If the story you are telling yourself isn’t making you happy, what happens if you tell yourself a different story?
“I ‘AM’ a poor kid from a trailer park in the mountains.”
That’s what I used to tell myself. It’s true; I “WAS” a poor kid from a trailer park in the mountains.
That’s not so bad… compared to 90% of the world’s population that’s still pretty rich. Plus in those hills, you learn how to dream. It’s easy to have an imagination when the Pisgah National Forest is in your back yard.
But what about this story I used to tell myself? The one where I “AM” a poor kid from the mountains.
It was a limiting story. I didn’t realize it at the time but when you are a poor kid from the mountains you can’t have a nice dinner, or house, or car. No those things are much too nice.
Not to mention you can’t go to grad school nor can you create a business model that helps people feel well.
Oh no; that stuff only happens from the Ivy Leaguers or from “them smart folks in them bigger cities.”
I fought with it a lot. I fought with it almost every step of the way through my M.B.A. and even battled still in my cushy project management role for data analytics in healthcare.
I’m almost positive I didn’t pull my self from “being” the poor trailer kid to “used to be” until I started helping people. Until I started seeing people have limiting conversations with themselves I was still stuck.
I knew these great people were choosing this story about themselves. Why would they do that? Why would I do that?
Now I hear a similar conversation quite often. It goes like this…
“I can’t do that. I’m way too out of shape.”
“I can’t lose weight. I’ve tried every diet under the sun.”
“I’ve always been this way. I want to change, but it wouldn’t work anyways.”
Why does this limiting talk exist? Why would we ever tell ourselves that we “can’t” do something?
You wouldn’t tell your friends that.
You certainly wouldn’t tell your kids that they “can’t” do something that would ultimately be good for them.
So why do we say these things to ourselves?
Is it possible that we are afraid? After all, making a change can be hard, scary, and intimidating. Are we afraid of that journey? Maybe. Maybe not.
Are we afraid of what we may look and feel like after we made the change? After all, I like me the way I am now. Sure, I could be more comfortable if I lost 20#’s or if I could walk up the stairs at work without being winded, but making a change may change a few other things in me as well. Are we afraid of feeling better? Maybe, but I doubt it.
Or are we afraid of what the “others” will think?
Am I setting myself up to fail so that I then have to look at my friends or spouse and say(again) “I couldn’t stick with it.”. Are we afraid of having to have a conversation like that again? The one where we tell the “others” that the thing we were trying was “whack” and how cookey the whole thing seemed? Are we hiding behind this make-believe hasn’t happened yet story?
I hope if you can take one thing away from this is:
Anxiety is practicing failure in advance.
What if you could build momentum with your thoughts instead? Wouldn’t that feel amazing?
I know you can.
Use your imagination: can you tell yourself a different story that can be liberating instead of limiting? It doesn’t have to be a fake story, but rather a new reality.
Try and check in with yourself by asking these questions:
- If I were to fast forward 6 months and everything went well, what would that look and feel like?
- What if I chose to not make a change. How would I feel about that decision 6 months from now?
The first question helps you build the story in your head of a future you want to have. Work towards that goal.
The second question paves the reality of where you will be if you make no changes. Does this story sound like where you want to be? Maybe it does and if so, congratulations.
But, back to the origin of the whole thing…
If the story you are telling yourself isn’t making you happy what happens if you tell yourself a different story?
I hope it helps. If it helps you, maybe it can help someone else too. Share this with them.
Free help is available if you schedule a Free No Sweat Intro . Do so here
Jordan helps people reach their goals and break through massive barriers by making simple and easy to follow programs. He loves a great meal, a great coffee, and a great pint of something local. When he isn’t writing or walking his dog with his wife he is either helping someone crush their goals, or creating a plan to help more goals be crushed.