“We are, each of us, a product of the stories we tell ourselves.”Derren Brown, Happy: Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine
I found this quote from Derren Brown, a British mentalist and illusionist, to be so powerful. If you have never seen Brown’s work, Netflix offers a few of his specials, and I highly encourage you to check them out! Each are engrossing bits of performance; however, I was struck even more by his messages than by his shows’ spectacles. In each of his works, Brown tries to leave the audience with something to ponder, such as the thought above. As a former high school English teacher, it should come as no surprise that narratives have always fascinated me, and I think it is time we all get curious about the stories we are telling ourselves.
What stories are you telling yourself currently? Maybe it’s that you aren’t good enough. Maybe it’s that you won’t ever get to that next peak. Maybe it’s that you can’t be that version of yourself you would like to be. Whatever your stories are, what are the ones that are holding you back? I’ll give you an example from my life: a few years ago, I was telling myself a story about how I would never be able to leave teaching. I had resigned myself to staying in the classroom even though I knew that I wanted to do something different to help individuals in a new way. That story had control of my life. It stopped me from looking for new opportunities. It stopped me from finding joy in all aspects of my job. It stopped me from feeling content with the person I was. So what did I have to do? I had to tell a new story.
One where I could leave teaching to pursue something I loved even more – life coaching. The power behind that simple new narrative was incredible. As soon as I started to tell myself I could, I was able to make the change. Now that change didn’t happen overnight, and I still needed to repeat that story many times for it to truly stick, but in the end, it did stick. That is why I am here today writing this message to all of you. I want you to tell yourself a new story. By all means, keep the stories that are helping you move forward, but this message is your permission to let go of the ones that are holding you back. It is time for a new story.