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Change Your Story, Change Your Life

Written by: Anthony Leake, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Change your story, change your life

What if it were true, that the way that you're feeling right now is not down to what's happening in your life?

What if it were true, that the way that you're feeling right now is down to the stories that you tell yourself about what's happening in your life?

What if it were also true, that the ending of those stories has not yet been written, that you are the author, and you can change the ending, anytime that you want to.

If all these things are true, what stories would you be telling yourself right now?

Amy’s story

Amy was telling me about her work life. She had lost her confidence and as a result, she often made mistakes. The more mistakes she made, the more her confidence was deflated.

She told me that she’d already been passed over for a promotion that she had wanted. That there were several new people in the company who were all doing great. Hotshots she called them. She told me that the future wasn’t looking good for her.

She worried that if her performance didn’t improve then it was only a matter of time before she was put on a disciplinary and probably ultimately fired. She told me how difficult it would be for her to get another job. At 48 years old she wasn’t exactly a spring chicken and after getting fired from one company for the poor performance she would take a chance on herself.

As she talked, I watched her shoulders slump more and more. I watched as her brow became more worried. She started to look at the ground. I noticed a slight tremor in her voice. It was like watching a person implode on themselves. I swear she looked like she was getting smaller.

Interrupting the story

I needed to interrupt this path that she was taking herself down. I stood up, waved my hands in the air, and shouted “STOP.”

That got her attention.

This was not her truth. This was the story that she was telling herself and she was making herself feel bad with each word that came out of her mouth.

A different story

With a bit of coaching, she changed the story. The story became about a woman who had lost her confidence. A woman who was going through a tough time and life was not how she had always dreamed it would be.

Then she changed the ending. The new story was about a woman who found an inner strength that she didn’t know was there before. A woman who refused to lie down and give in. A woman who reinvented herself into the person she had always believed she would be. It was a story about a brighter future. A story with a better ending.

As she told this story, Amy became a little brighter. She was looking up not looking down. Her shoulders went back a little. She began to feel more confident, and her words became more positive.

In short, she began to feel better about herself.

Is that how it ends? Did helping Amy to change the ending of the story give her the big fairy tale ending, the one where she lived happily ever after.

Of course not. She had been telling herself similar stories for many years and would likely fall back into the same patterns again unless she made a conscious effort to change the dialogue.

Going forward

We worked together for a while. Every time she told me a story I refused to buy into it and instead invited her to create a better ending. Over a fairly short period of time, she regained her confidence. She began to feel more optimistic. She stopped making silly mistakes and the more she began to enjoy her work again the more her performance increased.

She hasn’t yet gotten that promotion that she was wanting but now she feels confident that it’s just a matter of time.

What’s your story?

The past is gone, and the future is unknowable.

If you find yourself creating a narrative that is negatively impacting the way that you feel, just begin by noticing when you're doing it. When you have noticed it, just say STOP. This is not my story.

You are the author of your life, and you can choose the ending.

Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Anthony Leake, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Tony Leake became an expert in overcoming anxiety after he had to give up a successful career due to severe anxiety and debilitating panic attacks. He has since spent the last decade helping others to overcome anxiety. While he is very well qualified (certified as a Clinical Hypnotherapist and a Master Practitioner of NLP amongst others) he doesn't believe that tools and techniques are the answer. He often says that "overcoming anxiety is as much of a mindset as a skillset," and that to overcome anxiety we need to change the way that we think about it. Working with individuals from every walk of life, teachers, doctors and multi-millionaires has taught him that anxiety doesn't discriminate and everybody is just as likely to be affected. He currently consults for some of the largest companies in the UK. His message: anxiety robs people of their quality of life and it's not necessary to live like that.



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