UMBC Wellness in the Workplace

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June 2009: Create stories that are ‘large enough to live into.’

Whether we are aware of it or not, we tell stories all the time…about ourselves, who we are, and what we’re capable of; and about others, who they are, and what they are capable of. We forget that these stories are actually our interpretations and are not necessarily truth, at least they are not true all the time. With the creation of these stories, we either expand or diminish new possibilities for ourselves and others. There is nothing wrong with telling stories; we make meaning out of life and our circumstances through telling them. The question is whether the stories we create provide enough space for ourselves and others to ‘live or grow into.’

This month, begin examining the internal and external stories that you create about yourself and others. Notice how telling these stories impacts you and the potential of the person on the receiving end, whether that’s you or someone else. Is there a way that you can retell the story so that it leaves space for growth? For example, if you have a story about your own competency at a work project: “I’m not creative enough for this project,” a larger story you might tell is: “I get an opportunity to grow my creative ‘muscle’ in this project.” It’s still true that you may not have much creative experience, but holding this new story will make a difference in your experience of the project and your effectiveness.