Every day, every interaction is a story. Often the stories that unfold in front of our eyes, are not fun. There can be events and actions from others that transpire and make our story turn into a drama. Other days the story is a comedy and we laugh and have fun throughout the process. Regardless of the genre of our story, the key to it all is that we have control over how we act and react to the stories that fill our days.
I just finished reading the book: “Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High” by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillian, and Al Switzler. It is such a great book both for work and personal life. I took copious notes of ideas that I could use in a professional setting and at home. I am the first to admit that I am not always on my best behavior each and every day. Sometimes an individual’s comment spark the wrong bone in your body, and a reaction occurs. Another individual can make you feel angry, frustrated, hurt, even invisible. There could be a multitude of emotions. What I loved about this book is it helps you to take control of your emotions, be upfront, and not hide behind difficult conversations.
“If we take control of our stories, they won’t control us. People who excel at dialogue are able to influence their emotions during crucial conversations. They recognize that while it’s true that at first we are in control of the stories we tell—after all, we do make them up of our own accord—once they’re told, the stories control us. They first control how we feel and then how we act. Any as a result, they control the results we get from our crucial conversations.” Page 111
Where I sometimes struggle the most is how the story controls us. At times, the story of the day agonize us. We lose sleep, we go on and on about the drama to friends, family, or our spouse so they can feel our pain. Other times we might discuss the issue and talk it out as a resolution so that tomorrow we can rewrite our story. How then can we keep the conversation in our control? How can we ensure that the conversation (especially the bad ones) do not control us, make us unhappy, and mean that we lose sleep? We are all writers for our stories. We decide what will bug us, or get under our skin. We decide what controls us.
What will you decide about the stories you create today?