The Story I Tell Myself
Story Told: We lost the account because we disagreed with our contact’s viewpoint.
Fact: This contact was new and planned to change cleaning vendors no matter what.
Story Told: I thought everyone at the table understood the agreement.
Fact: Not all parts of the agreement had been previously shared with everyone.
Story Told: The woman sitting beside me in the airplane was obnoxious.
Fact: She was so excited to be flying from Montana’s -21 degrees to Tampa’s +70,
she could not hold back her happy voice.
When I got this last story wrong, I began to see my bad habit of seeing someone or something and coming up with their story, WITHOUT asking or finding out the truth.
Could I be more wrong, ashamed, unhappy?
Here I was jumping to conclusions without the facts and giving my brain a vacation from thinking. Pure laziness on my responsibility of living.
If I stop to consider, and instead of at first glance coming up with the story behind the person, place, or thing, I have to work harder and take more time, possibly ask another for details and descriptions and facts. This is hard work, especially when I am in a hurry or plain too lazy to make an effort.
The worst, though, is I find myself on automatic with storytelling. My difficulty is stopping to notice when I am doing this. Stopping and thinking, curious and open to accepting a different story than I imagined.
This takes bravery. Bravery looks for truth, differences, experiences, and wanting to make a definite change.
Next week, if you notice me moving slower, stop and ask questions more often; this is the new observant me, checking my imagined-made-up story against the real one.
I will never get it right all the time, I will continue to story-create even though I haven’t a clue about the person, but I will get it right sometimes.
Count on it.