We often tell ourselves stories that shape the way we think and lead. For better or worse, they inform our decisions and behavior, shaping what we notice and how we interpret it. You might think, for instance, “Everything is always a battle around here.” This will make you more likely to expect hostility, and be primed to attack or defend.
When you notice the stories you tell yourself aren't serving you well, you need to make a shift in order to lead a healthier work life.
To start, try to identify a personal or collective challenge you’re facing. What is the basic story you tell yourself, and others, about it? Your answer will help you better understand what you stand for, and why you act and react the way you do.
Next, consider how that story affects you and your team. Is it constraining or liberating? Your physical state can provide clues; for example, does your stomach tighten up when you enact your story’s behaviors?
Finally, bring the empowering elements of your story forward and let go of those that limit you and your work. When you do, you’ll feel an increased sense of humanity, coherence, and liberation.
Adapted from "To Make a Change at Work, Tell Yourself a Different Story," by Monique Valcour and John McNulty. Artist Credit: KATIE EDWARDS/GETTY IMAGES