You may not call yourself a storyteller, but believe it or not, we are telling ourselves stories every day:
“ My partner has been acting weird lately — is he/she/they angry at me?”
“ My boss sounds so nonchalant in his reply — my work is not well received.”
“ My new dog keeps hiding under my bed — he/she must be scared or unhappy.”
Does any of those sound familiar?
In fact, one of the many mistakes I made when I first started coaching was making assumptions about my clients:
“ She said she was in a tricky financial situation, so she wouldn’t renew with me.” Because of that assumption, I didn’t even make an offer for her to renew.
Making assumptions and buying into our own or others’ stories are easy. And more often than not, they are exactly what keeps us stuck.
We attach meanings to things, thoughts to circumstances. The meanings and thoughts are filters we add to the original image, preventing us to see them as they are.
How can we stop making assumptions and start living a drama-free life?
Here are 3 simple steps to follow for you to untether your mind, drop your assumptions, and live a drama-free life:
Look for Places Where You Feel Stuck
If you’ve been making assumptions most of your life, your brain is already programmed that way. Most likely you won’t even know when you are making assumptions.
The first step is to do an honest check-in with yourself, and see where you feel stuck.
Are you stuck with content creation? If so, what are your thoughts about it?
Do you think it’s hard to make a living with it? Do you think it’s impossible? Do you think it will take a toll on other areas of your life?
Do you find it hard to build new relationships? If so, what are your thoughts about it?
Do you think it takes too much time and effort? Do you think they will hardly work? What are your expectations of these relationships?
Facing the areas of your life where you feel stuck is the gateway to change your brain programming. Write down your thoughts about these areas so you can see them clearly.
Challenge Your Assumptions
This is what coaching is about — challenge your current unintentional model, so you can break it down and build a new intentional model.
Deep, forward-moving, future-oriented questions are the best tools to break down your old model.
Some of my favorite questions that I ask myself and my clients are:
- Is it my opinion, or did I get it from someone else?
- Is it what I really want to think or believe?
- How is it serving me, at present and in the future?
- What facts do I have to prove it true? What facts do I have to prove it untrue?
- What would it be like if the opposite is true?
“A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.” — Oscar Wilde
Agree to Let Go of Control
Let’s face it: Control comes from a place of fear.
It’s based on survival instincts — we are afraid of potential dangers so our brains tell us something to believe to create a false sense of safety.
That’s how we buy into our stories, aka illusions.
Letting go of control means embracing uncertainty. When you are OK with any possible outcomes and are not afraid of any of them, you will drop your assumptions because you no longer need their protection.
I found this process to be more helpful if you make an agreement with yourself, in writing. Write a little contract with yourself to relinquish control and put it in your wallet.
When you start to feel controlling, take it out and gently remind yourself of this agreement.
And please remember to be gentle: Beating yourself up for forgetting is yet another way of perpetrating control.
We need to practice letting go of control with love — the opposite of fear.
BONUS: Stay Mindful to Maintain the Results
You have already come a long way when you get to this step. Remember: Your old model has a very strong pull, and will try its best to hack you whenever it’s triggered.
Staying mindful helps you identity these unhelpful assumptions as they show up, so you can avoid the pitfall and consciously choose to follow your new model.
When you can finally drop your assumptions, you will feel freer, lighter, and more enlightened. Opportunities will take place where there were limitations, and you will start leading a life guided by your untethered mind.