Something I have been playing with the last few months is this idea of 'My Story.'
What is 'My Story?" The narrative that accompanies my experience.
Usually, my stories are what I was taught by my parents (based on what they were taught by theirs), the culture within in which I was raised, the education and schooling I received, the lessons I have learned living my life, oh! and my experiential memories - these are the stories I tell myself.
How real are these stories? Are they fact? Opinion? Open to interpretation? Are they the cause of my stress and struggle or the source of my inspiration? Is my story the thing that holds me back or the drive that pushes me forward?
What changes if I tell myself a new story? How long do I have to repeat that story before I believe it?
Photo: Cris DeNoto
A very simple, but life changing story for me was, "I am a Night Owl." I prefer to work late into the evening, staying up well past midnight to seek inspiration and create. I am an extrovert (another story), so I need people around me to fuel my ideas and ambitions. And this lifestyle has not only suited me, it is the way I am hardwired (story #3).
Over the last 18 months, I sought out another advanced coaching certification. I applied myself to additional, intensive learnings for my investments, including trades, property, and management. I committed to several personal development goals. I operate my own business and am partnered in 3 more, with various job roles and deliverables. And there just wasn't enough hours in the day. I found myself overwhelmed, short tempered, and scattered.
I heard that many Successful People wake uncomfortably early in the morning. Some of the most successful people wake well before dawn! Kundalini practitioners start somewhere in-between 4-5am. This story seemed to suggest, People I admire are Morning People.
What if instead of staying up until the wee hours of the morning, I woke up that early? What might change? What story would I need to tell myself ?
I am not going to lie, this experiment took about a year to test. I didn’t hit my target wake time, often. I berated myself. It was a real struggle, at first.
6 months into it, I could tell my sleep cycle had adjusted, but my mentality had not, I “hated waking up early.” And no wonder it was still a stressor because I kept telling myself the same story.
Finally I understood, I needed to change my story. At the beginning of October I started telling myself, “I wake up early,” and I started telling everyone else that too. I love what I do to earn money, I love my life, and I plan today for a kick-ass tomorrow. I am excited for the day and I can’t wait to tackle the big stuff and get into my flow. SO WTF was I doing saying otherwise?!?
Every morning, before I opened my eyes, I would tell myself my new story. “YES, today is going to be awesome.” I would ponder 1-3 impactful tasks I’d like to complete that day, and I would think about when I would get my workout in, and what I might cook for dinner. This level of cognition woke me up.
I repeated that every day for a few weeks, and now I wake up BEFORE my alarm. I am 1,000 x more productive, but the best part is, everyday is cruisy. I experience a fraction of the stress or struggle I previously accepted. I had NO idea how much waking up early would effect me.
The real take-away is my hour-to-hour schedule is flexible because I finally have freedom, and I trust everything will get done. There is zero stress or struggle. I love that spontaneity the extra 3-4 hours in my day provides me. I find myself writing, or meditating, or making money before most people are awake. I have room to fit it all in … every damn day.
What stories do you tell yourself about who you are, or how you live your life? What might change if you updated your narrative?
What if you could rewrite your past to create a better future, right now? What story would you pick first? What might this story sound like with your wise, insightful, and compassionate insight gained since you first wrote that story?