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How to Rewrite Your Story

Posted On: June 5, 2022

We all have stories. These stories shape our past, our NOW, and our future. When we are too attached to these stories, especially ones that don’t serve us or make us feel good, they can have residual effects over days, months, years or even decades.

 

So, is it possible to rewrite your story?

 

Yes, You Can Rewrite Your Story!

Did you know you can rewire your brain to believe in a new reality – one that makes you feel better AND changes your life in unexpected and delightful ways?

 

In this process, it’s often the case we realize our thoughts were not actually true. Seems unbelievable, but as I have coached many through this process, one thing I can say with certainty is that in some cases the ONLY truth is that the thoughts we brainwashed ourselves to believe over months, years or decades were not actually (gasp)… TRUE….

 

I’d like to share one client case study and one personal case study of how rewriting one’s story is not only possible but leads to life-changing results that take one’s life in a totally new trajectory- one that would be completely desired but our story was our limiting belief holding us back from our true desire and true life.

 

Many come to coaching with us to identify skills they can use to build better client relationships across cultures, predominately with US Americans.

 

While, of course, skills such as time management, project management, meeting management, understanding the culture differences and other professional skillsets can be and are a part of our programs, what we tend to see is often professionals come in with a broad goal to “build confidence.”

 

Rewrite Your Story Case Study Scenario 1:

Expat / Immigrant Professional in the US with the belief language skills are what’s holding them back

 

Client Context:

Mid-level expat career professional, rough age about 45-50, working in an English-only environment in the US for 20 years, originally from another country and other language background, very skilled in the job, but gets stuck when communicating new or complex information.

 

Original Story

“Since I did not grow up in the US, and I learned English properly only after coming to the US and completing my degree, I don’t know English like a native speaker and I don’t really understand US culture because all my friends and family in my social group are from my native country, and outside of work I speak a different language and interact with others in a different way based on my native culture. How will I ever understand American English, speak it with confidence and fluency, and communicate with authority?”

 

Coaching Relationship and Interaction

I interacted with this client through leadership coaching and language training. Initially, this client wanted to improve their language. But, on the CEFR scale, they were already at a C1, almost native fluency and understanding. They had good grammar and held very fluent conversations on a wide range of topics. So, instead of focusing on language ‘basics’ we focused on leadership skills and rewriting their story.

 

New Story

“I have a unique perspective to bring to the table at work. While I may not use all the vocabulary that my colleagues who were born and raised in the US use, and I may not sound exactly like them, that is perfectly acceptable. In fact, this is my superpower. Often times I am told by my colleagues that I offer solutions to problems from perspectives they had never thought of. This is a good thing. I can see how some of the solutions I proposed have been implemented, improving processes that were stuck for years or decades in addition to my unique way of building relationships. In fact, I realize that my colleagues like me as a person, too. They often invite me for lunch during working hours, and to their homes after work is over. Also, if I get stranded due to a snowstorm or other factors, they call me to offer me a ride as they know I am not used to driving in snow and in fact they know how much I hate it. More than that, I am always able to make small talk on the ride to or from work. I also can make jokes with them.”

 

Outcome of New Story

It took my client a few months to really surface these stories and believe in the validity of them. These were amazing milestones in their life. From here, their life took a dramatic turn. They did not try to hide their accent anymore or play down the fact they weren’t American by birth. They did not hide their identity, and in fact their team embraced them for who they actually were, not who they were pretending to be before. It was a major turning point. After this, they moved on to a new role with more responsibilities and a healthy promotion.

 

Read a different client, Sajitha’s Story

 

Rewrite Your Story Case Study Scenario 2:

Self-Coaching to Change the Story

As the author of this blog, I want to share how I implemented my coaching strategies on myself to rewrite my own story.

 

Context

Being a solopreneur, I worked as an island for the most part. I had a few subcontractors I hired from time to time, but I rarely reached out to other professionals in the field for their advice or feedback (constructive criticism). Some of these professionals would include instructional designers, trainers, facilitators, coaches, business owners and others. Why did I not reach out?

 

Original Story

“How can I possibly reach out to these professionals? They are more accomplished than I am. They have more education. They work for multinational companies, I only work for myself. How can I possibly compare to their experience?”

 

Coaching Strategy

To get the ball rolling, I initially reached out to a coach for coaching on this. In that session, I had an ah-ha moment (one that oddly many of my own clients have with me when thinking about why they lack confidence in client facing communication) – I realized these professionals were people just like me.

 

This seems like an odd realization, because of course they ARE people. I am also a subset of people (a person), so what makes that person so different than me?

 

Basically, I put that person or those people on a pedestal. I was looking up to them with the mindset of ‘I am not worthy.’ (Again, oddly one of the feelings many clients I work with also have – not only in client-facing communication but in communicating about perceived risky topics such as promotions, raises, giving negative feedback, etc.).

 

By putting those individuals on a pedestal, I was putting myself and my accomplishments down. I wasn’t giving myself enough credit.

 

What really made those individuals so much better than me?

 

It was time to challenge every thought and question if my thoughts were really true or not?

 

 

Self-Coaching Process in Detail

I took this story line by line to challenge every thought and rewrite it.

“How can I possibly reach out to these professionals? They are more accomplished than I am. They have more education. They work for multinational companies, I only work for myself. How can I possibly compare to their experience?”

 

“They are more accomplished than I am.”

Is it true? What does it mean? How does it serve me?

How can I know this to be true? What yardstick am I using to measure this? Why did I need to feel that to validate myself I need to compare myself against these others I perceived to be unreachable? Why couldn’t I validate my own progress or achievements against where I have come from and how much I have achieved? (That certainly made me feel a whole lot better.)

 

“They have more education.”

Is it true? What does it mean? How does it serve me?

And, this means what? Does this mean they have more or better experience than me? Or that my experience is somehow nullified due to their education? Absolutely not!

 

“They work for multinational companies, I only work for myself.”

Is it true? What does it mean? How does it serve me?

And, again, so what? Everyone’s life path is different? What makes working for an MNC better than working for myself (I did dive into this, and then realized that some people working for MNCs may find the fact I work for myself to be something unattainable for them, so I’d be on a pedestal for them).

 

New Story

Of course I can reach out to these talented and accomplished individuals. I have experience they may also like to know about or learn from. After all, we are all just human beings living together on this earth who want to share and learn from each other. Just as they may have something to teach me that I could try out, I may also have something in my toolbox that they can use and implement in their work or life as well.

 

(Compare to the old story)

“How can I possibly reach out to these professionals? They are more accomplished than I am. They have more education. They work for multinational companies, I only work for myself. How can I possibly compare to their experience?”

 

 

Outcome of New Story

After I changed my story. My life changed. Similar to how my client got the promotion after she changed her story, I started attracting amazing professionals into my life. We celebrated and learned from each other’s work. Professionals from MNCs with amazing qualifications are now reaching out to me first to learn about my life story and my experiences as they truly believe I have something to share with them that will benefit their life. They take time out of their busy day to make time to spend with me. What an honor!

 

You may have wondered if or how you can rewrite your story, and what the outcomes of doing that may be. While there are a lot more amazing things that happened due to the snowball effect of both of these rewrites (and continues to unfold), it is entirely possible and probably to rewrite your story and take your life in a new, unexpected, amazing direction you had not ever considered til now.

 

Image credit: karlyukav at freekpik

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