For the past three weeks we have been focusing on your change story, why it is important, and guidelines for writing it. While those posts apply to both personal and organizational change, today’s post is different; it is only about your personal change story. In my next post I will focus on telling the story of an organizational change.
If your story is about a personal change, who do you tell it to?
Look in the mirror. You are your first audience. And, you will be your most frequent audience going forward. Why? Quoting Henry Ford, “If you think you can do a thing, or you think you can’t, you are right.” Wherever your thinking is today, it will shift. Some days you will have a greater belief in your ability to succeed than you do today. Other days, you will have less. That is why you write your story from the future. It speaks to having succeeded, to achieving what you have set out to attain. You need to believe that it can–and will–happen, or you will never get there. The larger, more disruptive the change is, the truer this is.
A few years ago I was on a spiritual retreat. One of my personal stories surfaced in a group session. It was a painful one, but one that I believed was true. The facilitator worked with me to write a new story, one filled with promise and positive outcomes. That was the easy part!
He then brought me in front of a full-length mirror, and had me look myself in the eye. He asked me to tell myself the new story. Hesitantly, with uncertainty, I struggled through it. For weeks after, every morning in front of the mirror I struggled to tell myself my new story. Sometimes I was eye-to-eye with me; sometimes my eyes were averted. Then, one day, I stood there, told my story, and started smiling. A laugh erupted. It was clear that I believed the story, and was on my journey to achieving it.
That story is still alive today. It is becoming more and more fully realized. And, each morning I stand in front of the mirror, and I tell myself the story once again, from my heart.
Tell it to your personal anchors who are, or will be, taking the journey with you. Perhaps they helped to write the story. Perhaps they will help you to edit it as you move forward, to adjust to the shifting environment, the unexpected obstacles, the unanticipated encounters. What you want most is for them to anchor you in the story; to hold you accountable for living into it.
In my “Anchors, Aweigh” post I also talked about the anchors that you need to let go of, and those which will require a different relationship in the future if you are to succeed. Those anchors, if they are people in your life, need to hear the story as well. Ideally, they should hear it directly from you.
- Stand in front of the mirror, story in hand,
- Look yourself in the eye, and
- Start telling yourself of your future life, and how you will get there.
- As you talk, also listen, and feel it in your heart.