The narrative you tell yourself, and the world can make or break your growth. Often the story we hold dear about what we can do and what is possible is held so tightly as it’s a protective mechanism. If you have ever failed at anything, especially your goals, sometimes it’s easier and socially acceptable to replay those old missteps as a reason not to try again. For some people, holding on to old stories helps us feel safe from the rawness of our world.
If you have ever watched a toddler start walking, they fall countless times, but they haven’t learned the mental blockers of giving up because of appearances or embarrassment. Toddlers will fall, cry, and sometimes just be a hot mess, but they shake it off and pull themselves up again, and before you know it, they are terrorizing folks at your local Target. In this post, I want to share 3 ways the art of storytelling helps you craft a life you want that is rich, sweet, and uniquely fitting for you!
For many years I held on to the stories my family constantly drilled into me. You have 3 strikes against you; you’re a woman, Black and poor. This narrative was always told to me as I had to be the pioneer in a family riddled with substance abuse and mental illness. Being the first generation, there were many barriers to getting into a place of opportunity. I worked triple hard to combat the story that because I was a Black woman who came from nothing, I needed to justify my existence by being extraordinary at all times, almost machine-like.
After several decades I finally spiraled and burned out hard during the pandemic that’s still going. Being at home alone for 2 1/2 years, I had the time to acknowledge and face the stories that still ran like out-of-date code in my life, coloring everything I did and robbing me of the opportunity to see where I was and how far I had come. Operating under the guise of out-of-date ideals inhibits you from tasting the sweetness of your life. Looking back, I know my family probably passed down the same message their family told them as a way to prepare me for the rigors of a world with many isms, which I did face and still deal with daily. However, once I overhauled the stories, I gave myself grace for clinging to old narratives as they protected me from disappointment or the rawness of the state of the world; it allowed me to re-write my narrative into one that allowed me the expand into my full expression.
Pivoting your narrative isn’t easy because it goes against the ego, which often does everything it can to be correct. So often, we swaddle and protect the ideals and beliefs we need to allow to fall away so we can experience life the way we should. In working with past clients in and outside of my consulting services, I often observe what is like a mild psychosis when one is pivoting their narrative. You go from saying that goal or dream is out of reach because some deficiency, real or imagined, is blocking us, which often directly opposes the identity we fight hard to uphold. I believe that sometimes not trying protects our ego, thus insulating us deeper into being out of reach of our dreams.
One thing I want to call out, I don’t live in the delusion that there aren’t isms out there that hinder our progress. Those discriminations of racism, sexism, classism, ageism, homophobia, xenophobia, fatphobia, and colorism are very real. They can directly impact your ability to flourish, yet I have always coached clients in acknowledging them yet moving forward regardless. I don’t like upholding the tokenism that well look at Oprah as motivation. Changing our narrative allows us to cast ourselves in a happily ever after story.
Understanding how holding a narrative that no longer works for you is exhilarating. I hope you can take these tips and implement them immediately. It will not be fun as we have to acknowledge things about ourselves we would rather not but as the old saying the truth will set you free, but like Pharell’s version, but first, it will piss you off.
1. Storytelling is an art form that you can develop by using it daily.
Have you ever gotten so wrapped up in a daydream when you should be working? When you use the art of storytelling in your life, you are expanding your imagination allowing for the rich textures and splendor to be felt. Sometimes you can almost taste what’s going on in your mind. Shifting your narrative will enable you to visualize your better tomorrow now, giving you enough fuel to get moving.
2. Storytelling allows others to connect and support
Pivoting your narrative when you have goals that require support from others allows people to become vested in your success. Think about all the philanthropy commercials out there, which provide a story that hooks people into wanting to support their cause by eliciting a connection. Of course, everyone won’t feel drawn, but for everyone who wants to save the animals, there will be someone who wants to protect children with cancer. When you craft your story compellingly, it makes people feel compelled to support you and excites them to want to help you reach your goals. You can only do so much alone as most goals will require the world.
3. Storytelling fuels you
A compelling story can motivate us to push forward even when all the odds are stacked against us. Coming from a childhood where I did from the stats, I shouldn’t be where I am at all. I should be in a very different world. When I tried to connect with others from my past, it was like entering a world that hadn’t progressed very much, yet I understand how overwhelming starting something new when you have no examples or framework to rely on. However, as I shifted my story, it released more access to my skills and gifts, which provided me with a wealth of abilities to move.
As I wrap up, you have more power than you may acknowledge, as there is so much out there wanting to dilute and distract us from our brilliance. Harnessing the power of storytelling can radically change your life if you are up to the challenge. It’s easier to cling to what you know or, for some, the more limiting story as a way to protect ourselves, but if you are reading this blog, I know you are not about that life and are ready to make things shake. If you need a coach to help you stay in the present and move to results, hit the link to book a consultation.