In researching a new book I’m working on (Inside the Buyer’s Brain), I’m discovering the power of story in helping to attract prospects and actually sell to them. We are a culture of story lovers, and this is nothing new. From the Biblical days to Shakespeare, to contemporary, tear-jerking commercials that have us heartbroken over homeless cats and starving kids. We are, quite frankly, suckers for story.
But there’s one story that can do you in, if you let. And that’s the story you tell yourself.
I work with people almost everyday who think they need the world to change before they can be happy, but the truth is, it’s only their story that needs to change. Some of my clients think they need better marketing, while others think that the significant other in their life needs to change. Again, it’s never about any of those things, but instead, what we tell ourselves about them. That’s our story.
The story I’m referring to is the one the you’ve always told yourself, for so long and so often, that you don’t really realize it’s a story at all. It’s no surprise that the happiest, most successful people in the world usually have a good story, whereas the ones who struggle the most have their own kind of story, and it’s usually not worth reading…especially for the person who owns it.
From a neuroscience and psychological perspective it goes like this: as children, when our brains are nice and pliable and neural networks are ripe and ready to fuse, we have experiences. While the experiences in and of themselves may in fact be neutral in nature, if we interpret those experiences through an emotional filter, particularly a painful one, the story line begins. For example, if a small child gets bitten by a dog, the strong emotion that likely accompanied the experience becomes hard-wired in the child’s brain. Depending on a million other variables, it’s quite possible the child will grow up, telling himself a story that dogs are dangerous.
Our human brains are designed to process everything that happens to us through the filters of our beliefs, or stories. If we have a belief that tells us we’ll never do as well as someone else, then the brain will filter out any evidence to the contrary and only show us things that “prove” that idea. We are entrenched in our own self-limiting stories that can hold us back from being as great as we truly are. Because we always have the ability to change the meaning of something, we also have the ability to change our story.
But first we have to recognize it.
Here’s how I help my clients, and this is based on decades of research, experiment, application, and sweat, so it’s not just something I pulled out from the sky. Try it in your own way and see what you think.
First, identify the story. Of course, it doesn’t seem like a story to you, so maybe ask a mentor of friend to help you, but the quickest way to determine your story is to simply write down all the things you struggle with. Here are some of the most common stories I come across:
- There’s never enough money.
- I’m not worthy of love.
- There are no good men (or women) left.
- It’s too hard to get clients.
- The economy is bad so I can’t get ahead.
- I can’t attract good clients.
- No one wants to work with me.
- Everyone else is more fortunate than me.
- He got ahead because he’s a man/rich/better connected.
Are you beginning to get the gist of it? Even though any or all of those may feel very real, and even have a history of evidence to support it, they are all stories. Once you identify a story of your own (and trust me, we usually have many–I know I do and have), decide how you’d like to change it.
Once you decide on the new story, write it out. Medicreate on it (visualize with intense emotion), and begin to live from that new story every day. With repetition, you’ll begin to prune away the neural networks of the old story, and override them with the new story. The positive emotions that come with Medicreating include the release of dopamine and serotonin, causing you to feel good and further embed the new story into your body and your brain.
We are all free to create or change our story at any time. Even in an instant. Think about the people you envy and admire, and ask yourself what their story is. How are they seeing the world that’s helping them experience the world they want to see? Ultimately, all change begins and ends with our story. What will yours be?
P.S. If you’re in Real Estate, let me help you change your story. Click here to set up a time to chat.
Tell a GREAT Story!