Growing up, the two best days of the year were the last day of school and the first day of school. It’s always felt as though September – with classes starting, people getting back down to business, the change in the leaves, air and light – was a fresh start, akin to New Year’s Day. I used to practice my handwriting in my new notebooks, trying to decide who I was going to be that school year. Fat bubbly cursive? Properly slanting right? No-nonsense print? A rebellious slant to the left? I saw the new notebook and school year as a clean slate to reinvent myself, to tell a new story about who I was. As a 10-year-old, changing my story was as easy as changing my handwriting.
As adults, we know it’s not quite so easy. We have ingrained beliefs and assumptions about ourselves and others that constitute our “old” story. We define ourselves based on past experiences, regrets and wins. Sometimes that old story holds us in shackles, not allowing us to embrace the opportunities of the present moment, or reach towards a “new” story of the future.
Without necessarily naming it as such, someone who works with a coach is often seeking to rewrite their personal story. The turning-point thought? “I can’t keep doing the same things I’ve been doing,” or realizing their life has too much “shoulda, woulda, coulda” in it.
Creating a new story doesn’t involve disowning the past or taking an inventory of regrets or missed opportunities. It involves acknowledging that your past informs (not defines) who you are today. The new story that emerges answers “what is possible for me now? What core values and beliefs will move me forward?”
Everyday is full of the same possibility as the first day of school. What story do you choose to tell yourself today?
What are some of the main themes from your old story? What role do money, relationships, time, energy, work, parents, children, legacy, faith and health play? What’s the new story you want to write? What truth do you want to live and expand into?