The Hidden Storylines Holding Us Back
Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I wanted to talk about the power of the stories we tell ourselves and how to turn them around if they're holding us back. While this is an important lesson for business owners, it's also important in life. I've talked about this on Instagram and I wanted to talk about it here in more detail because it has been such a helpful tool.
Let me start with an example so you have some context. I shared this story over on Instagram this week. For many months, I've been feeling very overwhelmed in my business because I've take on a lot and have no help. It's just little old me running this business! I do everything from watering the flowers outside my shop to high-level marketing work, and everything in between. For a while now, I've accepted the fact that I really do need to hire an employee. It's time. My business just turned 3 years old last week and I can no longer handle everything on my own. But it's a scary step! It's sort of like trusting someone else to watch and care for your child. Anyways, for several months I had this repeating storyline running through my head. It went something like this: "I can't do this much longer on my own. This is too much for one person to handle. I have no one to help me." I recognized this story was playing in the back of my head and I started to call myself out on it. Each time I caught myself getting trapped in this story, I turned it around and said something like this: "I welcome support. I am supported in my business. I know the exact right person to hire is going to come across my path." It's hard work calling yourself out! It takes courage to challenge yourself and say to yourself, "Hey, there might be another perspective here." It took some time to fully believe this new story (that I could be supported) because I was a bit trapped in victimhood ("I can't do this on my own anymore. I am overwhelmed. I have no one to help me."). But once I really claimed a new storyline that was positive and supportive, it was only a matter of time before the most perfect employee serendipitously crossed my path. I was previously acquainted with her and never thought I'd be able to hire her. But everything lined up and I am so excited to start working with her in several weeks. It's funny how that happens.
Now that you have an example, let's try to break it down into action steps. It really isn't all that difficult - it just takes a lot of discipline and a willingness to call yourself out.
1. Recognize the limiting, negative, or self-defeating storyline
What negative storylines are you repeating? Truly ask yourself what's holding you back and be completely unfiltered and honest with yourself.
Maybe it's "I'll never make enough money selling jewelry to pay my bills" (that's one I had to defeat after I quit being a lawyer!)
Maybe it's "I'm too young or I'm too old or I'm too [insert adjective] to succeed at [insert desired goal]."
Maybe it's "Everyone has a 9 to 5 job, who am I to do something different?"
Maybe it's "My parents never made anything of themselves, who am I to pursue this big goal?"
Maybe it's even "I'll never meet a great guy. They're all jerks."
Negative storylines can creep up in every aspect of life, not just business and career. Not sure where to start? Ask yourself this: what area of my life is giving me the most trouble right now? Then ask yourself, "Why?" Then follow that trail as far as you can until you identify a limiting belief. Another method is to ask yourself, "Is there an area of my life where I feel sorry for myself?" For example, do you feel sorry for yourself because you've been single for 3 years in a row? That might cue you to look at the storylines you have in relation to your romantic relationships.
2. Once you've identified the storyline that's holding you back, think about how you can turn it around
Get out a piece of paper and a pen and really work through how you can twist your storyline around. Start simple.
For example, if the negative storyline is "I have no one to help me in my business" then write down the opposite which would be, "I have help in my business."
If the negative storyline is "I'm too young to start my own business and have it succeed" then write down, "Regardless of my age, I know I have the skills I need to start my own business and have it succeed."
If the negative storyline is "I'll never meet a great guy" then write down, "I know a great guy will cross my path and it's just a matter of time."
You get the idea. Come up with two or three "new" storylines that are positive and supporting. Write them down in your phone's note pad so you can refer to them at any moment.
3. Here's the hardest part: call yourself out
When the negative storyline creeps in, you have to recognize it and call yourself out. This is the hardest part. Storylines are sneaky. They creep in when you least expect it and they come out of your mouth without you even realizing it. But the good news is, it gets easier and easier to call yourself out over time. It will almost become a reflex. You'll feel a little tug at your heart when you think or say a negative storyline and that'll be your cue for step 4.
4. Replace the negative storyline with the positive ones you created in step 3.
When you recognize yourself thinking or saying a negative storyline, stop yourself, and simply replace it with the positive storyline. And let yourself really feel it. It felt so good to tell myself, "I AM supported in my business. I CAN hire someone great. I know an awesome employee is going to cross my path." It eventually felt so good that I truly started to believe it!
5. Repeat the process over and over again and trust that new things, people, and events will start to show up for you to support your new storyline.
Here's the deal. The world works in pretty predictable ways. We are naturally attracted to things, people, and events that support our storylines. Let me make an analogy - we all have certain political beliefs (especially right now) and we tend to watch and read the media and news outlets that support what we already believe, right? People who love CNN would never watch Fox News and vice versa. The same principle applies in life - we look for things that already support what we believe. Does that make sense? I think our brains would rather be on "autopilot" - it's easier than opening up new pathways and establishing new thought patterns.
Some people call this "manifesting" but that sounds a little woo-woo to some people. The plain and simple fact is that our outside circumstances tend to reflect our inner storylines pretty predictably. There's nothing woo-woo about that! When you know this, you can use it to your advantage.
If you found this helpful, I highly recommend the book Super Attractor by Gabby Bernstein. I adopted this method from her book and I've found it incredibly helpful not only in my business, but in my life. I hope you'll give it a try!
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