Personal Development

What is your new story?

Do you have an old story that you are tired of telling? I did.

I spent years believing that I didn’t really have choices; I had to do what other people expected; I wasn’t confident; I wasn’t clever; I wasn’t popular; I couldn’t maintain a healthy weight; no-one loved me; I didn’t have enough money to do what I wanted…. Telling this story became so routine that I stopped noticing it was a story. Therefore I believed it was fact and that it was just how it was; it was me; and would always be so.

What I didn’t know was that I could rewrite my story. I could choose the elements of my story that didn’t serve me and didn’t make me happy. Above all, I could choose to change them.

If someone had said that to me 5 years ago I would have sneered at them. I might have nodded and smiled but inside I would have instantly dismissed the idea as something that only applies to other people. I bet many of you have just done the same.

But it is true.

“Life is an open book full of blank pages………………….you write the story as you go”

There are two main ways to approach writing a new story. The first approach is to focus on what you want to change in your current story. The second approach (my favourite) is write a brand new story from scratch. I believe this second approach allows for true transformational change. A great exercise to do is to do both and then decide which new story you prefer.

Approach 1

Understand Your Current Story

The first step is to write your current story and identify what you would like to change. Ask yourself questions such as:- Am I choosing how I spend my time? Am I fulfilled? What do I love/hate doing? What do I like/dislike about myself? What do I think people like/dislike about me? How am I feeling on a day to day basis? Include both the “being” and “doing” areas of your life.

Give yourself time to think about this. It often helps to journal over a few days or weeks to capture what you really think. Then write a few paragraphs to describe you and your life as if you were 100% honestly introducing yourself to someone. However, don’t write what you think you should write – write from the heart.

Some of you may be really happy with your current story. If so, I am delighted for you! But my challenge to you is how can you make it even brighter and better? Can you turn the volume up even more?

Write Your New Story

If, however, there are elements of your current story you would like to change then I am delighted for you too. Because you can. If you want to.

Start by writing out the current version of the element you want to change e.g. I hate my job. Then write underneath it what it would take to get you to love your job. Really think it through. What would need to be true for you to feel fulfilled at work? It might be that you are stuck in a rut and you need new challenges, it might be a difficult working relationship with someone that is affecting you significantly, it may be that since you are working from home you are struggling with team dynamics.

Really think about what would you like your new story to be. It certainly does not have to be perfect. It just needs to be different and better.

Once you have your new story start identifying small actions that can move you towards your new future. If your saboteur kicks in and tells you there is nothing you can do – they are wrong. If you can’t find actions yourself then ask a friend or family member to help you (or work with a coach).

Approach 2

If you have never tried free writing then I can really recommend it. I used it to write my new story and I was genuinely amazed by what appeared on the paper. Free-writing is a way to allow our subconscious to have free reign without the limitations and fears that our conscious mind can place on us.

Give yourself some peace and space and then allocate at least 20 minutes to do this exercise. Take a few moments to let go of what is currently on your mind. Then take some deep breaths and allow yourself to picture yourself in the future. Pick a time maybe 10, 20 or 30 years in the future. Visualise yourself at an event e.g. a birthday and step into that life in your mind. This might sound a little strange but try it – have fun!

Make sure you have plenty of paper; take a pen in your hand and start writing. Just let the words flow. Don’t correct any spelling, grammar, punctuation or worry about neatness or format. Keep writing until you have nothing else to say. If you really relax and let this happen it can be really eye-opening. I did this as part of my coaching training and I wrote a story that I hadn’t even consciously thought about. As a result it is now on my wall and I am actively working towards it.

Remember, whatever you want to change – you can. You can write a new story anytime you want to – you have the choice. If you would like help to rewrite your story then I would be delighted to work with you. Please contact me via here.

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