What’s Your Story?

We all have a story. We tell it when we want other people to understand who we are and where we’re coming from. Sometimes, we tell it to ourselves to justify or explain our thoughts and actions.
So what’s your story doing for you?


I know a woman who’s an introvert. She learned this via on online personality test. When she’s called on to speak in front of people at work, or when she’s put in a position where she has to interact with clients, she tells herself, “But I’m no good at that. I’m an introvert!” My acquaintance is an intelligent, resourceful, personable woman, perfectly capable of tackling anything that’s put in front of her. She struggles with “extroverted” tasks more because of the story she tells herself than because of any lack of skill on her part.


Some stories run deeper than others. They might involve our childhood experiences, our first loves, our first failures. We tell them to ourselves over and over, until they become embedded in our consciousness. It’s said that we think 80,000 thoughts a day, most of which are repeats of the thoughts we had the day before. Some researchers say that 87% of these thoughts are negative. Some of them are so derogatory and hurtful that, if someone else said them to you, you’d probably punch them in the nose.


If you spoke the same words aloud, over and over, all day, eventually you’d believe them, whether or not they were true. The same thing goes for your internal dialogue. But when you become conscious of the stories you tell yourself, you can make some amazing changes in a relatively short period of time. When you change your words, you can change your life.


I spend a long time telling myself how I had to be. “I’m a coach,” I would say. “Therefore I can’t react this way. I can’t make mistakes. I can’t be human.” My story—that I wasn’t allowed to react in a human way to problems in my own life—was causing me a lot of stress and anxiety. When I realized that I was using my story as a crutch to stop myself from diving into tough emotional territory, I was able to set it aside and work from where I was, rather than where I felt I was supposed to be.


Your action step this week is to find out what your stories are. If you’re not sure, listen to yourself as you talk to your friends, family, and coworkers. What words do you use over and over? How do you define yourself, and how does that definition serve you?


Sometimes it helps to have an objective person on your side when you begin to delve into the internal dialogue. Some of my greatest successes as a coach have come at the moments when my clients really got clear on their stories. When they changed their words, they changed their lives!


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Post By Dawn Quesnel (152 Posts)

As a certified professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader, Dawn helps sales, marketing, advertising and creative entrepreneurs to accelerate their career so they’ll love their life!

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7 Responses to “What’s Your Story?”

Kristy March 5th, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Very true! This is a great article, and just what I need to apply to my life today.

Wendy Lerette March 8th, 2010 at 9:11 am

Good Monday morning Swan. Thanks for this “story”. I am going to spend the day listening to my own stories. The first one is the story about how I had written a whole huge paragraph just now and then did not like the sound of it so I erased it, knowing full well that you are one of my oldest friends and don’t care if my words are punctuated correctly. Ahhhh I just did it again. Anyway.. Thanks for this “story”. Have a fantastic week.

anom March 9th, 2010 at 12:41 pm

makes perfect sense to me!

b March 9th, 2010 at 12:53 pm

thank you for that fresh reminder

DQ March 9th, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Thank you for your comments. Kristy I am so happy to hear the story article connected in a positive way in your life! Wendy. I can relate to writing it down and erasing! One book that really helped me to change my perspective on that is a book by Ann Lemont, called, “Bird by Bird” here is the link.
http://www.amazon.com/Bird-Some-Instructions-Writing-Life/dp/0385480016
I apologize I have not been getting your posts until now and we are working on fixing it.

DQ March 9th, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Thank you B for your support too!

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You can do anything you want to do as long as you put your mind to it.
— Dawn Quesnel - Coach DQ