Two principles to help make your story great in 2017


What you do in 2017 matters. The year is poised to be a defining one as humanity faces ongoing tough challenges. And the great news is that you get to choose what you do in 2017 – more than you might think!

Sometimes we forget that we are the authors of our own story; that our lives are nothing but an enactment of the stories we tell ourselves.

In this blog, I’ll share with you two principles that we use in our leadership and organisational development work to help participants author a better story for themselves.

My hope is that you use the time over Christmas and New Year to reflect on what you choose to make the focus of your story in 2017, and that some of the ideas shared here encourage your thinking and story making.

Principle #1 : Your life and what happens in it is a reflection of the story you are telling yourself

In our largely materialistic and tangibly focused society, we usually underestimate the power of our own thoughts and imagination. If you can’t imagine something better than what you currently have, then how do you think that you could possibly bring a better future into reality? We are prisoners of our own thinking.

“How can you have your thoughts rather than your thoughts having you?”

By and large we are all on ‘autopilot’. Just replaying the same thoughts that thread together into the same story – day after day. These thoughts and stories have been developing since we were children. They have been reinforced as we seek evidence that reinforces our existing beliefs, unconscious assumptions and thoughts.

What you believe to be true is nothing more than a belief, which is incomplete in nature, and is keeping you in a rut. Maybe a stiffling and boring rut. Maybe just a dull rut.

I don’t like the personality, policies or politics of Donald J Trump (see my previous blog), but there is one great thing we can learn from him. It was first said by Henry Ford “If you think you can or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right”.  Trump’s self-belief in “I can” when many thought “He can’t” is what kept him going and was one of the cornerstones of his succesful campaign. He created his own story!

Over Christmas and New Year, why not see if you imagine a new story for yourself and throw aside the immediate response of your inner voice that says “you couldn’t possibly” or “that couldn’t work” or “yes well, so and so could, but I don’t have the experience or know how”. Notice this voice and challenge what it is telling you. Is it ‘true’ or is it a generalisation that may be only partly true?

You are the author of your own story – so create it in a conscious manner.

Principle #2 : You cannot do anything else but influence what happens in 2017

Often we feel discouraged and powerless. This feeling is usually fuelled by a belief that we are small and lack influence or power. This is not true – it is a belief or a story we tell ourselves (see principle #1 above!)

A basic principle that we share in all our leadership and organisational development work is that you are influencing all the time. This principle comes from understanding the nature of living systems and a key characteristic about them – interconnectedness. When you understand that living systems are connected via a network of often unseen and not very well understood relationships, you can see that what you do influences the whole system all the time. So, rather than acting without an awareness of this influence, why not act with an intention to be careful and mindful about what you are influencing. Look for your influence. Amplify your influence.

Like some help?

If you’d like some help to make your story great in 2017, you should consider in enrolling in our online self-leadership program, Ignite: Bringing your whole self to work. This 12-week program is designed to ignite your dormant potential and set you on a path that uses your passions and innate talents to achieve what it is you truly care about. Learn more here.