When we refer to “stories”, we’re discussing the potential outcomes we create when trying to imagine how a situation will play out.
Does this sound familiar? Your boss says, “Let’s schedule a time to talk later,” and a million worst-case scenarios rush through your mind. When the conversation eventually occurs, the subject matter is nowhere near as serious as you’d led yourself to believe, and everyone walks away generally unscathed. These imagined scenarios are the “stories” we’re referring to. These are fear-based reactions that can cloud judgment and hinder communication. If you walk into that interaction expecting that you’re going to get fired, you walk in with your defenses up. When we convince ourselves that every uncomfortable situation will end in the worst possible outcome, it makes engaging with the issue harder than it needs to be.
How would your life change if you told yourself “They’re going to offer me a promotion!” instead of “They’re going to fire me!”? Spend the next week trying to enter interactions with your best-case scenario in mind. You’ll likely be pleasantly surprised by how things play out.