Connect with your Story and Use it to Propel Yourself Forward
"The stories we tell literally make the world. If you want to change the world, you need to change your story." – Michael Margolis
As I started to interview people for my podcast, The Virtual Campfire, I realized how powerful our personal stories can be. Our past is not something to run away from; it is something to embrace, reconcile with, and use as a powerful lever to move us into the future. When you commit to understanding and owning your true story, you uncover things you never clearly understood about yourself and others.
Sometimes the stories we tell ourselves don't serve us well. They keep us stuck and hold us back from realizing our full potential. When we allow our minds to focus on a limiting story such as "I'm not good enough" or "I will never be able to do this," it triggers the same cascade of stress hormones as if we were being chased by a tiger. We create our own nightmares through the stories we tell ourselves about what might happen. When we reflect on our past and re-write our story, we can transform our past challenges into strengths.
Is it time to re-write your story? If so, start by reconnecting with your past and re-framing how you look at it. Here are a few questions for you to reflect on to begin to map out your story:
- What were the defining moments in my life or career?
- What were the flashpoints in my story that revealed my calling or gifts?
- What pain or challenge ultimately got me to step into action?
- What was the mindset shift I had to make to change my situation?
- What part of my past requires more closure or needs reconciliation?
- What are three lessons I have learned about myself?
I often talk about the concept of transcending and including your past when I work with clients. The philosopher Ken Wilber initially proposed this concept as a thinking principle that stated that "every new level of complexity transcends the earlier level's limitations and includes the less complex structure into itself." I like to think of it in simple terms: We have to embrace our past, so we can integrate it and evolve to the next level of our human experience, our own personal evolution story.
So how can you transcend and include your past?