My life’s not what I expected it to be.
I didn’t do as well as I should’ve.
Things just aren’t working out for me.
These are statements I hear a lot during the start of a coaching journey. People beating themselves up because what they expected to happen in certain areas of their lives didn’t, or they keep pushing for particular outcomes time and time again, and wind up feeling frustrated because the results don’t change.
What I’ve discovered in coaching people, is they feel this way because their lives aren’t matching the stories they are telling themselves, and it’s this misalignment that is causing them pain and suffering.
We all have stories that we tell ourselves, and it is within these stories that we find meaning in how we should look, how we should behave, our relationships, our jobs, our successes, and our life milestones. Our stories are also what sets us up for how we feel, the actions we take, and ultimately what we believe we can achieve with our lives. However, what happens when these stories don’t serve us, or have become outdated? The short answer is – they limit us. They keep us feeling stuck and they rob us of the ability to see the bigger picture of who we truly are and what we want for our lives.
So, when you’re experiencing difficulties, and coming up against resistance in your life, the answer isn’t to keep trying a different action hoping to get a different result, the answer is to step back and ask: ‘What story am I telling myself right now, and how might this be getting in the way of me experiencing what I truly want?’
Let’s trying this together right now. Grab a pen and a piece of paper and work through the following.
- What area of your life are you feeling unhappy/less satisfied with at the moment?
- What are the reasons you are feeling this way? (these are your stories)
- Take a look at these stories and notice the language you are reinforcing, and how this makes you feel. Does it empower you, give you hope, show responsibility for your own choices and actions? OR does it pull you into a state of helplessness and blame?
- Reflecting on your stories, what is the deeper need you’re trying to meet here? E.g. to feel safe, loved, secure, strong etc… Are the stories you’re telling yourself truly helping you meet this need?
- Finally, if you were to meet this need in a healthy, more empowering way, what story would you like to tell yourself moving forward?