#5 The Power of Your Personal Narrative
What is the story that you carry with you? How would you describe the chapters of your life to date? What are the events that most define you?*
The story that we tell ourselves, and the one we share with others (perhaps they are different?), shape the life that we live. Story-telling is a form of meaning making. How we interpret past events and our role in them, determines how we see ourselves in the world. It can hold us back in a cycle of negativity or it can propel us forward into the life we want to lead. Is the personal narrative of your past the focus or the foundation of your future?
I have always lived in the story that I’m not a great leader. Sure, I am a master organizer and I can make things happen. However, I’m also a perfectionist and just a little bit controlling, so I’ve never been great at motivating and inspiring others to action … or so I’ve told myself.
When I was recently nominated to take on the President Elect role for the International Coaching Federation (ICF) Colorado Chapter, this was the narrative that surfaced. It fed my fears and self-doubt about my ability to step up into this opportunity and to take on this leadership role.
The thing about stories is that we don’t always recognize that we are in them. It takes the ability to pause, to step back and reflect, for us to objectively determine whether what we are telling ourselves is, in fact, true.
When I allowed myself some distance from my story about my leadership capabilities, I was able to recognize that while I undoubtedly have some development areas, I also bring a unique set of strengths that I can leverage to lead the ICF CO Chapter in 2022. I am not stuck in the story of my leadership so far; I have the power to create the next great chapter of my life.
Lingering Thought: The story of your past doesn’t define you. You are the author of your own story. What is the next chapter that you want to write?
*Understanding your personal narrative is the focus of Session 1 of the Women’s Coaching Circle, an 8-week program for women, that I cofounded with Laura Bennett. The Women’s Coaching Circle helps high-achieving women to discover a deeper sense of self on the journey towards a life with more meaning and fulfilment. Exploring your personal narrative is one of the tools we use to build the foundation for creating the life that you want.
The Spring Cohort of the Women’s Coaching Circle begins April 1. See here for registration details.