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The stories we tell ourselves, and what you can do about them

the stories we tell ourselves

The stories we tell ourselves,

and what you can do about them

There are a few themes that are set on repeat in the Wayfairer HQ and one of them is about the stories we tell ourselves. Have you ever listened to the stories, the voices in your head tell you? Whether they’re self-doubts, you can’ts to hell yes’s and what ifs.

That voice or those voices have quite a strong influence over most of us. These stories can quite quickly and easily be mistaken for truths. They often have the power and capacity to incapacitate us, to swell that lump of fear and ring in the naysayers at the back of our minds.

Stories we tell are often not true

But it’s not all doom and gloom, because it at these junctions that growth and awareness can develop, unfold and can change the trajectory of the stories being developed or told in our heads.

No one other than you can hear this story. Which means no one other than you can change the tune, the tone, the content and make that story ring truer than its original shitty first draft. The shitty first draft that many accept as being the final polished and buffed piece that the world sees.

Dr Brené Brown talks of her internal dialogue as one that can either cripple her or fire her up to get on with her intention to keep showing up for the world. To continue writing, researching, presenting her ideas. Rewriting that story where she is the imposter and her story is full of doubt, fear, and vulnerability.

Sound familiar?

Recently I was talking with a friend about my ability to upsell, wax lyrical and prioritise my work for others and the work they do. However, when it comes to my own work, skill set, experience and abilities I am completely paralysed. By not only a very strong sense of fear and vulnerability (oh my goodness I don’t know everything, what if someone finds out!) But also imposter syndrome. Despite my training and educational background, over 15 years of experience and a university degree. I still seem to believe the story in my head. It reads like this – I’m not enough to do this work. I’ve not got enough experience. I have to get more qualifications. I need to work for other people, use their skills, experience, and business as a buffer to hide behind. To shield myself from being exposed as an imposter. These are huge excuses for not letting my own innate skills loose, and actually being brave enough to be successful. Which is contrary to the fear I tell myself of being afraid of failing. Which, I am not. Funnily enough.

“If we deny our stories, they own us,” says Brené Brown. “When we own our stories, we get to write the ending. When we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions, they don’t go away – they own us, then they define us. Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending – to rise strong, reckon with our story and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how this story ends.”

The shitty first draft (sfd)

When I first read about this in Brené Brown’s book, Rising Strong, it took a bit of digesting. Probably because my fears realised they were about to be caught out. The biggest question that came up was, Why would writing our stories be of any use? Eventually, it dawned on me that if our stories are out of our heads and in the real world positioned next to other items for scale and perspective we’d see what shitty stories they really are. How irrelevant they actually are in relation to not only the truth but also reality.

Fellow fear facer and author Elizabeth Gilbert wrote an exceptional letter to fear in her book Big Magic.

 

The stories fear tells us

 

The sfd

Not everyone is a storyteller, a writer or inclined to put their innermost thoughts on paper (or on a computer). I know there are days where I can’t even sit still long enough to write a sentence, so my suggestions are these. Take out the medium that you feel most at ease with communicating these stories.

  • writing, stories, poems, lyrics, emails, notes, permission slips
  • painting, drawing, sculpting, carving
  • photographs or videos
  • speak the stories through songs, a vlog, podcast, voice recording on your phone, conversation with another person

The SFD doesn’t need to be public, it just needs to be out of your head and exposed for what it really is. Bullshit.

I always say to my students. Ask the question. Get the clarification. Make the statement. You are not the only one in the room feeling that way. By raising your hand and putting yourself in a space of vulnerability I can guarantee that at least one other will feel the same. They will be moved to either support you and contribute to the story or write/speak their own version.

Like all good stories, they need space and time to be told. So carve out a niche of time and get those words or images out of your head. Start that shitty first draft and see it for what it is. Fear. Vulnerability. Self-doubt. Acknowledge it, take responsibility for it. But don’t believe it. Please, don’t believe it.

Reigning in the stories

Brené, who has interviewed artists, CEOs, parents, teachers and military leaders as part of her mission to uncover what it takes to lean into vulnerability in the name of being courageous, suggests a few key points in order to ‘rise strong’ in the face of a roadblock, stumble (or sinkhole).

1.    Acknowledge when you’re getting caught in emotion

The physiological signs of this can be different for everyone but may involve sweaty palms, tingly insides, dizziness, racing heart, rushing thoughts.

2.    Own your story 

Acknowledge your fears and worries to yourself and identify what they are, exactly. You will probably recognise that they’re somewhat exaggerated versions of the actual truth.

3.    Go searching for the truth

Take it gently, this might involve, confessing to the person your SFD is about or involving and saying something along the lines of ‘In my head, the story I’m telling myself is…’

4.    Create a new story

In most situations, it’s possible to identify what the real issue is. Overwhelm, stress, tiredness, PMS, and more are all contributors to the story. The rest? Pure confabulation.

5.    Challenge your themes

If you’re serious about getting up and out of the SFD vicious circle, review your SFDs and pull out the recurring themes that you’re concocting on a regular basis about situations in your life, about people, about circumstances. Acknowledge the underlying false beliefs that may be plaguing you.

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If you need more help or coaching please get in touch here or info(@)wayfairer.net

Framing stories.

 

 

 

New Year, Cracking on and Making 2017 Your Most Memorable

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New Year 30 minute 1:1 sessions in February are available for €67

 Cracking on with the New Year and making 2017 your most memorable.

The new year is on the way, and the possibilities are endless.

The New Year is here! December has yet again descended upon us with alarming speed, and here we are again reviewing our year and hypothesizing about the next. The theme of cycles and evolutions are prevalent in all aspects of our life, but this year has been particularly poignant.

For me, the end of the year has brought a number of thoughts about the nature of change and how I (and we, as a collective consciousness) muster the courage to take action and move into unknown territories. Thinking back to when I first decided to leave the relative safety of routine and day to day work I needed and wanted help to work out how the heck to do it, but at that time I didn’t have the resources or available cash to get a coach or pay for a business coach. Which I am sure, you can relate to at least one point in your life being in the same situation.

What motived me to change?

Why was I reluctant to invest in myself? Well, a good question. My reluctance came from two aspects, the first, I didn’t really know what I would do, I had worked in various industries, all of which had interconnecting threads, but not one continuous career path. The other thing was, I didn’t really know if I would stick with it. I worried it might be a waste of money, at the time all my savings were designated for travel. Any of that sound familiar?

I decided to try and set out on a path that made absolutely no sense at the time. It brought me to where I am now, which is not even remotely where I thought I would be. When I first decided I had to let go of all the ‘securities’ in my life to pursue a dream I had had for many years which had sat patiently waiting for me to look up and acknowledge its presence.

What is the theme for 2017?

Since there has been such a noticeable shift in the air the last few months. I decided to have a look at the year from a numerology perspective, and that answered a few questions! 2016 is a 9 year (2+0+1+6=9) which is the end of a 9-year cycle. Which illustrates the volume of deaths, endings or conclusions going on around us. 2017 is now commencing the new cycle (2+0+1+7=10 /1+0=1). Beginning with momentum, new ideas, the expansion of existing interests or passions. Just in the last week, I’ve had 9 friends announce pregnancies if they’re not new beginnings, I don’t know what are!

This is a year of developing your skills, honing your ideas and this is a year of ideas. Heaps of them falling out of the sky into your lap if you’re willing and able to recognise them. A year to start believing in yourself and getting that bright light within to shine through and bedazzle us with your outrageous fabulousness.  All in all 2017 is a year focused on walking your own path. Stepping out of the crowd and into a life with considerably more freedom. But, and there is always a but, you need to be one to motivate all of this. Therefore, I want to help you become the change maker, leap taker, mover and shaker in this new year.

What does this all mean for you?

2017 is the new year to grab the opportunities to turn a dream or a nagging idea at the back of your head into a vocation. Essentially we have been given a clean slate. It is often the most unexpected and seemingly unfathomable ideas that are the ones to pursue. As Elizabeth Gilbert says, the best way to know if you’re following your intuition is if it makes no sense. Hearing our intuition means we’ve stepped out of our rational mind and into the silent space between thoughts. In that quiet space, our intuition whispers quietly. While we sleep, during solitary moments in the sunshine, in meditation and long windswept walks in nature.

                   We are lucky that inspiration talks to us at all, it’s too much to ask that it also explain itself.                        – Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

Having been in this position and observing the changes in the world over the last few years, I decided that I wanted to offer my experience, knowledge, and expertise to others. To help them achieve the sheer volume of joy and freedom a life designed on your own terms can bring. And what am  I offering? One to one coaching sessions on Skype, for thirty minutes. To give you the boost to get your ideas flowing and your planning underway, and to acknowledge this new cycle. The session will cost €67. I don’t want anyone using my excuses of the past about not having money to get the help and confidence to make the first moves into your sheer awesomeness. Click here to reserve your session with me, one to one, now.

And finally, will you be that person? Who will step up and ‘just do it’, you or someone else? I trust that I will be speaking with you soon.

New Year 30 minute 1:1 sessions in February are available for €67