Sometimes you have a bad day. A rough phone call. A nasty email. You question your very ability to do your work. You can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. But there is one, and another day, things are better. Now, how do you choose to tell that story?
I’ve had a few low blows recently. In my business and in my working life. Situations that have come out of left field and dealing with characters that have been rather unsavoury. It’s left me furious at times, in tears at others, and ultimately unsure of what action to take. I find myself clutching out for answers and reaching out to friends and colleagues – telling the story of what’s happened, trying to make sense of it, but often when there’s so much that has occurred in a relationship, how can you even know where to begin?
Quickly, I turn on myself. Instead of TO myself. Questioning and doubting, these thoughts run through my mind:
“Did I not set boundaries?”
“Am I upholding my end of the contract?”
“Am I putting in enough effort?”
“Did I fulfil the brief?”
“Am I putting out a negative energy?”
“Is it me making this task so very difficult?”
Self reflection is great! Check in with yourself and understand the situation. But stopping believing in yourself and doubting your ability, your judgement and your integrity … and you’re on a dangerous path.
Sometimes, we are dealt a low blow to teach us a lesson. To take something from it.
One of the best things I choose to do at this time is to call on my network, speak to my tribe. The people who know me, believe in me and who will also speak the truth to me.
A dear confidant I reached out to gave me some sage advice. She listened, she acknowledged my challenges and empathised that I had been hurt. After going over all my trials and tribulations, and ultimately revealing I’d come out into the light at the other end of the tunnel, she asked me this: “Now, how will you tell this story?”
It was such a crucial point in the whole experience. I am the master of my own story. I can write it however I want. Shall I go on re-telling the victim story. How I was SO hurt and SO hard done by. Or do I tell the parts where I was acknowledged for the work that was done, recognised for my efforts and share the valuable lessons I can now take in to future client relationships. The story is mine and mine only to tell. Including when I re-tell it to myself.
The other great tip was to instead of questioning and doubting, leading to the negative, do a check-in with yourself. Ask yourself questions such as:
“Have I done what I said?”
“Am I comfortable with how I’ve acted in this time?”
“Do I stand by my actions?”
“Have I fulfilled my end of the contract?”
Instead of judging yourself and accusing yourself first of all fault, perhaps check in and give yourself the credit. If you find that you are at fault, then own it! However, if this situation is more to do with their “stuff”, then move on from there. Proceed with the necessary steps to resolve a conflict and take the lessons that you need.
Whatever happens in our business, or personal lives, we can take as an experience. The past is the past, it has happened. But our future is filled with blank pages ready to be written on. We can choose to steer that story in a hopeful and optimistic way, or keep turning back to dwell over the lines. Reading them over and over again. Playing the sad old story on loop in our minds.
I choose to re-write my story. For myself and for my future clients benefit. I’m grateful for this lesson.
When have you had a time where you’ve managed to review a situation and re-tell the story in a positive way for you?