Today I want to tell you a story. It's a story about a story I used to tell myself. Here's how it goes.
For a lot of my adult life I worked in the public sector in the UK. This was after a few years working in the international software industry. Looked at one way, that part of my career was successful. I made money and travelled the world. But it didn't make me happy.
And so, when I joined the public sector, I told myself that I wasn't suited to working in organisations with a profit motive. I told myself that my values were better suited to purpose-driven organisations.
My work in the public sector was successful. I achieved a lot, climbed the ladder and got to work with some interesting people.
One day, in conversation with my father, something happened to make this story even more compelling. I realised that, my father had also worked in the public sector, as had my grandfather. My great grandfather worked for the Cooperative Movement.
In other words, generations of the men in my family had worked in service organisations. "Ah haaa", I thought, "this is in my DNA, it's just who I am meant to be." And I told the story over and over again. It's a good one. And it's true.
However, all my adult life I have also wanted to work for myself. To build something of my own. To create my own source of income. But I never did anything about it other than dream.
Working with a coach, I realised that this story itself was holding me back from taking the steps I wanted to take. This story was keeping me in a box labelled, "You Don't Have What It Takes".
That's a pretty scary box and every time I told it to somebody, the lid got even heavier.
But, when you think about it, how stupid is that? How stupid it is to tell myself a story like that. How stupid to engineer this tale to keep myself in a box.
After all, it's just a story. And stories are all made up.
But we all do this don't we. We all limit ourselves with our beliefs about ourselves and our capacities. We all create a narrative to cover up our fears.
But what if we rip the label off that box? What if we realise that we are infinite beings with infinite capacities? What if we don't even write a label for a new box but simply explore our potential with curiosity, openness and love?
Well, then we could really explore our potential. And how exciting would that be?
If you want to explore the ideas in this blog, please reach out, I would love to help you to explore your potential.
The person who helped me is Sue Marsh. She's a wonderful Executive and Leadership Coach who I am sure would love to hear from you too.
This is going to be the final instalment of The Coach's Couch, but not the end of this story.
In the next couple of weeks, I'll be moving this blog onto a different platform, with a different name and a slightly different focus.
I believe this will give you even better content, which is more connected with my different strands of work. As well as giving you access to some exciting new opportunities.
You don't need to do anything, just watch out for the re-launch. I'll make sure that the existing content is still available to you.
I am very grateful to everyone who has subscribed and supported this work so far. Your feedback is really rewarding and motivating to me.
And so, see you in a couple of weeks.
With love, Stephen