Have you noticed when you do things the same way, you get the same results? This is fine as long as you are happy with the outcome. I have a client who is an artist and for years, she told herself she did not enjoy physical activity. This story supported being a self-proclaimed ‘couch potato’. In her forties, she took up climbing and discovered she is a gifted and motivated athlete. This realization has opened doors to competition, travel, new friends and opportunities she could not foresee from the couch. She no longer calls herself just an artist and enjoys a far more adventurous life in her fifties.
Do you like the story you are telling yourself? If so, you can put this down and flip to the classified ads. If you have a story you are tired of, keep reading.
Our personal story starts at a young age when our parents ask, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” We begin to formulate our narrative around who we are, what we do and who we want to be. In school, you were probably either a jock, a nerd, a freak, a bookworm, a prom queen or a teacher’s pet. Growing up, we hung out with people who liked the same things and supported our unfolding interests. If you have ever gone back to a high school reunion, it’s easy to peg each other according to these past labels and dated reference points.
The adult version is our career. We go off to college and become something or someone such as a nurse, a teacher, a lawyer, an architect, a parent, a guide or a business executive. This label starts to define us and we create detailed stories around our profession. When we meet people, they often ask, “so, what do you do?” We have a tendency to distinguish ourselves according to our interests and vocation. With this, we assume we know something about each other.
I find it interesting that in other cultures, such as India, they will ask “what God do you worship?” In other words, what is most important to you; who are you deep inside and what is the essence of your life experience? These are the inner layers of our being versus the outer layers of our appearance.
I am discovering that as my outer layer is becoming more worn, I have softened and my role as an outdoor instructor or climber is taking a less prominent place as my inner layers emerge. Helping someone in need and putting them on belay is taking on more meaning than getting to the top of the climb. I have started to tell a different story. Many people know me as the Head Chick who runs women’s ice and rock climbing clinics and here I am, in the local newspaper, as a Life Coach writing about insights into being human. Who knew?
Reasons you stick to the same story:
1) fear of the unknown;
2) attachment to your “identity”;
3) comfort in predictable outcomes;
4) you feel lazy;
5) you are self-conscious of what others might think;
6) you tend to be a creature of habit;
7) you have no idea how to do life differently
If you can identify with three or more of these, you are ready for a different story. Accept this as a natural and healthy process of an evolving human being. Look at it as your own metamorphose process…kick off those worn out boots, shed the old skin and begin again.
Ways to identify you may be ready to tell a different story:
1) you feel restless and you don’t know why;
2) things that used to interest you just don’t have the same punch;
3) you get bored of the same conversations;
4) you are drawn to different people;
5) you have self-help books hidden in your closet;
6) you sense something bigger;
7) you are not jumping out of bed in the morning
Ways to develop a new story:
1) shift your perspective to “this is exciting”;
2) find available resources;
3) enroll your support team;
4) use new words to describe new ideas;
5) find a role model;
6) hire an evocative Life Coach;
7) change your inner dialogue;
8) pull out that self-help book;
9) don’t just sit there, do something!
Once you start a new conversation, notice how the world around you conspires to help and support you. Friends will connect you to others with the same interests, new opportunities will arise and yes, situations will even fall out of the sky. Trust that there are no coincidences. When you align yourself with what you WANT, the law of nature will join forces and collaborate with your innermost desires. Begin by telling a different story!