Omkari Williams

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The Story Becomes You


The Story Becomes You. I love the double entendre there, we look like our stories and we become the stories we tell about ourselves. We become, for good or ill, the stories we tell ourselves over and over. From the mundane to the major our stories seem to materialize throughout the areas of our life.

I have a friend who tells the story of her seemingly magical parking karma. This woman can find a parking space close to where she is going in the most crowded cities on earth. She will tell anyone she is in a car with her stories of finding a space everywhere. I'm fairly certain that she's told the story of her great parking karma so often that she has actually bent the parking gods to her will. This is her story and it has become true in her life.

What if all the stories we tell can reshape our lives? What if what you tell yourself, again and again, becomes the truth of your life? Is it really possible that our stories can do that? Actually, they already do.

How many times have you said to someone, "Here, let me try to figure it out. I'm really good at ____________ ." Then, lo and behold, within a few minutes you have resolved the issue they were struggling with. Okay, I can hear you thinking, "Hang on, I tell myself I am good at _______ because I am good at it." Fine, but were you always? Was there no learning curve? Was there never a moment when _________ felt like a challenge but you convinced yourself that you could figure it out and then you did? Or what about the things that you believe you are dreadful at? For me that dreadful thing is math. I stink at math, always have, always will. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. The fact is that story is true because I say it is.

It's true but, in all honesty, if there were enough money, or my life, on the line I could get a lot better at math than I currently am. Given proper motivation I could change the story and my behavior. Given proper motivation I could rewrite my story to one where math wasn't a challenge. I'm not saying that I would become a math whiz but I could stop being a math dunce. I haven't rewritten the story because I don't care enough to improve those specific skills.

But what if the story were one that really negatively impacted my life? What if the story was that I was no good at bringing my ideas out of my head and into the world? That story would require an immediate rewrite. Because that story would cause me to drop creative ideas before they were even fully formed. That story conflicts with the larger story I have for my life.

The story becomes you.

Most of us clearly see how this plays out in others but are too close to our own stories to see how it plays out in our life. We see the negative impact of story on the friend who constantly runs down her appearance though she is an attractive woman. Or the colleague who won't share her really clever ideas in staff meetings because, as she says, "I'm just support staff, other people know better than me." We listen to these friends and get so frustrated because we can hear how self-limiting their stories are. But do we hear that in our own stories?

The Story Becomes You. One of the things that we humans share is the desire to be "right." We don't like being "wrong" about things. With our stories what this means is that we will often make ourselves "right" even when it doesn't serve us. Even if the story is a disempowering one we will make it true rather than be wrong.

We will do things that prove we are dreadful at math, or can't lose weight, or that our ideas won't work, or prove that we are the victim of circumstance rather than be wrong. Given this human tendency to make ourselves right isn't it better to write a story that supports your highest dreams for yourself? A story about resilience and persistence, a story about happiness and gratitude, a story that reflects the life you want to live.

Begin writing the story you would like to be living and watch as, day by day, the story becomes you.

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