What Story Will You Tell About These Times?
A client called to share that his company was being bought by another company. While the news was good in many ways, some of his staff were caught off guard and felt victimized by the sudden news.
He wanted additional support for his staff during the transition and asked us to facilitate a workshop and some follow-up coaching. This is a company we had worked with for many years and considered him, and his staff, friends as well as clients. We gladly said yes.
We hosted staff conversations so they could share how they were feeling about all the unknowns. Many revealed they were thinking the worst, even though they had little evidence that any of their negative scenarios were true. They admitted that they were making up stories about losing their jobs, or they wouldn’t be successful at the new company.
As we wrapped up the workshop, a participant who has taught and been an advocate for applying the TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)® concepts with his team, spoke up and asked, “May I say something that has really helped me over the years?”
“Of course,” we said. “Please share.” Here is what he said:
“When faced with unknowns, and really stressed, I check my focus and ask myself; what is the story I want to tell myself? I put myself in the future, three or four years from now, and visualize going through this same thing, and then ask myself; what story will I be able to tell others about the choices I made today?
Ten years from now when my kids go through a similar situation, will I be able to tell them a Creator story about how I walked through this adversity and how I didn’t let the drama overwhelm me?
Twenty years from now, when the stress of this immediate disruption is a faint memory, will I wish I had behaved differently, or will I be proud of how I handled myself? I have learned from the TED* work that I have a choice and that I can tell myself the story of my choosing before I make it.
By becoming more intentional about the stories I tell myself—and what I believe about them—I can begin to self-author and create the story I want to live.”
We were wowed by his heartfelt sharing and, from the response of the rest of those present, he really made a difference for them also. Our colleague reminded us, and his co-workers, that the stories we tell ourselves, and what we believe about them, are the most important things that guide our choices.
We appreciate his point because we obviously value stories. After all, our three books about The Empowerment Dynamic are all fables. Stories evoke emotions, which is why they are so memorable.
A good story, whether from a feature film, reading a powerful novel or family narrative passed down through the ages, stories help us make meaning of our experiences. We all love a potent story, but they aren’t just for external consumption—they are also self-created in our own minds.
The disruptive time we are living is unequaled in the history of the world. Every day there are new events that can be troublesome or empowering. It all depends on the story you will tell yourself about how you navigated these experiences.
You can pause at any moment and hear your internal chatter creating a story about your current circumstance. Do you want to cultivate a story that you succumbed to the drama of the moment or a story about how you nourished your Creator essence?
We appreciate our friend reminding us that what we think about, and the story we make up about our thinking, becomes the life we create.