The Stories We Tell

10-16_blog_star-298x300The stories that people tell are the containers that hold their world together and gives meaning to their lives.
                                 ~Andrew Ramer


Imagine for a moment a great screenwriter comes to you one day and tells you he wants to write the story of your life to put it up on the big screen. What story will be told?

Will it be a heroic story filled with brave deeds done, fortunes made, battles won?  Will it be a tragedy of opportunities lost, possibilities missed, your spirit trapped and imprisoned? A comedy? A mystery?

As a coach I listen closely to stories and I’ve learned a secret I want to share.  We can change our story and in so doing we can change our life.

Time and time again I listen to people’s stories. I never tire of them, they are always fascinating. What amazes me is how changing the interpretation of the story changes lives.

If you don’t believe me try this.  The next time you’re driving and someone cuts you off listen to the story you tell yourself. Who is the person who cut you off?  If you tell yourself it was a jerk who thinks he can get away with anything.  You’re probably angry or indignant.

Now tell yourself a different story.  Its a distracted new mom with a crying baby in the back.  Its a distraught man who just found out his wife has a rare disease. Its someone who fell ill at work and is just trying to get home.  Still angry? Indignant?

Did the person in front of you change? No? Then why did your reaction change? Your reaction changed because the story you told yourself changed, and you can do this with your own life as well.

Tragedy in your life? Challenges? Every hero in every adventure has tragedy or challenge. It just doesn’t make a good story without them. Its not whether or not you have tragedy or challenge. Its what you decide it means in your story.  Is it a temporary setback? Is it where you learn your depth, your strength, your character? Does it hold you back or push you forward?

For every negative ending there is out there, there is someone who has an equally negative story who has made something positive out of it. Physical stories? Read Christopher Reeves, Michael J Fox. Stories of abuse?  Read David Pelzer.

Lets go back to that screenwriter who has decided to do your story.  Together you decide its going to be a good story, an inspiring story.  Now go back and look for the good points, the turning points, the situations that forced you to grow up, get real, live. Look at what you’ve lived so far, and say “and now what?”

Now create the ending. How does it all turn out? What do you learn?  Who do you become?  See it in technicolor in your mind.

Done?  Great.  You’ve got a beginning, you’ve got an ending. Now create the scenes to get you from one to the other. Create them one day at a time. What can you do today to move towards the inspiring ending?

We identify ourselves with the stories we tell. Be sure your story is one you want to live. Make it a tale worth telling. You be the star.


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