Sarah walked into a party of people she didn't know. She was handed a drink and whisked into a lively conversation with several women. The gal across from her asked, "So, what do you do?" Sarah started to respond just as the woman turned her attention to a nearby group that had burst into laughter. The conversation ended.

Sarah was dismissed...again. It wasn't the first time that people didn't listen to her. If she wasn't so uninteresting maybe she could hold somebody's attention for more than half a sentence. She shrunk into herself for the rest of the party and decided to just do what she did best...smile and listen to other people. Looking longingly at the door, she devised a way to get out of there and go home early.

What belief did Sarah have before she went into this unfamiliar social situation? What did her inner belief provide for her that evening? Were there any other ways she could have interpreted the events?

All of us have a narrative we place on our lives. It's the "truth" about what we think is going on, who we are, what someone else is thinking and doing. This narrative guides us in making decisions every day. Many of our narratives aren't really the truth and they can be rewritten.

Sarah thought she was not worth listening to because she had an old tape playing in her head. The tape told her that whenever she would speak for longer than twenty seconds, she would lose the attention of the person listening. It started when her mother would tune her out as a child. Sarah interpreted that she was boring and started shaping her personality around that belief. After all, she didn't want to be boring. She wanted to be engaging.

The truth is that Sarah's mother was self-absorbed and did the same thing to everyone. Since Sarah understood it to be exclusively her own problem, she inhibited herself throughout her life. She just knew that she couldn't hold the attention of anybody. The outcomes of her belief were inhibition, fear, withholding all the good that she could bring into a conversation, while at the same time becoming self-absorbed...like her mother. Anytime somebody got distracted from listening to her, it just reinforced her belief.

What if she rewrote her narrative with a belief that produced a better outcome? What if she could believe that she was interesting and engaging? What if she walked into the party knowing that she could connect, attract, and have a confident disposition? What would open up for Sarah?

What about you? Do you notice any areas in your life where you are reading a script and calling it reality? The funny thing about these narratives is that we often don't realize we're doing it. Here are a few steps to help identify and shift your narrative.

1. Find a trouble spot.
Take an objective step back and look for situations in your life where you
tend to have a negative outcome. Where do you get stuck, angry, shut down,
embarrassed, ashamed, needy? Choose one situation for your focus.

2. Identify the belief.
What is the inner belief that is producing the negative outcome? Get very
specific and clear and name the belief. Naming the belief takes some of the
mystery out of the process. This will help you get to know more about yourself.

3. Explore alternative lenses.
Is there another way that you could view that same story? If you didn’t
believe the usual way, how else could you interpret this situation? How
might someone else interpret this event? Think of at least 2 other options.

Ex. Sarah could believe that she is interesting AND simultaneously believe
that sometimes people get distracted in conversations. She wouldn’t need
to take it personally and could go on and enjoy the party.

4. Choose a better belief.
Which belief would create a more positive outcome for yourself and others?
Imagine playing out the scenario with the various options. Do you see a better
lens? Now, pick one for the next step.

5. Try it on and practice.
After you choose a better belief, let it become part of you. Imagine yourself
going into your chosen scenario with this new belief. What would happen?
How would you feel? What are some possible outcomes? Commit yourself to
practicing the new belief the next time you’re in the situation.

Author's Bio: 

Belinda Lams of Soul Organizer is a Certified Professional Life Coach, Professional Organizer, and speaker. She is passionate about helping people live from clarity and purpose. Belinda is available for coaching services by phone and can be reached at bblams@gmail.com.