Much of our disagreements, misunderstandings and general dissatisfaction with life could be bypassed if we slowed down and used this one amazing tool… made up of two amazing questions. “Do I know this negative story to be 100 percent true?” And, “What do I know that challenges this negative narrative?”
Trust me, this one can change your life and help you see things in a whole new way. Consider it a holiday gift, from me to you.
Nothing stays the same—absolutely nothing. You started off as a baby, helpless, only able to flap your arms and legs in the air. In the beginning you didn’t even know what arms or legs were. No clue that they were attached to the body that your soul landed in. Totally adorable, you were a striver. Wobbling back and forth until you could turn over, then you pushed yourself forward, learning to crawl, then to walk, then to run and skip. By listening as your parents read, you excitedly interjected and wanting to read for yourself, knowing that words had the power to illuminate, to communicate, and to explore. You didn’t stop here, you kept learning and growing. Maybe you took a toaster apart, learned to play a sport or an instrument. As a child, you were on a constant mission to understand more. Curiosity was your friend and you played with it as much as possible. After all, curiosity is one thing that sets us apart from other species on the planet; no other species has been quite so radically curious. The kicker here is for that curiosity to evolve into awareness.
We Are Our Stories
I know I keep saying that everything you say and think is a story, and this is still true. Some stories just come with more information—more data points, if you will—that fill out more angles and facets of the story. It’s the same with all your stories. Yes, they are all made up, but some are made up with a lot more data points, like a diamond that has been cut; the facets still must be shined in order to sparkle, and so it is with your internal stories. And, it’s worth the time you must spend to shine them so you can sparkle. The data points give some stories an edge. They are a little closer to resonating with a bigger idea of reality. Many years ago, I was watching Dr. Daniel Amen on PBS. He asked two questions about our negative beliefs (i.e., stories). I have adapted them a touch. The first question to ask when you notice a story you’re telling yourself is, “Do I know this story to be 100 percent true?” The second question is, “What do I know that challenges the story and broadens my perspective?”
Client Story Shift
Tom was someone who hated his job and had decided he was going to find a new one. This was all well and good, except he had a problem. His internal negative narrative was slowing him down. He would think, “I can do this!” Then he would flip to being plagued by worries about getting another job that paid him at least the same, where he liked the people, could grow, have more fun, etc. The story, in a nutshell, was this, “I hate my job, but I don’t know if I am really good enough at what I do to be valued anywhere else, and at least I have a job.” When we broke it down to its foundation, the negative belief we were left with was, “I am not good enough to be valued.”
Let’s look at how Tom navigated this awesome tool:
- Do you know this belief to be 100 percent true? It might feel true, but let’s get curious. Do you know this story to be 100 percent true? Now 100 percent is absolute, complete truth; do you know it to be true at that level? “No,” Tom would say. “I don’t know it to be 100 percent true. Maybe a little true but not entirely true.”
- What do you know that challenges the negative story that you’re not good enough? “Well,” Tom would say, “I have a job. Regularly I am praised at work. My reviews are good. I’m continually developing and growing my skills and competencies for my job. When training through work happens, I show up. And, I often get training on my own. Truth be told, I am good at what I do. The rub is that I don’t feel appreciated, and I don’t feel like I have any growth potential.”
“Okay, Tom,” I then asked. “Now when you think about looking for a new job, what would be the story with more data points?”
“I am not satisfied with my growth opportunities at work,” Tom said, “and I am looking for a new challenge to develop my craft. I’m skilled and I enjoy learning how to be better at what I do. Also, I want to be appreciated at my job.”
This is a far different story than the original story Tom shared with me. If you were to put yourself in his shoes, how would the shift feel for you? For Tom, the shift was empowering, in fact, it was life-changing. Tom took this new story with him back to his office. He ended up having a conversation with his boss, was moved to a new area in the company, was given a raise, and ended up staying with the company for a few more years. His energy had shifted from the depressed, anxious, energy of not being enough and afraid that people would see his lack of value. He transformed his story by challenging himself to recognize where his story wasn’t working. By seeing his own value and then sharing that truth, both energetically and through all his non-verbal body language, like how his truth shone through his eyes, and people responded accordingly.
What Do You Need To Challenge?
Here is where the rubber meets the road. What stories in your life do you need to start challenging? The negative self-analysis, the made up stories of whatever, the limiting beliefs, where is the place that you stop and ask yourself, “Do I know this story to be 100 percent true?”
This one simple tool can be life-changing.
When I first found it, I used it everywhere. My friend didn’t call me back, “Is she mad at me?” Where did that come from? I learned to challenge all my thoughts. Some were fine, and some were making large leaps over tall buildings and shutting me in a box of fear. Furthermore, the levels of disempowerment had a way of growing outwards and getting its cooties all over my dreams. Honestly, it was exhausting at times, “Really? Self? 100% True? Challenge!!”
Ultimately, it got easier, I wore down my negative narrative. It stopped showing up like Johnny on the Spot. Oh, it’s still around, the difference is I consciously notice it, take the message I need, then nicely ask it to move to the back seat. Then I do the work to move my life forward in the direction of my choosing.
Challenge yourself to use this tool… to think differently. Start your evolution by detaching yourself from the stories you’re telling yourself.
Get curious about “reality.” Don’t just look at the surface. Explore, Examine, and Investigate. Gather your data points and then make choices that take you where you want to go.
I would LOVE to hear from YOU!
- What stories in your life do you need to start challenging?
- How can you play with this one simple tool?