Often we have clearly defined labels or stories about ourselves
I am this…
I am not this…
Stories about who you are and who you are not. Stories about what you can and cannot do. What you should and shouldn’t do. These stories are of course heavily influenced by cultural norms in society, your family or the organisation you work in.
Humans are wired for story
We create stories in our head about events that happen, about others and about ourselves. That is how we make sense of the world. These stories about ourselves can bring clarity.
But they have one big disadvantage
They can limit the possibilities you see for yourself. They can stand in the way of you playing bigger, making changes, finding creative solutions. Clearly defined stories or labels about ourselves create a neat tidy box for us to fit it. But they form an obstacle to branch out, to find the joy in following your curiosity and trying out new things, finding new possibilities.
For example if you work in academia and are considering to find your next job outside of academia, the way talk about yourself can make a big difference.
I am a scientist?
My clients often say: I am a scientist, I am a researcher. This way they conflate their job with their identity. This makes it really hard to envision other possibilities than working as a scientist.
Change your story
But what if instead you would say: I work as a scientist, I work as a researcher? Feel the difference it makes! How it opens things up. The latter does not confine you to the neat box of scientist/researcher. The latter just tells you about that at this moment you work as a researcher. It leaves much more room and possibility for other types of work as well.
Become aware of the language, labels and stories you use about yourself
What labels or stories about yourself can you let go of? Because they are no longer true, or because they limit your possibilities?
What new language or stories can you create? How can you rephrase or come up with a new story that gives you freedom and new opportunities?
Wishing you lots of freeing stories!