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Who would you be without your story? February 21, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Uncategorized.
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I am a great admirer(and follower, I like to think) of The Work of Byron Katie.

Katie, as she is called, teaches how to come to peace with life by understanding that everything is happening just as it should. Once you understand that, it’s much easier to be peaceful about everything that goes on around you. The access to this understanding is through the use of questions that help to give you a different perspective of your life. It’s thought-provoking, challenging work but so worth the effort.

A thought-provoking question

One of my favorite of Katie’s thought-provoking questions is “Who would you be without your story?” And many of my coaching clients have had the pleasure of being asked that question. It’s a great question, isn’t it? I mean, we all have our stories. Some of them serve us and some of them— not so much.

Some examples

How about some examples from my coaching clients? (the names have been changed to protect the guilty and besides they’re not here to defend themselves)

Laura is by all accounts a beautiful woman. In my work with her, I have experienced her as insightful, interesting and funny. I have never met her in person but I happen to coach others who have. So I know that there is some disagreement on her story about her physical appearance.  Laura’s story is that she is unattractive, undesirable, and doomed to be single the rest of her life because she is a bit overweight. This is a great example of a story that is NOT serving its owner.

Jake is highly motivated and intelligent, with a great sense of humor. Jake’s story is that his own happiness is irrelevant and therefore not to be considered in his decision-making process. As a result, he seldom engages in activities that are for his own enjoyment, works a million hours a week, and would rather swallow razor blades than reveal anything about his innermost feelings. Who could Jake be without this little story?

OK…Here’s one of mine

Oh, then there are my own stories— most of which I will not reveal in this blog–ever. Transparency can be carried too far, after all. However, I will tell you one of them— mainly because I have been coached by one of my clients about this quite recently. Now I could get really squirrelly about getting coaching from a client. (But the truth is two of my clients have addressed this so I better listen.) However, I choose to tell a more positive story about it. I see it as a sign that I have done a wonderful job in coaching my client. He is able to have remarkable insights that would never have come up in the absence of my skillful coaching. It’s my story and I am sticking to it. (It also helps that he and I have built a relationship of implicit trust, plus I really like him.)

Now back to the one that doesn’t serve me. I had made a remark that a particular well-known coach makes a fabulous amount of money for his services. The underlying assessment is that I can’t do as well as Coach X. It was pointed out to me that I was speaking from a view of limitation rather than of abundance. (Thank you, M.)

So I got to thinking. Who could I be without that story? I could be someone who takes risks, who promotes my services as being valuable. I could be a person who steps out there without worrying much about failing. Well, that doesn’t sound so bad. Hmmm…

As a result of this inquiry, I am in the process of really deciding who I am and what I bring and coming up with new ways to promote myself and my work. (And about damn time, I think.) Don’t worry, you’ll be the first to know.

Now it’s your turn
So— what are your little stories? Why not pick out one that is currently dragging you down? Once you identify it, wrestle it to the ground. Or have a tea party with it or whatever you’d like…but examine it and see if maybe, just maybe you could come up with another one that’s more fun. Remember, this is your story and you get to tell it. Now get busy. I have things to do…




1. edgyangel - February 25, 2010

Anne- Thanks so much for your comment-and for reading. The quote you provided is wonderful. I think I have seen it before but it surely bears another look…

2. Anne - February 25, 2010

Amara– I love love love this posting. I too have been changed by the work of Byron Katie. Thank you so much for reminding me that it is all about the stories we tell. Do you know this quote? “Change the story and you change perception; change perception and you change the world.”–Jean Houston. There it is.

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