Do you like a good book? How do you choose what to read next? One of the ways we often choose is by browsing areas that appeal to us. You might have a preference for Drama, Self Help, Fan-fiction, Suspense/Thriller or a host of other things that appeal to your preferences. To make it easier for us, publishers classify fiction into genres in order to publicise the books they sell.
"So how is that relevant to your life?", You might well ask.
Well, we of course we all have our own individual stories. From when we are born to when we die, we go through life collecting experiences. The stories that shape us.
My question to you today is, If you were to go through the stories that have made up your experience, what genre would you classify each of them as and is that classification helpful to you?
Being a human is a lovely thing, but on the whole, we do tend to be pretty fixed on how we see our own stories. Humans have happy stories, scary stories, some of us have stories that work really well and all of us have ones that don't work so well - those are the ones that undermine the amazing individuals we are. So it's not the story itself, but the meaning we give to it that can be the problem.
The Power of Re-classification
For a long time, I lived into stories that held me back. I thought my past was my past and that was that. I didn't realise I could make up a version that served me better, or classify them into different genres, but once I'd seen what was possible my whole life became an incredible playground of exciting possibility. And now each day I ask myself "What would make the most fun story here?", and try to live into that version of myself.
Of course, sometimes I still get fooled by some very sneaky, fixed, or real-looking stories that make their way into the biography of my life, but now I recognise them quicker, because as a coach and cognitive hypnotherapist this is what I work with others on every day and because it's so clear to me that none of them are 'true', but just how I have interpreted events.
That doesn't mean your past isn't important, or your story isn't completely valid. All of your experiences make up the wonderful human you are, it's just that you don't have to let the stories that hold you back, well, hold you back. You can create a version that better serves you and the things you want to achieve in your life.
What meaning do you give to your experiences?
If you've watched my TEDx talk you would already have heard me say that 100 people could stand side-by-side and have the exact same experience and create 100 different versions of what happened, how it made them feel, and the meaning they would carry into their lives from it. So from that we can deduce that none of the interpretations are 'real' but just another version. Through our own individual filters we give our experiences meaning.
I work every day with people who would like things to be different - people who perhaps are already high achievers, but who suspect more is possible for them and in what they can create.
So what holds individuals back from greater success, better relationships or living a more fulfilled and purposeful life?
A really compelling drama!
You know when you read a really good book that you just can't put down? You get really familiar with the characters and even if you don't agree with everything that's being written, it can still be a very good read. It can still hook you in. Sometimes you might even read a compelling book with some really disturbing scenes in it. And you continue to read. You are drawn in. It's almost like actually being there.
Your life is the same.
What if you became aware that by seeing the story differently you could have a better experience of life? Most people hold on to the things that have happened to them as 'truth' but luckily the past is over. Nothing remains of it except what you believe.
So if you were to add a new paragraph or chapter that would make all the difference to how successful you are able to be, to how much more you can enjoy being you, to the relationships you are able to experience differently, what would it say? And how can you let go of the drama that no longer serves you?
Because what we have is today and today can be magical if you write a story to support the magic. Your story belongs to you, so why not? Your future self will certainly thank you for it.
Coach and Cognitive Hypnotherapist, Kirsty Hanly, works with people who want to live an inspired and inspiring life. For more information go to www.InspiringLivesCoaching.com