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Changing your personal narrative – philosophy (pt 2)

May 2, 2017

In my last posting about changing your personal narrative, I wrote about philosophy. I used a pretty specific definition because I don’t want what I write here to be confused with the academic discipline of the same name (FWIW, philosophy is worth studying and reading, but that’s not really what we have in mind here). Philosophy, I’ve said before, is everything you know and how you choose to let it affect you. To put it another way it is what you know and how you act based upon what you know.

Today, we’ll start looking at how you change your philosophy.

To change your personal narrative, you must change your philosophy. But, before you can change it, you must know what it is. In other words, before you can change what you believe and how you choose to let it affect you, you must

  1. know what it is you believe
  2. know how you have chosen to allow it to affect you

How do you come to this knowledge? The answer is, you ask yourself some questions or do some mental exercises. Here are two I have my clients use.

First, ask yourself some questions, based on three separate scenarios

  1. Your speech to the world
    1. Imagine you have been given 15 minutes on prime time TV to speak to the world. This is your chance to say something really meaningful. What would you say? Now, your time has been shortened to 5 minutes to tell the world what really matters. What will you say?
  2. I am inspired by
    1. If you could spend time with someone from the past or present (even a fictional character) who would that be? What about this person inspires or attracts you? If you could ask him or her only 3 questions, what would they be? If you could ask only 1? What characteristics of this person would you like to have too?
  3. Looking back
    1. Imagine you’re very old now, sitting at home relaxing. In your life you’ve achieved all you ever wanted and imagined. Thinking back on your life and all you’ve done, what would you like to be reflecting on or thinking about? What do you enjoy remembering the most? What are you proudest of? What kind of difference have you made?

The other exercise I have my clients use is a simple listing of values. The goal is for a person to learn what his or her core values are. We define core values as those 5 or 6 things that are most important – the ones that are priorities. This is important because there are some values that are so important we don’t want to change them. Others, while important, are not “non-negotiables.” One way of determining your core values follows.

If you are a list type person, you can either brainstorm your own list of values or use the one provided here*. Either way, once you have a significant list,

  1. Go through and mark with a plus sign the ones that matter to you.
  2. Narrow it down to the top twenty, then the top ten.
  3. Go through your list of ten values and rank them from 1 to 10 in terms of their importance to you.
  4. As a general rule, your core values, the ones on which to focus and on which to build a life, are the top 5 or 6. The others may be important, but these are your priorities of life. Don’t worry about how others define these values. Use your definitions.

It can take a while to work your way through both of these exercises. That’s okay. The idea is to gain some real knowledge and understanding of yourself so you’re able to plan out how to change what you choose to change about your philosophy.

I said these are two tools I have my clients use, and they are. Still, there is another step. This one works like this: once you know your core values, once you understand what really matters to you, ask yourself some important questions. It’s important that you be very specific as you answer each of these questions.

  1. What is it you want to change about your personal narrative?
  2. In what specific way do you want to change it?
  3. What values will you have to change or modify to bring about this change?
  4. How do you see your life being different once you make this change?

*NOTE: Here’s the list of values I provide my clients. You can, of course, develop your own list and/or add to this one

Acceptance
Achievement
Adventure
Altruism
Ambition
Appreciation
Authenticity
Authority
Autonomy
Balance
Beauty
Belonging
Challenge
Choice
Collaboration
Commitment
Community
Compassion
Competence
Competition
Connection
Contribution
Creativity
Determination
Drive
Decisiveness
Equality
Excellence
Excitement
Expertise
Fairness
Faith
Faithfulness
Family
Fast Pace
Financial Reward
Focus
Freedom
Friendship
Fun
Happiness
Harmony
Health
Helping Others
Honesty
Humor
Imagination
Independence
Influence
Intellect
Intuition
Justice
Kindness
Knowledge
Leadership
Learning
Love
Loyalty
Making A Difference
Nature
Nurturing
Order
Passion
Peace
Personal Growth
Power
Privacy
Productivity
Promotion Prospects
Reaching Potential
Recognition
Respect
Responsibility
Results
Risk Taking
Romance
Security
Self-Expression
Service
Sharing
Solitude
Spirituality
Status
Success
Teaching
Teamwork
Tolerance
Tradition
Trust
Variety
Winning
Wisdom

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3 Comments
  1. Very informative! Thanks for sharing. 😊

  2. Thanks, I need to think about what you’ve said and take a look at how ‘I’ am doing business…

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