The familiar voice we are so intimate with is our inner salesperson that seeks to create comfortable narratives for us. These narratives create excuses and justifications that empower us to avoid things we should not avoid and embrace things we should stay away from. It is the primary reason that the easiest person to deceive is the person in the mirror.
So what can we do to shift the narrative and grow in self-awareness in order to lead well?
The answer: We must learn to take our thoughts captive. We can do this by asking ourselves these three questions:
- Can I recognize feelings and differentiate them from reality?
- Can I understand why I am experiencing a specific emotion?
- Do I recognize how my feelings impact the people around me?
These questions are essential because what you don’t recognize you can’t manage. If we don’t see something wrong, there’s no reason to change.
Identifying your feelings and where they began will create a space to control how you respond rather than react. Being aware of an emotion is the first step in controlling it. All emotions are valid, however, they are not all truth. So start by identifying what you are feeling and where it came from. Next, acknowledge it and ask yourself how the emotion fits into your present reality and what your response should be.
The hard truth: It’s natural to create narratives solely on our emotions and limited view. We haven’t deliberately chosen to believe some parts of our personal narratives, but because of where we live, where we were born, and/or how we were treated we have grown up always believing them.
What we know, what we feel, and what we believe is ingrained within our narratives, but these narratives can be dangerous if not challenged. They will quickly lead us toward regretful decisions if we don’t pay attention to how we create them and work to take control over the emotional responses they create within us.
As we train ourselves to challenge the stories we typically lean into, we will begin to lean into life-giving narratives that will correctly inform our conscience, correct false assumptions, and inform our behaviors.
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