Strong leaders must have powerful stories

Most of us have heard that 'limiting beliefs' impact how we think and take action. But today I want to put on your radar the word STORIES.

Do you tell yourself a story that you're not a good speaker? That it's normal for someone at your level to work 10 hour days? Or that you need a few glasses of wine to relax at night?

Stories are what we speak out loud to:

  1. justify our actions,
  2. convince ourselves (and others) that our way is right or acceptable, and
  3. help us make meaning of what's happening around us.

The problem is that the stories we tell ourselves are tough to detect. They're often habitual, on a subconscious level of awareness, and we tend to think that they're true (even when that might not be the case).

A story I heard recently from a CEO of a global company.

This person told me that they want to do more company-wide public speaking. They have no problem speaking to large crowds or in any other arena except when it comes to addressing their entire company.

As I probed deeper they told me a story that:

"employees don't want to hear from a CEO who makes it all about themselves and are there just to show off".

And I said WAIT hold on a second.

  • Is it true that your employees don't want to hear from you? No, in fact they were all asking for him to speak more.
  • Was it true that you'd show up on stage with all this hubris and make everything all about you? Definitely not! He is quite humble and people-focused.

As you can see, the stories we tell ourselves shape how we make meaning of situations and how we ultimately take action.

How to become aware of a story

I've found that other people are much better at detecting and challenging our stories than we are ourselves.

This is partly from the coaching framework of the Johari Window, that others can see things in us that we can't see ourselves (also known as a blind spot).

I'd recommend that you assign a colleague, coach, friend, or spouse to gently call-out a story we keep repeating that might not be true and needs to be challenged for our own growth and potential.

Here's why it's so important for leaders to see and challenge the stories they tell themselves.

So here's your task: What stories do you tell yourself??? Who can help you see and challenge the story, and re-write it?

Email me at and let me know what your thoughts and ideas were about this article.

xx Tracey

CEO, Co-Founder and Master Coach with Liv.Lit!

PS Next Liv.Aligned class with Glenn Miller is November 17 learn more and register here

PPS Let's write a new story by coaching together. Apply for an Intro Coaching Call