Cut your story short before it becomes a drama 

When it was all over, he couldn’t believe the agony that he put himself through.

In need of a new swing coach, the college golfer contacted a well-known instructor. The instructor asked for his tournament resume, bio and some swing videos, and promised to get back to him quickly.

The player, a client of mine on a U.S. scholarship, emailed the information without delay.

As the days ticked by without a reply, the young man’s mind began spinning. Anxiousness gave way to resignation, and he figured the coach was unimpressed and decided against taking him on.

The next day, the player received an email from the teacher, who apologized for the delay in getting back to him, citing a busy road trip. And, sure, he’d love to start working with him.

We’ve all done it. As I wrote last week about members of my university golf team creating stories about being doomed to miss putts, it’s human nature to torture ourselves with stories.

It usually happens when we hoping for a particular outcome. One thought leads to more thoughts, which leads to intense feelings until we’re spinning in a vortex of drama.

To resolve what’s going on, we create a story. It’s the way we make sense of the world. For example:

  • ‘Obviously, he doesn’t want to work with me’
  • ‘She doesn’t love me’
  • ‘I’m too inexperienced for this job’*
  • ‘He won’t return my calls because he’s angry with me’

As my client’s story illustrated, creating stories in our heads puts us through all kinds of hell. Sometimes, there’s a nugget of truth to the story, or nothing at all. Almost invariably, however, whatever transpires to be the truth is far less catastrophic than what we conceived in our story.

These stories can cause us much turmoil, and even damage ourselves, relationships and our careers. On global level, these stories become beliefs that can cause strife, violence and wars.

Preventing these stories from becoming spectacular dramas starts with becoming aware that you’re in a story. You can even ask yourself, ‘Am I in a story?’

Just by noticing provides you with distance from the story. It’s like you become a witness to what’s going on. Rather than being in the centre; you are now outside of it. As the witness, you can detach from it, which allows you let go of the story, and get on with your life.

You can even have compassion for yourself with a helpful thought. For example:

  • ‘I wish Bill would get back to me. But until he does, I’ll focus on something else.’
  • ‘That’s a drag that I didn’t get the job. They probably found someone who was a better fit.’
  • ‘Another missed putt. Oh well, I’ll make one eventually.’

In case you think that top performers are immune from creating stories, I can assure you they are not, especially under pressure. They spin crazy tales too, but they become aware of what’s going on sooner and respond more quickly.

Then they focus on the task at hand and execute.

And whatever happens … happens.

What can you do?

  • Ask: I am caught in story?
  • Witness it … let it go
  • Get on with things
If you’re interested in stepping more into the golf and life that you really want to lead, I would love to empower you. I encourage you to contact me about a complimentary 45-minute private coaching session.