Monday, February 6, 2012

Career Success by Reexamining Your Stories

Once upon a time there was a nice guy safely driving to the grocery store when-all of a sudden-some jerk cut him off. The nice guy honked his horn to let the jerk know that he had endangered the nice guy's life, but the jerk went about his business, exiting at the next street.

Sound familiar? A recent trip to the grocery store turned into a ready-for-TV drama, all because of "some jerk." But notice the point of view that this story is told from: that of the "nice guy." What if you were to learn that the "jerk" was racing to the hospital because his wife had been seriously injured in an accident.

Wow, different story now, isn't it?

We are telling ourselves stories all of the time, and the stories that we tell ourselves around our career can turn into self-fulfilling prophesies. Through our stories we can feel empowered or victimized depending on the information we choose to process and the assumptions that we make. This is particularly pertinent to our careers: a bad economy, terrible unemployment, and other factors outside ourselves can keep us in a perspective where we are not the triumphant hero...but the pitiable victim. But if the economy is so bad, why are some industries thriving? And if unemployment is so terrible, why do employees still leave their jobs?

The stories that we tell ourselves shape our self-concept, our outlook, and-ultimately-our behavior. If you find that you are struggling in your career, examine your stories by asking yourself the questions below:

What stories have I been telling about my current career?

In what way am I a hero in these stories? In what way am I the victim?

How were my decisions in these stories influenced?

What different decisions could I have made to change this story?

How will this knowledge influence my future actions?

1 comment:

  1. Great lesson in perspective here. It's all about how you look at things, for the good or the bad, and how you choose to spin your personal story.