By Andrea Burke, BIOMILK Skincare Healthy Mind Expert
As the narrator of your life you are guiding the story of who you are, which paths you choose to take and how you show up in the world.
This seems so obvious, however; if you slow down and really think about it, there is a good chance you are not the only person influencing your story. All too often we are heavily influenced, without question, by those around us. We lean into the stories we are told rather than creating our own.
Where in your life are you listening to the stories you have been told about yourself? How have people described you over the years? Where have you just followed the path placed in front of you? Where in your life have you never second guessed something because it was “the way” to move forward?
For example, Susan has always been good at math. Since grade school she was highly praised by family and teachers for her abilities. Her high school teacher told her parents that Susan should be an accountant. In college Susan found herself being praised for her leadership skills, so she often took leadership roles in class. After becoming a CPA, Susan found herself at one of the big four accounting firms, leading large teams.
This sounds great, right? But what if Susan never took the time to question it? As a result of positive reinforcement, we tend to lean into the things we do well without ever questioning if we want that to be our “thing.” Just because Susan was good at math does not mean she wanted it to be her career. Had Susan never been told she was a strong leader would she automatically take that role in life? Being good at something, and positively reinforced, is different than choosing that path; however, it is common for our lives to be crafted around what we are “good at” and believing that is what we want.
Overall satisfaction in life has so much to do with showing up in the world authentically. It is difficult to be happy and healthy when you are not the only narrator of your life. The good news is it’s never too late.
So how do you start taking back the reins and narrating your life?
First, familiarize yourself with your current story. What influenced your career choice? How would people describe you? Are you a leader/supporter/follower/participant? In order to influence your future you should become aware of your past.
Next, ask yourself if you ever questioned some of the bigger decisions in your life? If you were given more of an obvious choice, would you have chosen differently? If you could change anything in your life today, what would it be?
Then, spend time reflecting on the areas where you wish you could show up differently. Take back the narrator role. Now this does not mean re-write your whole life, but you can make small shifts that better align with who you truly are. Susan might like accounting, but not want to work for an accounting firm. Alternatively, she might be good at leading a team, but actually want to be an independent contributor because leadership roles are very stressful to her.
By actively owning the story of your life you can shift your overall well-being. Benefits would include less stress, more sense of ease or flow and higher levels of engagement. What matters most is that YOU are the narrator of your life. Take time to slow down and begin planning your future chapters to better align with who you truly are.
Keep up with Andrea on her website and stay tuned to the BIOMILK blog for more of her great insights on supporting your healthy well-being.