“Stand ON your story, not in it. Standing in our stories is another way so many of us stay stuck. But we can use our stories in a completely different way. When we climb up out of our stories and stand on them, instead of keeping us stuck, our stories support us.”
– Jo Dibblee, From Best Kept Secret to Success in Life, Love and Business
I delivered a presentation at one of Jo Dibblee’s “Frock-alicious Life” events last year. It was a jam-packed two-day networking event for women. It blew my socks off.
In the Jo Dibblee vernacular, to “frock-off” means to shed whatever it is that might be holding us back in life. Our “frocks” can be the lies we tell ourselves – or they can be the truths from our past that are no longer serving us. Our frocks can be our stories, our excuses, our embarrassments, our habits, our coping mechanisms, our fears, our circumstances, our limiting beliefs.
My presentation was entitled, “Courage is Courageous – Why Wait for a Wake Up Call?” My key message was this: when we find the courage to share our stories – and what we’ve learned from our experience – our courage can inspire others to find their own courage.
In other words, courage can be contagious… in a good way.
I spoke about the difference between staying stuck IN our stories versus standing ON our stories by choosing to learn and grow from our experiences, instead of getting trapped in a victim-mindset.
I shared how our stories can have tremendous power to propel us forward. But they can also act as anchors that hold us back and keep us from making the changes we know we need to make. I talked about how our stories can encourage, inspire and empower others to reach down deep within themselves and find the strength and courage needed to make the changes they need to make in their own lives.
After delivering my presentation, I asked the audience if anyone would like to share with the group about a change they know they need to make in their lives.
You should have seen how many hands shot up!
One woman came up to the front of the room, picked up the microphone, took a deep breath – and proceeded to tell us that she had come very close to taking her own life a month earlier.
Boy, did that room go quiet.
The woman went on to say that she knew she had a powerful message to share with others about mental health… and this event was the catalyst she needed to take the necessary steps forward to the life she knew she was capable of living.
Courage IS contagious. Sometimes when we lose our way, we also lose our courage. Or maybe we lose our way because we lost our courage somewhere along the way?
Or maybe it doesn’t matter which was lost first. Maybe what matters is that we find our courage again… through whatever story gives us strength. And if the story we are telling ourselves – and others – is no longer serving us, it’s time to give that frumpy old frock the heave-ho.
But what if you’re not even sure WHAT your story is? Sometimes a deeply-held belief we have about ourselves is like a beloved old t-shirt where the saying on the front has completely faded away – and we can’t even remember what it said. But boy, is that old shirt comfy!
Here’s a trick: the next time you are at a social gathering with friends, listen to your own self. If you hear yourself explaining (again) why you are not yet doing something you want to be doing, your story is probably at the root of that excuse. Sorry, I mean answer. Not.