The Stories We Tell Ourselves

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

I recently posted a video about how I got into my line of work. I was surprised by the number of people who reached out to me directly in response to that glimpse into my background. One individual challenged what I’d said.

Self-perception is a funny thing. Sometimes we think we’re one thing when in reality we’re something else. We either remember or perceive events differently from how they actually are (or were). And sometimes, the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves aren’t quite the way others see our story.

My Story and Someone Else’s Reality

The same day my video post went live, someone I worked with 20 years ago (whom I have not seen since that time) reached out to me. Here’s some of what they said:

“Hi Chad! I just saw and heard your latest post on how you got into consulting.  I must respectfully disagree with your analysis. I didn’t work with you for a long time, but I know that you were someone who always took a strategic view of the current situation that existed. You had a clear picture of where the Desired State was and knew how to get there. You were very good at the Art of Persuasion and Influence and at building coalitions. You were a key person and factor in leading organizations out of the wilderness and onto a better path. If that isn’t a definition of a good consultant, I don’t know what is. 

“… Anyway, your post caught my eye, it spurred some fond memories of my time working with you, so I thought I’d share that with you — I’d say you were born to be a consultant, a Vistage Chair, and a Strategic Thinker. We all get there following our different paths.”

I’m not sharing these words with you to self-promote — although it’s always nice to hear nice things about yourself. I’m sharing these words because they challenged me and the story I’ve been telling myself and others. This individual’s perspective called into question some of my bedrock assumptions. They made me pause and reflect upon how this individual views me and my life’s journey.

The Role You Play Matters

The very same day I received the above note, I shared with someone else how important they‘ve become as a Truth Teller in my life (very appropriate timing!). We all need to surround ourselves with more Truth Tellers and Perspective Givers. I strive to play those roles every day when I strap on and strap in to help others professionally. I also seek to surround myself with people who will do the same for me — and I encourage you to do the same.

One of the lessons I’ve gleaned from all of this is:

When we’re genuine and authentic to who we are, the people we see on a regular basis — even if only for a brief window of time — will build their own stories about us. Sometimes, those people can offer us valuable perspective later — weeks, months, years, or even decades down the line. It’s your choice how you choose to receive that perspective and what, if anything, you decide to do with it when you hear it.

As for me, from now on when people ask how I came to do what I do, I’m simply going to tell them I’ve been preparing for — and doing this work — my entire life.

Looking for a Truth Teller or Perspective Giver for yourself? Drop me a line. I’d love to hear YOUR story and filter it back to you through my lens.

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