Personal development coaching has some curious contradictions. You want to help your clients embrace who they are. But you’re also there to encourage improvement, expansion, and growth.
It’s a balance that is tricky to achieve for even the most self-aware among us.
It’s good to want the best for yourself and to strive to rise to your full potential. But what if your desire to be “better” stems from a belief that you’re not enough just as you are?
It’s one thing to strive for excellence. It’s another to believe that you have to change in order to be a worthy human being. (Read that again. You don’t have to change to be worthy.)
Where do we get the idea that we don’t measure up? And why do these false beliefs so easily take over our lives?
I have a friend who always identified as the “shy girl.” She was the wallflower, the timid one who needed to learn to “speak up.”
She has spent most of her life believing that her shyness is a failing–and failings are in need of fixing.
But last time we talked, I asked her a thought-provoking question: “What’s so wrong with being shy?”
Sure, she might not dazzle the world with her flaming oratories. But she is caring, kind, and genuine. She captivates everyone just by being that “shy” girl.
That thing that she thought was a curse is, in reality, a full-on gift.
What if your “flaws” were merely stories that you heard decades ago that just happened to stick?
How do you get rid of that epic tale you’ve been telling yourself, and replace it with a narrative that honors the real you?
First, we have to acknowledge that these beliefs are just stories. And we’ve been hearing them since the moment we were born.
Where do we get our stories?
From our parents, our siblings, our teachers–pretty much everyone in our world.
But the question is, are they right?
From an early age, I was branded as “sassy.” These days that term might connote a badass boss babe or an empowered woman. But back then, it told a different story.
“Sassy” meant that I was too emotional, too sensitive, even “too much.”
Fast forward to 2018. I’ll be 38 at the end of this year. And after all this time on the planet, I’ve embraced a life-changing truth…
Every story people tell me only serves to inform me of who they believe I am. Every image that others project on you is different and is their version of the truth. But not one of those projections reflects exactly who you really are.
This month the focus is freedom. And the greatest freedom of all is to be who you are instead of who the world tells you that you should be.
So today, I’m going to help you free yourself from those old stories. I’m here to help you release those erroneous tales and rewrite them with your TRUTH.
It’s time to recognize the myths, legends, and lies. And create a new story that supports and celebrates the full-strength version of YOU!
If you’ve ever told yourself that you “should” do this or you “must” do that, I’m going to be the one to ask you, “Says who?”
YOU get to decide who you are and who you want to be. And without letting an “old life’s tale” tell your story for you anymore.
Let’s create a new chapter in your life, starting right now!
To let something go, you’ve got to know what it is. Then determine where it came from, and decide if it still has a place in your NOW.
I have four prompts to help you do just that! So grab a pen and paper, and jot down each one as we go along, and fill in your answers as we go.
Here’s the first one:
“As a child, I was told that I was…”
What did people tell you about YOU when you were growing up? What did your grownups tell you on “repeat?” Sit with this question, and write down what comes up for you.
Now for the second one:
“I was told that my limitations were…”
More than likely someone–be it a parent, relative, or teacher–told what you could and could not do. And with little else to go on but their word, you probably agreed with them.
I was told that I was a “smart girl”. Maybe you were given the implication that you’d never be good at sports. Maybe you were told that something like certain skills, talents, or characteristics either “run in your family” or they don’t.
What did people tell you that you could or couldn’t do? Was it the truth, or realistic-sounding fiction?
Let’s move on to the third one:
“I was told that girls should be…”
What were you told about how girls (and women) should be? Maybe things like, “girls should have a servant’s heart.” Perhaps that women should be the nurturers, putting family first.
Not that these ideas are necessarily good or bad. But you probably picked up a few cues about what being a woman entails. So let’s unpack the stories, and see how they sit with you now.
Finally, here’s prompt number four:
“I was told that I should be…”
When you were growing up, what did your parents, teachers, or friends expect of you? What did they communicate to you in words, hints, or implications?
Now, ask yourself–do any of these expectations serve you today? Are they still relevant to the woman you are now?
As you go through these prompts, you’ll notice how easy it is to lose sight of yourself. And how we give away our power in favor of tales that might not even be ours.
Now that you know the stories you took in, it’s time to start telling your own! Who are you for real, and who do you want to be?
Make a list of your strengths. What do you love about yourself? What are your most beautiful gifts?
And from here on out, how will you use those talents to write your new life’s story?
It sounds straight-ahead enough, but trust me–owning your greatness can be pretty uncomfortable. It can bring on self-consciousness, embarrassment, even guilt.
But remember, all of those feelings are attached to old myths. And it’s up to you to create a fresh new narrative!
This is your invitation to dig deep, fly high, and discover your truth. It’s your turn to decide for yourself what your story is!
Recognizing the old stories is the first step. But if you keep telling the same old tale, you’re defeating the purpose of your awareness. Awareness without action, after all, is just as treacherous as keeping the old story.
But if you’ve come this far, you can go the distance. That means replacing the old file with a new one. A “software upgrade,” if you will, that replaces the outdated software with version 2.0!
Your new story is a celebration of your discoveries in Step #2. And my favorite way to start writing my new life’s script is using good ol’ fashioned affirmations!
I know, they might sound a little nerdy or geeky. Maybe you’re getting a vision of the “Stuart Smalley” show right now, and I get that!
But trust me, words are powerful. There’s a reason why “positive affirmations” have been around for so long. They work.
After all, the stories that you heard growing up were so easy to believe. And what were those stories? They were just words.
What if you could change the words to what you wanted them to be?
The good news is that you CAN.
They say, “It’s your story, and you’re stuck with it.” Well, that’s halfway true. It is your story, but you’re under no obligation to keep it!
Shift that age-old saying to, “It’s my story, and I can rewrite it any way I want,” and you’ll go to new levels of empowerment!
Remember that words matter. And you have a say over the ones you say to yourself. So make them good ones, and tell that new story early and often!
What outdated stories are still making the rounds in your life? Leave me a comment and tell me a myth that you’ve outgrown, and how you’re going to rewrite it to honor who you are now.
Because I swear, it must be said again: you do not need to change to be worthy. But you may need to change the story you’ve been telling yourself to finally feel free.