Is the story you’re telling yourself holding you back from unlocking your full potential?
The stories we tell ourselves have a powerful impact on our lives. They shape our beliefs, attitudes, choices, and behaviors.
In some cases, however, these stories can be limiting, holding us back from reaching our full potential.
I faced this early in my career. I was surrounded by colleagues with impressive degrees and accomplishments as college or professional athletes.
In contrast, I grew up in a small town in Idaho and graduated from Boise State University. I was the queen of comparing myself to others, and I was convinced that I wasn’t “good enough” to succeed in that environment.
Even when I was approached with opportunities to move to the next level, I would decline because I didn’t think I was smart enough or “good enough” for a more significant role.
Others could see my potential, but I couldn’t see it myself.
I’d finally had enough after watching my teammates, who had the same experience as I did (or less), climb the ladder.
I decided it was time to stop playing small and break out of this box I had constructed for myself.
I took the time to explore what was holding me back. What I discovered – The story I believed about myself was outdated and didn’t represent who I was. It’s no wonder I was stuck.
Ultimately, these massive internal changes led to some remarkable external changes.
I transformed my career and dramatically accelerated my earning power as I started to “show up” as the leader I knew I could be.
I set big goals and achieved each one. It was exhilarating to take on a new challenge with the confidence that I could succeed in these leadership roles.
How did I do it? I followed these proven steps to upgrade my story & beliefs:
Step 1: Identify the current story that is running your life.
The first step in upgrading your story is to identify the current story you believe about yourself. This could be a narrative you’ve been telling yourself for years or something that has emerged more recently.
Take the time to think about how you describe yourself. Listen carefully to the language you use and the emotions you feel when you tell yourself this story.
For example, you might hear negative self-talk: “I’m not good enough,” “I don’t deserve success,” or “I’m too old or too young to make a change.”
These statements reveal a negative self-image and a belief in limitations that may not be accurate.
Step 2: Challenge the story.
Once you have identified the current story, it’s time to challenge it.
Examine the evidence for your story. For example, ask yourself: “Is it 100% true that you’re not good enough to achieve your goals?”
Look for specific examples of times when you have succeeded in the past. Find at least five examples of times that you’ve succeeded.
Recognize that your current story may be based on limited or outdated information.
It’s essential to approach this step with compassion and empathy for yourself.
Feelings of vulnerability or defensiveness may come up when you question your beliefs. Remember – this process is not about blaming or shaming yourself but about opening to new possibilities.
Step 3: Reframe the story.
Now that you’ve examined your current story and identified its flaws, it’s time to reframe it.
Identify a new story that is more accurate and empowering – a story that represents who you are today.
This new story should be based on your strengths, accomplishments, values, and aspirations. What makes you uniquely you – your secret sauce.
It’s critical at this stage to create a vivid and compelling picture of this new story, using positive and affirming language.
For example, if you’re an introvert, you may have a story that you’re not assertive or confident enough to speak up for yourself at work.
This story may hold you back from sharing your brilliant ideas in meetings, advocating for your needs, or asserting your boundaries.
To reframe this story, you can focus on your strengths and values.
You might say, “Instead of thinking of assertiveness as a fixed trait, I’ll reframe it as a skill I can develop. I have a strong sense of empathy and compassion, which can be a powerful asset in assertive communication. By speaking up for myself, I advocate for my needs and show respect for myself and others. I have valuable insights to share with my team that will help us achieve our shared goals.”
By reframing the story this way, you begin to see yourself as someone with valuable qualities and skills.
This new story empowers you to communicate effectively and assertively while staying true to your values and priorities.
Step 4: Practice the new story.
Once you’ve created your new story, it’s essential to practice it.
You’ve had years to practice your old story. To replace it, you’ll need to practice the new story. Otherwise, slipping back into the old tale you’ve outgrown is far too easy.
Take the time to repeat your new story to yourself regularly (several times a day) using visualization techniques to make it feel real and achievable.
Create reminders of your new story, such as sticky notes or affirmations, that you can use to reinforce their new beliefs.
Over time, your new story will feel real, and your life will shift to match this new story.
It’s also helpful to notice when your old story resurfaces and to consciously replace it with your new story.
This process may take some time and effort, but it will become easier with practice, and your confidence will grow.
Step 5: Take action.
Finally, it’s crucial to take action to support your new story.
Set goals aligned with your new version of yourself.
Break the larger goals into smaller, more achievable goals and commit to taking concrete steps each week towards achieving these goals.
Celebrate every small win.
And build a support system of people who believe in your new story and can provide encouragement and accountability.
Taking action is a critical step in creating lasting change. When you experience progress and success, it reinforces your new story and strengthens your belief in yourself.
Continue to stretch yourself and reach for goals that would have previously scared you. By pushing your boundaries, you’ll be able to achieve goals that you never believed were possible.
Take the time to do this work. You’ll see your life change in remarkable ways.
If you’d like support in making these life-changing shifts, email me at CoachLorie@LoriePointer.com or sign up here to schedule a free discovery call. I’d love to support you in your growth.