Story telling is an art and something valued in society, as it creates connection, its memorable, its predictable to the listener as it has a beginning middle and end. However there are stories that we tell ourselves and others which are highly damaging. They right what we see as wrong in the world and stop us learning from the situation.
For many years I told a story about why I left the entrepreneurial world of start up to goto corporate. The story is I wanted to see how big companies worked. That is true but another story I tell is how I failed to influence the CTO and CEO of the global business to take a more pragmatic approach to a technology sunset challenge. A story I told for many years: This was to validate to me that the decision that was made that led to the business having to be sold, was not of my making. That story blocked me from understanding my own failing which is to tell and not ask questions, a much more powerful to influence.
I was in a leadership workshop and Lisa Vos the facilitator from Bendelta asked us to respond to how we felt about a workshop we had completed. She was listening for I feel XXXX. She explicitly asked for us not to tell stories, as this allows us to justify our response and she was not interested in that. I pondered on her request and then observed the groups responses, as soon as someone started with a story I could hear the difference. This was a profound moment as I like to tell stories all the time and realise that we cannot be vulnerable whilst we are in self justification mode of story telling.
What stories do you tell yourself to make you feel better about a situation?
How long have you been telling them to yourself and others?
What is the real reflection from the situation?
What are you going to say you learnt from the situation?
When you next feel something say I feel instead of telling a story that justifies your behaviour.