(By Steve Frank)
What kind of stories do you tell yourself? Are they supporting you? On what facts…what “truths” are your stories based? Recently, Seth Godin hit the mark with his post, The facts. Toward the end of it Seth says, “Your position on just about everything. . . [is] almost certainly based on the story you tell yourself, not some universal fact from the universal fact database.”
What “facts” have you stored in your fact database? Are the stories you tell yourself based on the facts in your database serving you or are they limiting you?
During a recent coaching session with a client, we were discussing why she wasn’t making the progress she said she wanted on her goals–more specifically, on a new business venture she had started. During the course of our conversation she said, “What’s the point if I may not be here in six months?”
When I asked what she was talking about, she told me that even though it’s been over three years since she successfully battled breast cancer, there’s still the chance that she might not be here in six months. This was a fact she had entered in her “fact database”. I asked her, “What’s the probability, on a scale of 1-10, that you won’t be here in six months?” This took her by surprise and she thought about it before answering, “two”.
I let that sit for about 30 seconds before asking, “So, then, there’s a probability of eight that you will be here in six months?” “WOW”, she said as her shoulders dropped and a smile appeared on her face. And, with that, a fact in her database was being updated. Of course, our mental databases can’t do a global “find/replace”, so she’ll need to manually re-write it every time it pops up, until it’s the “fact” she draws on from her database when she needs a fact to positively support her decisions.
Facts and statistics can be interpreted many ways to support almost any position. So, how can you shift your interpretation of the facts in your database to create stories that support taking action toward your goal(s)? I’d love to know your thoughts on this in the comments below.