Recently I have received coaching from two different coaches. Within the same week they both gave me a journaling assignment, much like the one suggested in my previous blog (link). They framed their assignments with different questions and when I started writing they did not seem similar. As I kept journaling, epiphanies started to emerge like fireworks. The pieces of ‘The Stories’ came together like magic.
I realized that I have spent years living other people’s negative stories about me. I had set aside the positive stories and lost touch with my authentic story. I do not believe all of those pieces would have come together without my deep dive into learning about my strengths through the Strengths Strategy model. I have rewritten my story. I have found freedom and peace in living my authentic story.You can change the stories you tell by viewing them as lessons you’ve learned. Click To Tweet
How can you boost your personal growth so that you live into your authentic story and live up to your potential? I’ve been exploring how we get stuck in the past when we tell repetitive stories that explain who we are. Sometimes we use life experiences to further our personal growth, but often we simply do not grow. We keep repeating the same story over and over with the same outcomes.
Everyone grows along life’s journey, some in ways that are beneficial, others in a manner that restricts their potential. Hopefully, the intention is to grow and evolve, not to repeat the same stories and diminish our possibilities.
As a coach, I hear a lot of personal stories. Part of my job is to question the assumptions and origins of the stories and ideas behind one’s own identity. It’s like holding up a mirror for people to see themselves more clearly.
The fact is, personal stories serve to protect our egos — It’s human nature. Our stories are not about what actually happened, but rather our perception of what happened or the stories others have told about us. Yes, they are founded on real events, but more so on real emotions. They are stories that we have created based on how we’ve interpreted life or what we’ve have been told about things back then.
In Judith Glaser’s book, Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust & Get Extraordinary Results, the author suggests an exercise to look at the past, find new meaning from significant events, and create successful behavior patterns.
To review, the five-step exercise to boost personal growth is:
STEP 1: Draw a Life Timeline
STEP 2: Identify Significant Events or People with Big Impact
STEP 3: Find Patterns and Meaning
STEP 4: Back to the Future
STEP 5: Map Making
Commit to journaling and looking at your past with brutal honesty. Sometimes it can be a simple matter of reframing reality, tweaking your story or sometimes it is totally throwing out the old stories, the stories that are not truly yours and reclaiming your authentic stories. You can change the stories you tell by viewing them as lessons you’ve learned. Then, share your new stories with your coach.
With this new awareness of your authentic story, you will be able to see future situations with more possibilities. You will have a greater chance of success in realizing your dreams, fulfilling your hopes and wishes.
When you do this exercise with your coach, you use your past to enhance and rewrite your future. Personal growth and wisdom come from being able to take a hard, honest look at the past. Reframe and revise your stories so that your stories are consistent with your truth – a truth that continues to evolve for a changing future.