The only thing standing between you and what you want is the story you keep telling yourself about why you can’t have it. — Tony Robbins
There is no limit to the stories we tell about why we can’t have what we want. Over the years I’ve heard almost everything.
And what I haven’t heard from others I’ve heard come out of my own mouth. Many of the stories fit into themes.
Here are three common themes:
(1) The “After I …” Story:
In this story, there’s a current situation that you believe needs to change before you can do what you want to do. This story often shows up as an expression of a lack of resources — such as time, money, and energy — or skills.
After I generate more income, then I’ll be able to hire an assistant.
After the kids are in school, then I’ll have more time for myself.
After I finish my work, then I’ll be able to relax and take a few hours off.
After I complete this training, then I’ll be ready.
(2) The Story About Who (What) is In the Way
In this story, there’s someone or something else that is blocking you from doing what you want to do.
- Someone you need to convince, or who refuses to be convinced.
- You believe you need permission.
- People need you and you can’t abandon them.
- A project or other work needs to be cleared out of the way first.
- You need to get a credential or certification or do more research.
(3) The “Why It Won’t Work” Story
You have a potential plan for what you want to do, a solution to your problem. And then you come up with all the reasons why it won’t work.
- Your situation is unique.
- You’re trying to do something that nobody has ever done before.
- You’re in a different market.
- You don’t have the same resources as other people who have done it.
The Trap of Stories
Like all stories, they are lies. They feel true, because, like all good lies, they have a kernel of truth — or at least “commonly accepted knowledge.”
They are effective lies, and work well because they seem reasonable, even rational.
This reasonableness serves a purpose. You may wish to ask yourself whether that purpose still serves you.
As Seth Godin explains, this attachment to reasonableness is what keeps us stuck.
Every decision you’ve made, all the status quo you’re holding on to, the fears you have–they’re all reasonable.
Your Key to What You Want
To get from where you are to where you want to be you must be willing to do something unreasonable, even for a little while.
It starts by releasing your attachment to your stories. Everything begins to change when you become willing to call yourself out on your own lies and bullshit (in a loving and compassionate way, of course). This is the key that unlocks your empowerment, your agency, and your sovereignty.