Things are not always what they appear to be. Familiar interpretations of what is going on around you can often limit performance and growth. Because so many well-worn stories can hold you back, it’s useful to bring them into question and consider a new perspective.
Limiting stories mask a more complete truth that could liberate energy and options. We all have them. They shape how you see others, yourself and the world. These stories are often based on limiting beliefs and assumptions that aren’t always true or helpful.
You can change the story of who you are, what is happening to you and what is going on around you by taking a different view and asking some key questions. There are many ways to do this. Here is one of the more powerful ways. It can be used over and over again, in almost any situation, to create a shift in attitude and perspective. I call it the long view.
Let’s use following situation as an example:
I can’t get reliable turn-around from my co-worker. I need him to do his part so I can meet my deadlines. I’m very frustrated. He is such a slacker and is ruining my chances for success.
By taking the long view, you shift the time frame for the situation to one that is progressively longer, until it loses its charge and you can see it with less reactivity. Here are some questions to ask:
- How will I view this situation in 6 months? Using the example above: If I have to live with 6 more months of this I’ll be ready to kill him.
- How will I view this situation in 1 year? Using the same example: Something will have changed, so it probably won’t be as big of a deal by then.
- How will I view this situation in 5, 10 or 20 years? It really doesn’t seem that important at all.
- How will I view this situation at the end of my life? This is the last thing I’ll be thinking about at the end of my life.
The story you have about a situation, or about someone else, can shift dramatically as you alter your point of view. This opens up the possibility of a story that is more truthful and productive. You then have more freedom to choose new responses. Even small choices can have a profound ripple effect that can change the course of events. Your new, expanded story CAN make a difference.
1. Try the questions above with a situation you’re currently struggling with. Does the shift in perspective allow you to create a more truthful or accurate story?
2. Think of a couple of times when you came to a conclusion prematurely.
- How do you know it was premature?
- How long do you think your would have had to wait to come to a more well-informed conclusion?
- If you waited longer before coming to the conclusion, what kind of difference might it have made in your life? In the life of others?
Identifying the limiting stories you tell yourself isn’t always obvious. It’s often hard to see yourself clearly, when you’re in the middle of your life and your habitual responses. This is one of the tremendous benefits of being coached by someone who has psychological insight and training. You can see the limiting patterns and then carve out, with your coach, the rewarding work of shifting to greater freedom personal power and effectiveness in your work in the world.
If you’re ready for this kind of work, or are curious about what it might be like to work with me, give me a call or email. I’ll take the time to talk about your issues and concerns. This is one of the things I love to do.
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