Do you love to hear other people’s stories? Do you enjoy sharing your own story with people? I know I do. I particularly love hearing stories about other people’s struggles and small victories. Triumphs are nice, but I believe the genius is in the small victories.
Recently, Diana and I realized that we’ve been working on both our own stories and our clients’ stories. So, as we usually do when a topic resonates with us, we recorded a podcast about it.
Diana started us off by reflecting on her last 10 years. She tells us that she could look at those years as being filled with mean people, gossip, and trying situations. Or, she could look at those years as honing her positivity, grit, and perseverance. Both stories are true. And she gets to choose the one she lives out and shares.
We acknowledged that when we talk about the events in our stories with gratitude, it’s pretty hard to stay stuck in the negative. When we force ourselves to be grateful for our struggles (because it’s not easy), it’s impossible to cast ourselves as victims.
We also ruminated on the ways that our attachment to our past and to old expectations can trip us up. When we constantly replay an event or a time in our lives where we felt limited or less than, we can become victims to that storyline. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of measuring our lives against our expectations and feeling like we’ve fallen short. If, instead, we look at what we learned by letting go of those expectations, we can claim the power of our experience.
You can listen to the podcast here, just click and listen.
I also think we tend to think our stories have to be black and white: happy vs sad, successful vs unsuccessful – and that’s just not true. My most useful stories tell about how I figured something out. In the podcast, I share the story of one of my twenty-something clients who can’t wrap his head around the idea that his biggest strength is his ability to figure things out on the fly. You’ll have listen to the podcast to hear about his experience delivering packages for Amazon during Christmas.
Who’s in charge?
Diana shared that in the past she bought into the idea that if she’s not fully in control of a situation, she won’t get the results she wants. Which led to a discussion about the limitations of our imaginations.
When we’re fixed on a result and a timeframe for that result, we are limited by what we know and what we can imagine. I’ve written about this idea before, and it’s become my mantra: Things are going to work out better than I can even imagine. Because – what do I know? And, really, what do I know about timing?
The Universe Speaks
Days after we recorded this podcast, I received a message from the Universe – yep, it’s a real thing – that told me when things haven’t worked out when I thought they should, it just means that I have more time than I realized to figure them out. Okay, so the message was from The Universe Talks, a motivational email I subscribe to, but it’s true. I’ve noticed that when I relax into whatever challenge I’m facing, it works out. Every time. Even if it takes me months to realize that it worked out.
We wrapped up this episode by exploring the idea that our stories enforce our boundaries. What? Think about it. When our stories are about resilience and learning and small wins and grit, we’re enforcing our boundaries around accepting agency over our lives versus being a victim.
So what happens when our stories enforce our boundaries? When we refuse to be victims or comply with the status quo? When we say “that’s my story and I’m sticking to it?” Maybe we find that the people who surround us change. People who don’t value our stories fall away. And new people who are attracted to our stories appear in their stead.
Here’s the deal. We get to pick the theme of our story. So, tell me. What’s your story? Are you sticking to it?