"Choose to create a better story"
We all tell stories – to ourselves and to others. The stories I am talking about here are those stories that define us, that mold our personality, determine our behaviour, our reaction or response to something or someone. If we are able to reflect on the stories we tell, we would be able to gain a better understanding of why our life is what it is today.
Our stories are made up of defining moments that happen throughout our lives. The ability to sit down and listen to our own stories will help us to explore whether they are serving us in a positive or limiting way.
Let me share one of my personal stories that I thought about this morning. I always wanted to work with nature and I was fortunate to be able to follow this dream most of my life. Many years ago, one of my lecturers looked at us girls in the hall and told us that the only way we would ever be able to work in nature conservation was to become involved in environmental education (in those days, women becoming game rangers was a big “no-no” – how could we be expected to carry a rifle let alone shoot one???) Anyway, to cut a long story short, wherever I worked in the environmental field, it was in environmental education. Here's one defining moment that had an impact on me and the field of work I would end up in when I left college.
Going into the environmental education field made me realised that I enjoyed teaching children. Many years later I began to consider pursuing a teacher’s diploma so I could go into teaching. I was 42 years old when I announced to my ex-husband and my daughter that I would like to explore the possibility of training as a teacher. My daughter supported me wholeheartedly and was very excited that I was going to study and do something worthwhile with my life. My ex-husband went quiet. The next evening, at the dinner table, my ex-husband spoke. He felt that I would be making a fool of myself if I decided to pursue teaching. He firmly told me that my hearing disability and bad eyesight would be a hindrance in the classroom and that the learners would make a fool of me. He told that they would laugh at me and that I would battle to gain any discipline or respect from the learners. It didn’t take him long to make me feel that perhaps he was right, even though, deep down, my gut instinct was screaming, “No, No don’t listen to him”.
Why am I telling this story? This was a very defining moment in my life – I stopped, there and then, dreaming about becoming a teacher. I pictured myself making a fool of myself in the classroom. I convinced myself that I would be more of a hindrance than a good teacher. I even felt ashamed that I had the audacity to believe that I could possibly become a teacher! I believed this story. While, all the time, deep, deep down my soul was fighting hard to tell me that this was all hogwash, that it was a story I need not hold onto. However, I did carry this story with me for a few years more, not really believing it was true and yet not having faith in myself to defy it. This was a very limiting story for me and it took me 5 years to shatter it and to choose to create a better story for myself.
What made a better story for me? I realised I was worthy of being whoever I wanted to be. I realised I deserved to be in a relationship that cultivated self-respect, self-love and self-awareness. I am learning to have faith in my intuition. I allowed myself to reflect back on all the times I did battle with my disabilities but always came through with flying colours (reminds me of a sign I saw outside a special needs school ' "Don't dis - my- ability!"). It was not something to be ashamed of or to be held back by. Through the gentle guidance of my shaman teacher, my partner and my daughter (and listening to my intuition), I explored how I could help others believe in themselves and learning, all the time, how to have faith in myself again. Today I am proud to say that I am a certified New Insights life coach. I may not be standing up in front of a classroom teaching. However, through understanding the impact of my limiting story, my path changed and I am now able to reach people of all ages, helping them to discover their own amazing personal confidence. What could be more gratifying?
Think back on all your defining moments – what impact did they have on you? How did they change your life-path? What changes did they set in motion? The impacts of your defining moments create your stories – do you like your stories? Would you like to change them? What would make a better story? Go on – do it. Choose to create a better story for yourself.