What’s your default story?
We each experience the world around us in different ways, all our views and experiences are unique. How we create our reality depends on our interpretation of events within our mind and body. When we describe an event, we are describing our personal experience of what happened. Storytelling plays such an important role in how we live our lives, in how we succeed or fail, in how resilient we can become.
For a professional high achiever, Leader or parent it is important to remember that events produce stories, but also that stories can produce events. You must create a compelling and good story to take people along with you; the investor you want to fund your great business idea, the reluctant team member or simply a four-year-old child who doesn’t want to get dressed.
We have a natural capacity for Resilience – physically, mentally and emotionally – and if our values are aligned with the organisation, family or community we are part of, our Resileince is likely to be even greater. We can add to our Resilience throughout life. We can grow and develop our Resilience and we can do this by working on our mindset; the way we tell our story.
In the kindest possible way – I talk about the winner versus loser mindset, that our attitudes can either support or detract from our Resilience. For example, adopting the mind set “how can I use this stress, this challenge, as an opportunity to grow?” versus “This is just not fair”. The self-management dimension of Resilience requires us a to develop a growth mindset, to become adept at choosing to tell a positive story rather than a negative one and can have a profound effect on our Resilience.
Take a moment to reflect – what have been the high energy, positive moments of your life? Now consider the not so great times – don’t spend too long on this question because thinking about negative experiences can cause us to feel the associated negative emotions and have a profound effect on the success of our day.
We are at our most resilient when we challenge negative thinking in high-pressure situations. There is a lot to be said for gut reactions, but these instinctive reactions can be sending the wrong message and we need to check these messages and make choices about our reactions.
To take charge of our energy levels we must accept and recognise that the mind is a resource we can train to be more effective in today’s modern world.
Shifting how you tell a story will enable you to proactively work with your emotional and mental hangovers from past experiences. Recognise current behaviours will be influenced by past experiences and could be getting in the way of you functioning optimally as a human being, and as a professional.
A growth mind set will support your Resilience and here are some questions you could begin to ask yourself during challenging moments in life
How can you challenge the inevitable negative thinking in a stretch situation?
- What did you do that helped you through your last big challenge?
- What is it you really want or need to achieve here?
Here are 5 further tips to help you challenge negative stories:
1. Decide today what types of stories you will now tell and create the capacity to tell better stories about your past
2. Use energy-giving stories – you want to inspire yourself and others, build energy, confidence and motivation
3. Align your stories with how you want your future to be
4. Visualise the story and outcome you want and play it like a movie in your mind – connect with the emotions of this story – just go with it!
5. Take command of the stories that drive the future, take a minute or two each day to imagine what it will be like to achieve your dream and re-connect with that end result.
Remember…what you focus on, you create.