The stories we tell ourselves can limit us or enable us.
In any given situation, we’re telling ourselves stories about other people, the situation and ourselves.
In these stories, we can play the victim or we can be the hero.
Victim stories focus on our own pain and challenges and wear us down. Hero stories lift us up and enable us to make the most of the situation and play our best moves.
In the book Be the Hero: Three Powerful Ways to Overcome Challenges in Work and Life, Noah Blumenthal writes about 3 types of stories and how to change our stories to improve our results.
People Stories, Situation Stories, and Self-Stories
The following table summarizes the 3 stories, according to Blumenthal, and the victim and hero perspectives for each:
|Other people||Victims tell stories that focus on their own pain and tell stories that blame others.||Ask, "what would the hero see?" to build empathy and connect with other people’s challenges.|
|Your Situation||Victims tell stories that focus on the worst in their lives.||Ask, "what would the hero see?" to build gratitude and connect you with what is positive in your life.|
|Yourself||Victims tell stories where they can’t change themselves or the world around them.||Ask, "what would the hero do?", to build hope and discover what actions you can take.|
Improve Your Effectiveness Through Stories
You can shift from victim stories to hero stories by asking, “what would the hero see?” or “what would the hero do? “ As simple as this sounds, it combines multiple key skills:
- Mastering your stories. (This helps you avoid fight-or-flight mode and improves your emotional intelligence.)
- Changing focus. (Asking yourself questions changes your focus and puts you in a more resourceful state.
- Finding the positive. (You adopt a positive mindset vs. learned helplessness.)
- Distinguishing between you, the situation, and other people.
- Empathic listening. (This is the # 1 communication skill according to Stephen Covey.)
- Changing mindsets. (This is a simple way to change state without knowing NLP.)
- Reframing (This is a simple way to turn your problems into challenges and opportunities.)
By telling yourself better stories, you can be the hero, one story at a time, one moment at a time, one day at a time.
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