Are You in Love with Your Old Stories?
By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
Emma was a successful business owner who always told herself, “I’m not good with money.” She used this story as an excuse to not pay attention to the numbers in her business. She was constantly behind on her taxes and she procrastinated getting an LLC set up, even though she knew it would protect her.
But one day, a friend and fellow business owner called out Emma on what she was saying. Her friend told her that this story was holding her back from the next level of success. It was Emma’s way of playing small and staying safe.
What’s Your Story?
Every day, people create narratives about their lives. These are the stories they tell themselves about who they are, where they came from, and what they want.
Maybe you believe you’re a messy person. Saying that you’re messy means you don’t have to be responsible for cleaning up. Or perhaps you say, “I just don’t like people. They drive me crazy. I’m a hermit, this is just how I am.”
What Are You Gaining from This Story?
You can’t shed an old story until you understand why you keep holding onto it. For example, if you tell yourself you’re a hermit, you don’t have to step out of your comfort zone and get to know people. This story feels like it’s keeping you safe because you don’t have to risk getting to know other people.
Maybe your story helps you avoid responsibility. If you insist that you’re too disorganized to run a business, then you don’t have to take responsibility for turning your hobby into the business you’ve always dreamed of.
What Would Happen If You Let This Story Go?
If you’ve identified a story in your own life that isn’t serving you, ask yourself what would happen if you let it go. If you decide that you’re no longer a hermit, how would your life change? Would you start reaching out to the people around you? Would you build a wide network of friends that are eager to support and love on you?
If you decide that you can become organized and run your own business, what would that look like for you? Would you be able to pay off your debts and help your spouse quit that job he hates? Would you be able to send your kids to that private school you’ve always hoped they could attend?
Why New Stories Energize You
Emma took her friend’s words to heart and she got started creating a new story. She hired a bookkeeper so she knows exactly how much she earns. She started paying her taxes on time so she’s not behind anymore. Now, Emma doesn’t feel stressed about numbers. This means she’s free to spend her time on creating more products for the community she loves serving.
Letting go of old stories sets you free. It gives you energy and makes you see the world in a new way. It also helps you create space for more of what you love and want in your life.