In your internal conversations what do you assume people think of you?
I was just wrapping up a call with a client when I asked about the voluntary work he was doing at weekends.
“I’m dreading going back in to be honest” he said, “I think I’ve antagonised the organiser.”
Of course I needed to to know more …
This very kind, well meaning person was surprised to find the charity he was helping at was wasting a lot of money on things that could be fixed very easily so he’d written an email to the manager explaining what could be done to make things better.
At the time we were talking he hadn’t had a reply but had constructed a whole scenario in his head about the manager thinking he was a trouble maker, someone who had only been volunteering for a few weeks telling long standing staff members how to do their job. He’d painted himself as a villain and was sure everyone was going to hate him and he’d have to leave.
Hero or villain – its your choice
After we’d had a chat about it he conceded that the manager could equally be really grateful that someone had spotted a way to do things better and taken the time to explain it, that it could have been something they’d struggled with for years but now had a way to make changes. That in his story he could be a hero instead of a villain.
The really daft thing about all of this is that it was all in his imagination. He’d had the thought, created a story, given it space in his own head and allowed it to torment him. He could easily have imagined a more useful and happy scenario and given that some head space instead.
In a world where it can sometimes feel we have little control over anything the one thing we can can usually control is our thoughts. If we have the ability to make up stories about ourselves, why not make them good ones?
Next time you allow a less than useful thought to get into your head give yourself a shake and replace it with a more useful one. It’s your imagination, you can use it any way you like.
And then maybe wonder why you choose to believe the worst instead of the best version of yourself and decide not to do that anymore. Its your story so you can choose the part you want to play.