"What's your story?"
That's one of my favourite questions to start a conversation with a potential client.
"So, how'd you get into this business anyway?".
At which point they will begin to tell you their story...
Within minutes prospects will open up and tell you things they haven't told their closest friends.
It's not uncommon for a prospect to speak for 15 minutes or more without you saying a word. People like telling their story. And few people get the opportunity to tell their story nearly as much as they'd like.
We all have stories.
Stories we tell ourselves about who we are, why we're here, and where we're going.
As a consultant, listening to your prospect's story and letting them know you understand them and their unique situation can trump superior skills and experience.
(I've lost count of the number of clients I've gotten simply because I listened when others talked.)
However, as a business owner, your stories can hold you back.
They can slow your progress to a crawl...
Blind you to bigger opportunities right in front of you...
Make resistance rear it's ugly head and cause you to self-sabotage.
You see, stories are one of the most powerful forms of self-persuasion.
The stories we tell ourselves colour our memories, sway our behaviours, and determine how we make sense of the world.
Our stories become our identity.
They become self-fulfilling prophecies either moving you towards or away from your goals.
Most people are not aware of their stories.
Because we think in stories they are so closely entwined with our thought patterns that it can be difficult to separate from them.
We've all met someone with a "victim" story. No matter what situation they're in, they always see themselves as a victim.
Easy enough to spot negative stories in others.
Much harder in ourselves.
What negative stories do you tell yourself?
Here's a few you might want to do a gut-check on:
- Not smart enough.
- Not good enough.
- Always mess things up.
- Never been good at X.
- The "Aussie battler" or underdog.
- Not good with conflict.
- Don't make a difference.
- I have to play it safe.
- Come this far so have to keep going.
These stories affect what you believe, how you feel, and the action you take.
What if you let go of your stories?
Start fresh with a clean sheet of paper.
Write the story for your life that you want.