Do you ever feel like a victim of circumstances? A perceived lack of time, opportunity, or resources can shut us down and prevent us from using our greatest talents. The stories we have about our talent become stuck, like a book that lacks a new chapter. While the circumstances we face may indeed be true, there’s no need to let them constrain us.
When you think of your talent as a story, it opens up possibilities for change; for writing a new chapter.
Consider Sheila’s story:
“I want to work on bigger projects that will bring more value to our business, but as a financial services manager, my plate is so full and I’ve pushed my team so far that I don’t see any way. I can’t spend more time at work; my family would really suffer, and so would I.”
Sheila thought she was stuck and had good reasons to believe that. However, what if there were hidden opportunities for Sheila to work with her team and delegate responsibilities so she could branch out into using her talent to create more value for herself and the organization? In fact, there were. But to see them she needed to transform her “victim” story into a “hero” story.
What spurred her transformation was a conversation that helped her see herself and her situation in a new light. She employed a generous listener who reflected her “victim” story back to her like a mirror. She discovered, just by listening to her own words, that what she thought was fixed was only fixed in her mind. Sharing her hopes with her team members and learning their aspirations to grow enabled them to find win-win solutions.
Has your talent story become stuck in its current chapter? Are you willing to look at it afresh and explore new perspectives? Only you can be the hero of your talent story. If you wait for someone else to write it for you, you risk becoming just a bit player in another person’s story.
Like all good hero stories, yours can be about how you expressed your hopes, encountered and overcame obstacles, and took action to realize results for yourself and others.
Not sure that you are ready to explore a change? Try this exercise. Make two lists on separate pieces of paper, one titled “Benefits I See for Keeping My Current Story,” the other titled “Benefits I Foresee in Becoming the Hero of My Story.” When you are done, read them aloud several times. Then choose which story you want to live by, and post the list in a prominent place. Throw the other list away. The choice is yours.