Much of my time as a coach is building my clients back up. I have had cancer survivors, spouses of cancer survivors, clients who have cared for sick parents and others who have cared for children with special needs. These are people who inspire me, yet when I tell them this, they look at me like I have six heads. They’re not so special, they tell me. Loo at all their failures. When I point out all the amazing things they have accomplished, they say, “Oh you had to say this because you are my coach.” No I don’t and honestly I could not pretend to be inspired even if I tried. These are people who have suffered and survived. They should be strutting around tooting their horn, but instead they are stuck in self-doubt.
My job as a coach is to remind people that there are multiple ways to tell their story. There is no one right way. Our life is complicated and telling our story is complicated. Is the way you tell your story serving you?
When prepping for job interviews, I help my clients write their story. What are you proud of? What have you struggled with and survived? How have you grown as a person. How have your circumstances made you the person you are today? And how does this translate into you being successful in the future? You cannot convince a future employer that you are awesome if you are stuck in a mediocre story. Practice telling your new story until you believe it in your soul.
This is your truth. I am not asking my clients to lie or create something out of nothing. We all have things to be proud of. We have all survived in our own way. But we need to see it and believe it. And, most importantly, we need to tell it–to ourselves and to others.
In the book The Artists Way, Julia Cameron advises her readers to let their fear be their fuel. When writing your story, let your self-doubt fuel you. When you spiral downward by focusing on your perceived failures and your weaknesses, question your assumptions. Imagine I am sitting in front of you. How would I challenge you? What are you minimizing? What are you highlighting? Why are you making those choices and do they serve your future? We all share a fear of failure as well as a fear of success. Use that fear to fuel you.
You get one life. Are you going to be the hero or the villain in your story? You are the hero… trust me. Not because you are perfect or because your life was easy, but precisely because it is not.