z certifications, but I’ll never amount to anything because my teacher in the eighth grade told me I was a completely undisciplined individual who goofs off way too much. And Mrs. Sternbottom was right! I’m secretly a very silly person who just likes to watch Netflix all day.”
The “because” of your story no longer needs to matter, nor does the story itself. Let the words of your “I’ll never amount to anything” tale bubble up to the surface of your thoughts and disappear.
Release the stories that no longer serve you.
Whether or not your stories were of some use to you in the past does not matter. Perhaps you thought you needed to be or look a certain way. Now, however, you may see that some notions of who you thought you were no longer contribute anything to your life.
What is one label you have always placed on yourself?
Here are a few story starters. Do any of them sound familiar?
“I’m not smart enough….”
“I’m too old…..”
“I’m too fat….”
“But this happened when I was young, so…..”
“Because of this, I can’t do……”
“I lack the ability to……”
The list could go on forever, and there are many variations. If you’ve told yourself even one negative thing, you likely have told it over and over again, adding vivid detail and evidence as you go to make your story more believable.
Regardless of what your stories are, ask yourself this: “Do these labels serve me?”
If they do not, then release them. Picture them surfacing in your mind, escaping from your breath, and rising up into the air to float away and disappear forever. If they come back (and likely, they will), repeat the process. Your stories will gradually weaken. Put new, happier stories in their place.
Stories can create your reality. Which reality will you choose? Notice the stories you are telling yourself. Keep the stories that are working for you, if you like, and let go of the stories that no longer serve you. As you do this, you may find that your ability to reach your goals increases at remarkable speed. It’s a lot of fun, too!
Go ahead: notice those stories! What do you have to lose besides something that holds you down?
and P.S. If you wish to talk further, book a free 15 minute consultation with me and we’ll talk about more ways to blast through excuses and get stuff done. Click here and let’s arrange a meeting!
Sift Through the Noise.
Make a Plan.