How to Rewrite the Stories of Your Life

Have you ever told a story about yourself that was disempowering? And then you changed the story and now you feel empowered in the same situation?

If so, you have activated what I like to call your “Inner Storyteller” to work FOR you instead of against you. If you did it once, you can do it again. Think of a recent experience where you felt challenged or unresolved. It could be:

  1. Taking action on an important priority
  2. Resolving a disagreement
  3. Losing weight
  4. Lowering your debt
  5. Giving a presentation

For example, I considered myself a “technically challenged” person.  That was my story about myself. When I was a kid, my dad said that girls weren’t good at technical things. I totally bought into that story and left all the technical things  to him. Fast forward to being an adult, I’m living away from home.  My computer is giving me error messages.   I cannot continue my work until my tech geek friend comes to the rescue.

Then one day, my tech geek friend moves away to another city. I am on a deadline to get a project finished, and I am getting another error message. At that point, I either need to find someone else, miss my deadline or change my story about myself. I ask myself, “what would a tech geek do in my situation?” Then a transforming idea comes to mind. I type the error message into Google and discover a forum that explains how to fix the problem.   I try it and it works.

After that, I relied on my own ingenuity more and more. Now I consider myself a bit of a “tech geek” and people come to ME for help!


Here’s the Exercise

You might have a mean-spirited Inner Storyteller seated in the back of your mind, dictating  stories that leave you feeling negative in some way.  It happens to almost everyone.

For example, imagine you give a presentation one day and it doesn’t go so well. Nothing too serious, it just didn’t seem to “land” with your listeners.  Your Inner Storyteller starts interpreting the event.

  • You’re bad at giving presentations.
  • You went on WAY too long about those statistics.
  • Those people are just idiots.

There’s a campy TV show called “Once Upon a Time”.  It features fairytale characters from well-known stories who all end up living in a small town together in Maine called “Storybrooke”. At one point in the series, the characters discover that there is a Storyteller dictating their lives. At first they seek out that Storyteller to get him to rewrite the story in their favour. And then they realize they could just get ahold of the “quill” and rewrite the story themselves.


You can do the same

Imagine you could get the quill from the Inner Storyteller and rewrite the story of your presentation experience.  This first requires changing the perspective through which you interpret the event.

For example, instead of looking at the event through the lens of “What went WRONG?”  you could look through the lens of “What went RIGHT?” If so, it might go something like this:

  • It went better than last time.
  • You remembered everything you wanted to say.
  • You finished the presentation on time.

Alternatively, you could look through the lens of “What could I learn from this?” and speak from the first person:

  • Next time I will rehearse more.
  • I could add some examples to those statistics.
  • I could find out the goals of my listeners and make sure I address those better next time.

Now you might have a different story about your presentation. It could be “that was a good learning experience”  instead of “that was a failure”.

Of course, this is common wisdom that you may have heard many times over. BUT, it’s one thing to know it intellectually, and it’s another thing to apply it practically to your everyday life.


Action Item

I challenge you to try this activity right now.  It takes one minute. Pick an area of your life where you are seeing it from a negative perspective. Ask yourself “What went right?” “What could I learn?” and write out your answers in a short story form. This doesn’t mean you ignore problems, but you stop dwelling on them. You simply learn from them and move on.

If you do this enough, you will train your Inner Storyteller to work FOR you instead of against you. Enjoy!

Let me know if you try it and what happened.


If you’d like to learn more of these kinds of tools check out The Mind Story Program: