Let me ask you a question…
What’s the story you tell about how prosperous and abundance life is (or isn’t) for you? Because we all tell stories, right? It’s how we make sense of our world.
The question is, does the story you’re telling support or sabotage what you desire?
In my work as a transformational coach, people tell me all sorts of stories about what they want and why they don’t seem to have it. It’s amazing how much is revealed if you pay attention to the language people use to describe their experiences.
The Four Stories
In listening to hundreds of clients, I’ve noticed that there are four basic stories that operate inside everyone. If you pay attention to them and understand how they operate, you can create anything your heart desires as well as uncover any hidden roadblocks that might be getting in your way.
The first story everyone tells is the Challenge Story. This is the story of what you’d like to change, improve or remove when it comes to living a wealthy life. It’s the story about how things ARE versus how you want it to BE.
The second story is the Dream Story. What it would look like if it were exactly the way you wanted it to be? Many times, you know what you want, but sometimes you’re just really clear about what you don’t want.
Regardless of whether you know what you want or you don’t want, the first step is to get clarity. Start by thinking about what your Challenge Story is and what it would look like if your dreams came true? For example…
- Tired of feeling like you’re just surviving? What would it be like to really thrive?
- Wish you didn’t have an empty bank account? How much money would you like in reserve?
- Want to do profitable work in the world that serves yourself AND others? What exactly would that look?
The key here is that whatever your Dream Story is, in order to get started on making it a reality, you have to get specific.
Now, that seems kind of obvious, right? However, all too often I hear clients say: “I want to help people” or “I want to make a lot of money” or “I just want to be successful”, but then they wimp out about what their definition of success actually is or how much money they want, etc.
It would be like going to a travel agent and asking her to book your vacation but not giving her a specific destination. There’s a real good chance you’re not going to end up where you actually wanted to go.
So, get specific.
- What would it LOOK like?
- What does it SOUND like?
- How does it FEEL, what are the sensations?
The "Giggle" Factor
The next piece in clearly articulating your Dream Story is asking yourself, “is this Dream Story worth going for?” For me, it has to have what I call the “Giggle Factor”.
I know my Dream Story is powerful if thinking about it makes me giggle, “OMG, having this would be so cool?” and at the same time, feel nervous and maybe a bit scared that “Yikes! What if this really DID come true?”
This piece is crucial. Because, if you just say, “yeah, that’d be cool …” you’re not going to have what it takes to get inspired and stay motivated. So there you are, thinking the good thoughts, feeling the emotions, taking actions and getting results…Or are you?
You may have a better understanding of where you are and where you want to go, but you still can’t seem to rise above the clutter in your life. Or you just feel overwhelmed with all the things that need to get done. Perhaps, everyone else’s needs seem to take precedence – how will you ever carve out time for what you want?
What just happened?
You have now firmly landed in story number three, the Yeah, But… Story, alternately known as the “If Only Story” or the “Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda Story”.
Most times, it’s this story that stops the Dream Story cold. Things like procrastination, clutter, the inability to say no or giving up what you want to appease other people are just the tip of the iceberg. Underneath those behaviors are deep beliefs around identity, value and self-worth.
The "But" Stories
Those Yeah, But Stories are like dragons. They seem powerful and insurmountable and hard to deal with. But in actuality, they’re really just gatekeepers and guardians of old strategies and beliefs you adopted many, many years ago as small children when you had no power or limited resources to get your needs met.
However, while those strategies may have kept you safe years ago, many of them are outdated and no longer appropriate. The problem is they’re operating on an unconscious level and here’s the thing. These behaviors are on auto-pilot and unless you actively go in and change them, they’ll keep playing on like that tedious background music at the mall.
So what do you do?
Well, the first thing you MUST do is begin to take 100% responsibility for your stories. All of them. You may have come by them honestly, but the time has also come for you to recognize that in some way, you are in partnership with whatever experience you are having.
Secondly, move out of Criticality and Judgement and into Curiosity and Wonder. Stop beating yourself up and making yourself wrong for the things that aren’t working for you. Instead, if you find yourself constantly in situations that are not in alignment with your Dream Story, ask yourself “what is this situation getting for me?” Then, get curious about what the answer might be.
And finally, if you truly want to create powerful change in your life and you know you’re stuck, rather than just resign yourself, get some help. Hire a coach, reach out to a mentor or join a networking group with like-minded interests. Get some guidance from someone who isn’t living the same “reality’ you are and can offer you a different perspective of what might be going on.
Just owning the part you are playing in life and asking different questions will begin to shift things, help you make peace with your dragons and put you at a powerful choice point.
You CAN change those Yeah, But… Stories and without them, just imagine about what else would be possible? More revenue? More freedom? More fun?
What’s so beautiful about this is that each of you has your own master plan for success and the more you do this powerful inner work to eliminate the old outdated stories and beliefs that don’t serve you, the quicker the plan can get into action.
Are the steps simple? Yes. Is it easy? Not so much. Is it worth the effort? A loud, resounding YES!
Because here’s what I know:
No matter how big your Dream Story is, it’s not big enough. You are capable of things beyond your wildest dreams but you can’t even begin to imagine them into existence because the dragons of your Yeah But story are in your way.
The Unexpected Story
It takes courage to make the decision to truly go for what you want. And, you have to absolutely commit to doing whatever it takes to break free of the unconscious roadblocks sabotaging your success. But if you do, there is a fourth story waiting to reveal itself.
I call this fourth story the Unexpected Story and it is where all the magic happens. It’s where thought, emotion, action and results align with the power that creates worlds. Where synchronicity, coincidence, the unexpected encounter and all the other acts of magic converge.
You’ll know when you’re fully aligned with the Unexpected Story because you’ll start hearing yourself begin sentences with “You’re not going to believe this, but…”
You put that magic in motion the minute you make the decision to take 100% responsibility for where you are and the actions you take. When you stop being your own worst enemy and start being your BFF. When you refuse to let the Yeah, But Stories define who you are and instead, commit to living with courage and confidence in yourself and what you are capable of.
If you do that, you will create something so extraordinary, it will take your breath away. It will become the story you will take joy in telling for years and years.
About Shannon Presson:
Shannon Presson is an ICF certified coach, Master NLP Practitioner and story detective who loves helping clients discover and then eliminate the hidden stories that sabotage their success. You can learn more about her at ShannonPresson.com