How do your working stories engage you?
“The most important story you will ever tell is the story you tell yourself.”
~ Jim Loehr, The Power of Story
Past and Future? When you reflect upon the stories you tell yourself about your work do they take you to the past or to the future? I built a simple 2×2 matrix to help you see how this might look. Our relationship between time, story, and theme is more complex than this but it gives you a quick guide.
Time zone questions:
- Do your stories hold you to the past or bring you to the future?
- Do your stories create positive scenarios to build upon or negative stories that dissipate your energy and actions?
- Are your stories accurate?
- What do your stories do to you and for you?
Story sampling. Many people believe that to meditate for 10 minutes is to simply bliss out. What most of us find if we try to meditate for 10 minutes is that we have a very busy mind creating story upon story. I encourage you to take 10 minutes to slow down, follow your breathing and simply watch where your mind goes. Do you tend to live in one time zone, such as reflecting upon the past in a negative light? Does your mind jump around with a victory story about a future action you might take and then sudden regret about something you didn’t do and then worry that you may forget to do something?
Story is the governor of the mind. Our stories govern our emotions so watch your stories. By the way, see if you can spend more time story free to fully connect with the facts of your experiences. In addition, you might find you reduce stress. Stephan Rechtschaffen stated in Time Shifting: “there is no stress in the present moment.”
Time, Story and Change. As we often say in Crucial Conversations, if you want to change your life change your story. Get into the positive zone about your past and future and work hard at staying in the present moment so that you can show up to the facts of your life and create compelling stories that enhance relationships and achieve results.
Point to Ponder: What time is it in your mind right now and what is the story that is residing there?
David Zinger is an employee engagement expert who resides in Winnipeg and works around the world. He is the founder and host of the 4000 member Employee Engagement Network. An earlier version of this post appeared on the Shared Visions site.