The brain is a powerful tool. Did you know that the same parts of your brain used to bring meaning to things you see in the present engages when you imagine your future? Your brain doesn’t immediately recognize the difference between what is real and in front of you and what is yet to come.
Why does this matter?
It matters because our thoughts and internal dialogue with ourselves are as powerful as the reality of what is tangibly taking place. That comes to fruition most completely in the stories we tell ourselves.
If this is not immediately resonating with you, here is a simple way to understand. What is the weather like for you today? If it is a typical winter day, odds are it is dark and dreary in the morning and early evening, likely with some rain or at least a chilly temperature. Unless you are cozy by a fire with a good book, this is not the ideal kind of weather we all prefer. So, we might say to ourselves, “If it were only nice outside, I would be in a better mood.” That is, surprisingly, not too far away from saying, “If the pandemic would just go away, I would be able to concentrate.”
That sounds pretty ridiculous, doesn’t it? We have no control over external forces and if we tie them so much to our internal state of mind (the stories we are telling ourselves), we are giving up any self control or agency of our own. We are sacrificing our own peace of mind and letting the passing winds blow us off course at every turn. This is a root cause of drama in our lives.
As you might imagine, those physical external forces come in the form of other people, too. We might let someone else plant a story in our minds and believe it to be true. That story might be about our performance, or a completely false recounting of an event that took place. But if we let that story become our own truth, we are giving up the power of controlling our own outcomes.
There is immense power in being able to own our stories. We keep that power as long as we prevent external forces of all kinds from breaking into our minds. If you can control your story, you can control your emotions, too. That is one failsafe way to keep drama out of your life.
Are you struggling with drama in your professional life? Do you face overwhelm on a regular basis? Take the Focused Leader Five Day Challenge and in five days, you will be armed with simple action steps you can apply to your life today to own your story and your power.
Submitted by: Dennis McIntee, CEO of Leadership Development Group