Yesterday morning I took my daughter, Kaleigh, to school. During the drive, Kaleigh was telling me she wanted to join the girl’s choir, so we were talking about how she could make this happen. During the conversation, Kaleigh became tearful at the idea of approaching the teacher who is in charge of choir, and asking if she could join. Kaleigh’s comment to me was that she was “too shy” to ask. Kaleigh continued to get more upset and tearful as she realized that her belief about being too shy was going to hold her back from achieving her goal of joining choir.

I wanted to help Kaleigh understand that her belief about being too shy was a story she was creating about herself. A story that is not true.

Being an avid reader, I talked to Kaleigh about the difference between fiction and non-fiction books. Kaleigh relayed her understanding that fiction books are not true stories and that non-fiction books are true stories.

Then I asked Kaleigh to tell me if her story about being shy was fiction or non-fiction. We explored this together and found evidence that the “too shy” story was, in fact, fictional. After some more conversation, Kaleigh was able to calm down and go off to school.

This story encourages me to ask the following questions; “what limiting stories do I hold about myself?”, “are these stories fiction or non-fiction?”, “in what ways do I let these stories hold me back from achieving my goals?”, “what self-sabotaging behaviours do I take on when I’m caught up in my stories?”, “if I’m going to let go of the stories, who do I want to BE instead?

I can usually identify my limiting beliefs and self-sabotaging behaviours. I can usually find ways to temporarily reframe these beliefs and I can build in routines or mechanisms to over-come my self-sabotage. The problem is that these changes are usually temporary. The next time I get stressed or feel pressure, I forget the reframes and my new behaviours go by the wayside. So, the key question for me is, “what will create long-term, sustainable change?”.

I think the “who do I want to BE?” question is pivotal. When I am clear about who I want to be, it is easier for me to put behaviours in place that are aligned with who I am. Stress and pressure don’t go away, but I can manage it better when I choose to focus on who I want to be, rather then on my limiting stories about myself.

By focusing on who we want to be, our fictional stories lose their power over us and we can achieve our goals to sing in choirs or build amazing lives and businesses!

So I ask you, “Who do you want to BE today?”

Author's Bio: 

Laura Watson, ACC, MSW is President of Venture Coaching Inc., and was a finalist for the 2010 Canadian Coach of the Year Award. Venture Coaching provides leadership and business coaching programs to entrepreneurs. Venture Coaching provides the tools, process and support for new awareness, new choices and new results.