The Big Idea
Regret builds resilience.
Questions I Answer
- How can I move on from my past mistakes?
- Why do I always feel like I’m failing?
- What can I do to make a big change in my life?
- How do I get rid of my limiting beliefs
Actions to Take
- Try telling your story out loud. Pay attention to the words you’re using and the way that you’re talking to yourself about yourself. Start to try to identify the false truth, the lies that you’ve been infusing into your own story. You’ll be able to see where you could start your revision.
Key Topics in the Show
Owning the titles that you claim
Recognizing that you’re more than the story you tell yourself
Aligning your narrative with a positive lens
Leaving room for growth by not building your narrative on a single story
Stepping out of our comfort zone and away from the negative stories you’ve been telling yourself
Resources and Links
- Related Episodes: 160: How to Discover Your Superpowers
This is Productivity Paradox with Tanya Dalton, a podcast focused on using productivity not just to do more but to achieve what’s truly important to you, and this season is all about you, You 2.0. To learn more about yourself, take Tanya’s
free quiz and discover your own productivity style at Tanyadalton.com.
And now get ready. Here’s your host, Tanya Dalton.
Hello, hello, everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox, I’m your host, Tanya Dalton, and this is episode 162. Here’s what I want to start today’s episode with. I have a question for you. Are you letting the stories that you’ve been telling yourself hold you back from pursuing your goals or other aspirations in life? Because I think for so many people the answer there is yes. So in this episode, episode 162 of this season of You 2.0, 1 really want to dive into the stories we’re telling ourselves about ourselves. You see, the stories we tell about ourselves are not always something we think about when it comes to making these small adjustments in life that are going to help us meet our goals, but it’s really important that we stop and take notice of them. After all, what we tell ourselves is what we believe, and what we believe is what we receive. Our belief becomes our reality.
Now, I know you might be saying to yourself, “Oh, that’s some woo-WOO BS.” | know, it feels touchy-feely, but it is absolutely true. What we believe is what we receive. They are directly unequivocally connected, so much so that researchers from Yale University have studied this. They followed a group of adults for two decades to uncover the secrets of a long life. And guess what? They uncovered that people who had a positive view of aging in mid life lived an average of 7.6 years longer than those who had a negative view, which to me is a pretty big difference. I mean, that’s almost like being given a whole decade longer to live simply for giving yourself the grace to seek out the positives in life, right?
One of the big takeaways from this study is that if you don’t think that your life is going to get any better, it likely won’t. If you don’t think that anything will ever work out, that you won’t ever reach your goals or see your big dreams through for whatever reason, based off whatever story it is that you’re telling yourself, then you probably won’t. Meanwhile, the person next to you who believes that life is what we make it and that we have the power to change the direction of our sales, that person, that person will likely lead a longer, more fulfilling life. There are multitudes of studies out there that prove the life-changing magic of a positive, productive story. So that’s what I want for you. I want you to have this positive, productive story that you are telling yourself.
So my question for you today is this: Are you going to earn that promotion that you’ve been vying for? Are you going to become the big business mogul you’ve always dreamed of being? Will you make it through the rough season you find yourself in right now? Well, the single biggest predictor for all of these events is not
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the facts of your situation right now but the story, the narrative you tell yourself, That’s why I want to focus in today on changing your narrative.
You see, the problem with our culture right now is it is chock-full of rotten storytelling, and I’ve heard my fair share of them. I had a woman in my liveWELL Method Course who dreamed of one day selling her artwork, but she struggled with
identifying herself as an artist because she told herself this story that she didn’t have enough experience or that she wasn’t getting paid enough to justify that title, and that needed to stop. She had to stop infusing self-doubt into her storyline that would continue to throw her off course every time she decided to set a goal that would help her get her work out into the world. So changing the way she looked at herself made a huge difference in her attitude, in her self-talk, and ultimately in achieving the goal of selling her work for a living.
Now, I guarantee you’ve heard stories like this. You’ve heard these narratives. Maybe your best friend who’s a gifted poet with dreams of one day publishing her work but hesitates to move forward on that dream simply because she has trouble calling herself a writer. She might say something like, “Well, I don’t write full-time for a living so I can’t possibly call myself an author.” We all know an author is someone who writes, don’t we? They don’t necessarily need to have their work published to sky rocket to the bestsellers list to earn that title. The only difference between the woman who dreams of being a writer and your favorite writer is that at one point along the way that favorite author of yours decided to stop allowing fear and self-doubt to creep into their narrative and to start calling themselves a writer instead.
Tremember for myself that when I added the title of author to my own list of roles, it did feel a little bit like imposter syndrome. Even though I had a published book, it still felt that way. I questioned it for a few minutes with my finger hovering over that submit key because it felt like maybe it’s not real. But now lown it, not only author but bestselling author at that.
And here’s the thing, I might not have become a bestselling author if I truly didn’t believe in myself. And let me tell you this, when I got to add that extra bestselling part to my title, that was a day worth celebrating. We want to own our identity. Let’s own who we are. And part of that is remembering those stories we tell ourselves. Because remember, what we tell ourselves is what we believe. Your story, your narrative begins and ends with you and no one else.
But I get it. Sometimes we hold fast to these facts and our grip is on them so tightly that we find it hard to loosen that hold. And some of these facts are joyful, but oftentimes a lot of these facts are pretty tragic. So we might look at the times that we felt neglected, or abused, or taken advantage of in some way, and we weave these truths into a story that is somehow less true or embellished in some way, that we’re not worthy, that we aren’t really capable. We get stuck on the tragedy, the bad stuff, and we gloss over the triumph, how we overcame, how we survived, that we are stronger than that which holds us down. And as a result, we become nothing but the negative narrative, even though it’s damaging, even when we know deep down, deep inside it’s not the story we want to keep up with.
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Often, the stories that we tell omit how brave we’ve been or how resourceful we’ve become. They ignore how funny we are or how wise we are now because of these things. Our stories too often neglect the healing, and the growth, and all that we have gone through and experienced that makes life truly worth living and enjoying, We let the very real tragedies or setbacks we endure in our lives continue to traumatize and remain stumbling blocks that prevent us from moving forward on our goals and our big dreams long after their shadow has passed. And we’ve got to let that go. Because here’s the thing, we are more than the stories. We are more than the narrative that we spin in our heads. And what’s more than that is rarely do we think of the power to hold ourselves as the authors of our own lives. We have the ability to write our own stories and to create our own destinies.
We feel that these events occur through one lens, but the truth is we can view life through an infinite number of angles. What are the other more positive angles to your narrative? How might you align your story to parallel to those more closely? Just like a photographer would look at a scene through their lens and imagine endless stories she could tell with that single shot, there are endless angles that we can take to look at the story of our own lives. We can force the perspective of our life story just like a photographer can force a specific perspective on an image that she snaps. The difference is that artists are intentionally forcing that perspective. But in our lives, the perspective is forced somewhat involuntarily.
There are ways to be more mindful and to be more intentional about your story and to force a chosen perspective instead, just like that photographer. If we focus in on our story and we begin to see it from fresh angles, we can find new, more positive ways to tell it, and we can find new, more flexible ways of defining ourselves through that personal narrative. We can change our narrative around for the better. We have that ability. You see, when our life feels out of control, we can take back control by rewriting the story, by giving our narrative a new positive spin or even a brand new voice all together that is more closely aligned with the ideal self that we’re always dreaming about. You can do that. You have that ability.
So how exactly do we change our narrative? How do we rewrite our story? Well, part of the trouble that we often run into when we’re think changes to our own story is that the further we are into the story that we’re spinning, the less likely we are to want to write it, no matter how good or how bad it really is. We’re creatures of comfort, right? So when our focus is drawn to making changes in our own story where we are the single author and we have the power to refuse or accept changes as it unfolds, we have to remember that.
That word power is really important here. We have the power to refuse or accept changes as it unfolds. We do have that power. We get to choose how we perceive events in a way that best suits us and that leaves the narrative intact as much as possible. Bullied as a kid in school? We get to choose why that happened or the story that we tell ourselves about why that happened. Got laid off? We can decide the reason why. Got a promotion? We get to decide the reason for that, too. It’s not just on the bad things. It’s also on the good things based off of our own perspective of how and why the promotion came to be or the layoff came to be.
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The same rings true for the moments when our personal narrative is, well, pretty bad. We all have those moments. We fall into this mindset that we need to stick to the story no matter what. Stories are how we’ve come to construct our identity, and we are terrified to lose track of who we are. But here’s the thing. When we build our own identity on a single story that never changes, it becomes a once and
for all discovery. We leave no room for surprises, no room for growth. And even worse, we often allow that narrative to embellish certain failures or bad experiences in
our life and run wild with them while blocking out all of the good. You know what I’m talking about here, right? This is where we get the stories that we spin so terribly wrong.
You see, one big problem with the personal narrative playing in our heads is that it’s already edited. Just think of all the things that have gone wrong in your life. Chances are your personal narrative already includes quite a bit of those scenes, right? And even more likely is that each one of them stretches the truth a little bit. It leans harder into your failures. It leans more into you not doing the right thing. It’s one of those common habits that we all share because it’s so easy to believe that we will never find success. After all, stepping out of our comfort zone means stepping away from the same old stories that we tell ourselves.
I want to repeat that because I think it’s really important. Stepping out of our comfort zone, which you know means growth, right? That means we have to step away from those stories we’ve been telling ourselves even though this is the story we’ve been telling ourselves time and time again as creatures of habit. And I know this might feel difficult to do, but that is the first step. Because here’s the thing, growth,
the achievement of the dream life we’ve always wanted, it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s not. And these goals definitely won’t happen if we don’t challenge ourselves to move beyond our comfort zone away from those same old stories we’ve been telling ourselves time and time again about why things will never work out or why the future we want is impossible.
So then, what if, what if, we reedit the narrative, the one that we’ve been following for so long so it no longer feels like something that holds us back or feels impossible to let go of? Rather than viewing yourself as one story with one plot line that arrives at one possible ending, I want to encourage you to take a step back and recognize that as the author of your own story you do have the power to make small changes along the way. You have the power to alter the script to match the ideal ending you really desire.
Don’t believe me? Try focusing your attention not on the story but on the idea of you instead. Would you rather be one single predictable story or would you rather be your greatest creation, an idea waiting to happen? Take a look at the hard facts of your story and allow yourself to express appreciation for all that you’ve endured.
Now, here’s the truth. You may not feel grateful, I get that. There are definitely events in my own life that I am not grateful for, but I can appreciate because I know that they molded me and formed me into who I am today. I appreciate that, that part, but I may not be grateful. I may never be grateful for it. So focus on the appreciation
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for what those things did for you. Let go of what they did to you. That’s the only way to appreciate them. Give yourself credit for overcoming setbacks, for overcoming challenges or failures. Remind yourself that everything you have been through has made you the strong, capable person that you are today.
We’ve all heard there’s two sides to every story, right? So let’s try telling yours from a different perspective because maybe you think of yourself as a villain and some of the events or as a victim in others. I want you to try to view these events with fresh, new eyes. What does your story say when your perspective shifts? Rewrite your story from the perspective that empowers you most and that breathes motivation and inspiration into you as you think about your future. This will be key to changing and sticking to a new narrative that leaves you feeling in control.
So, you could journal and start to write down your story. Examine it as you go along. If someday you find yourself reverting back to that old narrative, and that can happen because old narratives are old habits, they’re easy to fall back into, then think to yourself, how might I change course? Let’s look for places to turn that negativity on its head.
Another great idea is to look at your narrative as the mean little voice in your head that you can shift away from, the one that says, “Who do you think you are?” We all have that voice in our head, the one that doesn’t cheer us on, the one that does not encourage us but says, “You are smaller. You are not worthy. Who do you think you are?” So to do that, to shift away from this voice, it’s important that you be compassionate with yourself and detach with the false truth that often sees that negativity that we infuse into our stories. Rewrite a new narrative that has your ideal future self in mind and paints that future in a positive light.
I know it might feel silly at first, but try telling your story out loud. This could happen easily when you’re alone getting ready in the morning, or on your drive to work, or in your office, or at home. But let that story out. Throw open the windows and let the light in on it so you can really examine it and change it. And I want you to pay attention to the words you’re using and the way that you’re talking to yourself about yourself. Then you can really start to try to identify the false truth, the lies that you’ve been infusing into your own story. You’ll be able to see where you could start your revision.
You see, sometimes our personal narrative causes us to settle for life beneath our highest potential. I know this myself. It’s funny. Well, maybe not funny but interesting. Because if you read my book, you know that I share a deeply personal tragedy in the conclusion. I felt that this event was really important to include in the book and to share because I think it highlights that it’s really easy to look at someone
and think that they’ve got it all together or that life has been easy for them. But we all have these narratives. We all have these stories. We all have these things in our past that have the ability to hold us back. So I knew I wanted to include it. Okay, actually, 1 knew I needed to include it because my first reaction was to hide it away like I had been doing for all those years before.
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When I did write it, it brought light to my darkness, and I probably rewrote that single chapter about 30 times. And when I finally felt okay about it, I gave it to my team to read, my team who had no idea that that story even existed. And when they read over the pages, they lovingly pointed out the words I’d written of my own moments of false narrative where I took way too much blame for the events that were
out of my control, where I was still seemingly accepting the blame. I love that my team did that for me. And they were right.
So I took that perspective and I wrote it again. And truth be told, I rewrote it probably at least 10 or 15 more times. But the story that finally emerged in the book that’s in the final copy of the book, that’s the one where I could set it free, and I cannot tell you how good that felt. It felt like I released a weight from my shoulders 1 didn’t even know I was carrying. It was so freeing to allow that story to go away to release it. So let your stories free. Release the burden that they hold on you.
I want you to think about this. How might your personal narrative change if you spoon more of your strengths into your story, if you focused instead of on the failures on the challenges, on the things that were hard, instead if you spooned some of those strengths in there? Remember, we just talked about superpowers about two weeks ago in episode 160. I want you to really employ a powerful re-emerging technique called control mastery. I can guarantee there are more positive, credible things for you to notice as evidence of all the strength and all the potential that you have, even in the most difficult moments of your story. And that will help you cut away to what no longer serves you in your personal narrative.
Pour in more compassion into your view. Do it with vision. Let the idea of You 2.0 be your guide. And if along the way you fall prey to some negative self-talk, be compassionate in that space. It’s going to happen. We all have this negative self-talk in our minds. Then I want you to give yourself permission to completely cut it away from the narrative. You see, editing is the key to writing the history of your future, editing it down. And remember, stop viewing yourself as an unchangeable story, as some unchangeable being and begin to think of yourself as an idea instead. What does your ideal you have to say? Use that vision in your mind as motivation to continue to take small steps to change your mindset. And the more you practice embracing this positivity and looking for those silver linings in life, the easier this mindset becomes. Results come with consistency. Yes, there’s going to be days that
you find those familiar self-depreciating thoughts creep back into your story, but they’re going to be easier to recognize and shift away from the more you keep that ideal vision of your future self in mind.
What I want you to walk away from this episode remembering is this: How we identify, how we tell our own story becomes our truth. Let’s make a truth for you that fits who you really are and who you are capable of becoming. I want to encourage you to write your own stories. Don’t allow others that power over you. Don’t allow the events to be the authors. You are the one who has the power to be able to write those narratives for yourself. I hope today’s episode has really encouraged you to pick up that pen, whether it’s in your head or actually a physical pen, and write your story. Take control over who you are and who you want to become.
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Now, if you’re looking for support in writing your own narrative or talking these things through, I really do want to encourage you to join my free Facebook group. It’s a great place to come and have these conversations. These are the types of things we lean into and we discuss as a group together so we can support and encourage each other. Because these things, these shifts, these little tweaks we’re making, we’re saying they’re little, but they can be hard to do, especially if you’re feeling like you’re on your own or you don’t have anyone to lean on to talk about these things. Head on into that group because I can promise you you’re going to find the support you need. Just go to Tanyadalton.com/group, and all the information is there. All right?
Now, next week, we are going to be continuing our season on You 2.0, and we’re going to stop apologizing. That’s all I’m going to say about next week’s episode, but it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m excited about it because I’m ready for you to stop saying I’m sorry for things you don’t need to apologize for. All right. Until next time, have a beautiful and productive week.
Thanks for listening to Productivity Paradox. Want to learn more about your own productivity style? Simply go to Tanyadalton.com to take her free quiz and get free
resources designed just for you.
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