You may not realize it, yet you tell yourself hundreds of stories per day. I don’t mean bedtime stories with princes, princesses, dragons, and castles. I don’t mean stories that you share with others about what happened to you when you were a toddler, in college, or at the mall last week. I am referring to the dozens of stories that you tell yourself everyday to explain why something bad happened or why another person is behaving poorly. These are the stories that solidify your mindset in ways that do not help you raise your visibility in your organization and industry.
Unfortunately, in your organization, situations frequently occur that impact you in a negative way and colleagues often do not do what you expect them to do. To rationalize why these situations or behaviors occur, you create and tell yourself stories to help you explain the inexplicable. You may be telling yourself a story about a less-than-positive interaction you just had with your boss. You are likely getting all “storied-up” to explain why a colleague you just passed in the hallway ignored your greeting of “Hi!” You might remember a recent lunch where a colleague explained her version as to why a significant change in organizational structure was abruptly announced. “Well, if you ask me…” Sound familiar? Where do these stories which you and your colleagues tell yourselves (and sometimes others) come from?
Generally speaking, your stories come from two places – your ego and your inner critic. Your ego exists primarily in the external world and acts like a shield to protect your need for status, self-worth, and contribution. Your inner critic exists in your internal world and works to erode your self-confidence. Watch for parts 2 and 3 of the blog in the coming weeks for more helpful information on ego and inner critic.