As a writer, I feel like my brain is both my biggest asset and my biggest liability. I suspect this is true for most writers.
We are storytellers, and we’re really good at it. And when we’re sitting down to write a work of fiction, we know that we’re writing a story. It may feel like truth to us—and it should. That’s what we do. But on some level, we always know it’s fiction.
Here’s the thing, as we’re going through our days with our families, at work, everywhere, we are also telling ourselves stories. All day long. We’re creating stories in our minds about what’s possible and what’s not possible; how good we are, and how terrible we are. But we often don’t recognize the fact that they are also essentially fiction. There are so many stories constantly swirling around our heads, and we don’t recognize them as fiction that is synonymous with what we do when we sit down to produce a book.
But I submit to you, even if you’re not a writer, that many of the things that you think are fiction. And those thoughts are interfering with the opportunities that we see around us or that we don’t see around us.
So, I’m working on identifying when I’m just telling myself a story. And then consciously choosing to tell a story that serves me better.
We are really good at creating barriers that don’t need to be there.
So much of the work I do as a book launch coach (my day job) is about helping writers create healthier mindsets and get past their mental blocks about finding an audience for their books. There’s so much fear and so many stories that are shackling us to imaginary limitations.
One of the things I’m starting to do is ask writers to start at their preferred end.
(I tweaked this exercise from the amazing life coach, Martha Beck.)
You can try this too, even if you’re not a writer…
So we’re gonna flip to the last page of our story…
It’s five years from now, and you’ve hit it big. Whatever big looks like for you. I want you to close your eyes and really think about waking up and having everything you want. Everything you’ve been dreaming about. What does that look like? How does your day go? Who do you talk to? Where do you live?
Just revel in it. What do you feel like as this future you? What does your body feel like? Does it help you relax? Does it help you not to grasp? Just sit with that for a minute.
The crazy part is that you don’t really want whatever it is you just imagined. You want the feeling state you think it’s going to create.
And you just created that feeling state. And it’s no less real and no more real than the feeling state that’s created when we tell ourselves, “I’m no good. I can’t do it.”
Those two feeling states are both the result of fantasies, right? So if we’re gonna delude ourselves with our own mind stories that are always playing, let’s use our powers for good, okay? Let’s use our storytelling powers to actually lift ourselves up, and create a feeling state that’s going to serve us throughout our day so that we can come from a place of that quiet confidence.
Let’s replace that nagging voice of resistance and shame.
Let’s start recognizing that voice of resistance inside our heads is debilitating and it’s not real.
If we’re gonna be debilitated by something that’s not real, we can make a decision to shift that and say, “All right, I’m going create something else that’s going to help me feel better.”
None of our stories are real, but they have the power to create a feeling of truth inside us. So choose your story carefully.