• Ascent Leadership Program

Scary stories...that I'm making up?



This time of year, my tv channels are filled with scary movies, my neighbors decorate their yards with goulish images and the dark skies, mist and fogs make everything feel a little spookier. Good thing there is a lot of candy on hand to calm my frazzled nerves!


A wonderful feature of the mind is how it takes incomplete data and organizes into "whole" parts, providing interpretation of the events in our lives. We see EVENTS and create a STORY. Based on our story (part thinking, part feeling) we select actions to take. Said another way, our created stories directly influence our actions and results. Scary indeed! The process of story making isn't inherently good or bad, it's simply what the mind does and sometimes it can do so in a "nanosecond". No need to try and shut story making off as we really can't not have one based on our unique experiences. We can all likely recall stories we created that were presented as "this is how things are" and then later are revealed as inaccurate and not helpful. The key is to become skillful in the distinction between EVENT and STORY for yourself and others.


Areas for reflection:

1. Am I routinely examining my stories and assumptions?

2. How likely am I to collapse the EVENT and my STORY into one, making my STORY the actual event?

3. How comfortable am I with incomplete information?

4. What is my sense of rigidity about being right about my STORY? Are other's STORY just as valid as mine?

5. Complaints are a story. When the complaint is persistent and fixed about someone or something, the story can become the raw material for a self-imposed CAGE. What cages have I created?

6. Does my STORY create more opportunity or less? Am I open to additional data or an new alternative? Where is my resistance?

7. Am I asking, "why do I do that"? instead of "they always do X".

8. Does the STORY I've created really turn out to be as scary as the actual interaction and result I was seeking to avoid?


Whether you like scary stories or not this time of year, I encourage you to get clear about your own "scary" stories and the impact they are having on your actions and results. See the impact of continuing your STORY and then let go of it. This is all part of learning, leading and just being human.

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