The Stories We Tell

I’ve been thinking a lot about the stories we tell ourselves. Whenever I talk to people about building with LEGO┬« bricks, someone gets anxious about not being very good at building. It’s never about the quality of the construction though, the important stuff is all in the story about it. You could pick up a green brick, call it a frog, and say it represents leaping ahead of the competition, and we will all see it as a frog leaping ahead of the competition. I could have a brown brick and say it’s also a frog, but it represents hibernating under the ice and mud all winter to come out in the spring, and we will see it as a frog lying low during the bad times so it can flourish in the good times.

My business coach has been talking about stories in our lives as well. I’ve always had a lot of stories in my head about work and success, and I never challenged them. Things like, only things that are difficult and uncomfortable are valuable. I’ll never be able to make a living doing something I love. My work is less important than the well-being of my family. I’m changing some of these stories now. I see that what I do naturally can be very valuable, I can get paid for it, and I don’t have to hate work. And not hating work, actually doing something that I thrive on and that can help other people thrive, is in itself supporting the well-being of my family. How great to grow up with parents who love what they do!

I was taking a walk this morning and thought about the stories I tell myself in non-work-related areas too. The staircase in front of me – is it an obstacle to be overcome? Is it a reward in and of itself? Is it the path to great possibility at the top? As a kid I would have worried about it – I hated getting out of breath, and when I got too out of breath I got left behind. Now, I enjoy working my body, and the view at the top is always worth the climb. Very different stories.

I’m not going to try to turn this into group therapy, or a lecture about how you too can overcome your stories. I tend to do that, and in this case I just want to tell the story and stop. I am noticing how interesting it is that stories are coming up in all parts of my life. That usually means something. At least, for me, right now, where I am in my life. Is it true for you too?

Play well, and I hope you find your story fascinating too!