What Story Are You Telling Yourself?

Several years ago, I heard the CEO of a major corporation speak at a leadership conference. He begin his speech by telling us that he wasn’t a “gifted speaker.” He then rambled for a solid hour. Clearly, he was unprepared. It was painful.

A Woman Whispering in a Man’s Ear = Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/bobbieo, Image #216159

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/bobbieo

He had fallen victim to “The Narrator.”

Inside of each of our heads lives a storyteller. He narrates the events of our lives in real time.

But The Narrator does not merely provide play-by-play commentary. No, he specializes in color commentary—constantly offering his opinion about what everything means.

For example, The Narrator inside the CEO’s head had convinced him that he didn’t have a speaking gift (whatever that is). As a result, he didn’t bother preparing. After all, what good would it do? He didn’t have “the gift.”

If he had merely rejected The Narrator’s version and had told himself a different story, he could have experienced a different outcome.

For example, he could have said to himself, I’m not a great speaker—yet. But I can improve. I’m going to work harder to prepare. I really want to have a bigger impact on the people who hear me.

You and I can create a more empowering inner narratives by following five steps:

  1. Become aware of The Narrator. Half the battle is simply waking up and becoming conscious of the commentary running through our minds. Most people are oblivious to it. It is especially important to be alert to it whenever we experience adversity or trauma. Ask: What is the story am I telling myself right now?
  2. Evaluate the story the Narrator is telling. Many people confuse The Narrator’s voice with The Truth. But The Narrator is only offering one perspective, based on previous experiences and—too often—fear. We don’t have to accept the version of reality The Narrator is telling. Instead, we can “Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Ask: Is this storyline accurate?
  3. See the story from a larger perspective. The biblical character Joseph was a man who had a dream and then unbelievable setbacks. I’m sure The Narrator was telling him, Every time something good happens, something worse follows. Get used to it!

    Instead, Joseph saw it from God’s perspective—so much so, that years later he could say to his abusive brothers, “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20). Ask: How does God intend this situation for good?

  4. Affirm what you know is true. You can either live life based on past experiences, current feelings—or transcendent truth. This is why it is important to immerse yourself in the scriptures, to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). As one of my mentors often says, “Most people doubt their beliefs and believe their doubts. Do just the opposite.” Ask: What do I know to be true?
  5. Write a new script. We don’t have to be passive spectators in our stories; we certainly don’t have to be victims. While God is ultimately sovereign, we have agency. (I heard this term for the first time from my friend, Don Miller.) In other words, our choices matter—more than we think! They can affect the outcome. Ask: How can I make the choices that create the best possible story?

When we lose the plot, we we lose our way. Life becomes meaningless. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can take control of the narrative, ask God for wisdom, and tell ourselves a different story—a better story.

Question: What disempowering stories have you told yourself? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Get My New, 3-Part Video Series—FREE! Ready to accomplish more of what matters? 2015 can be your best year ever. In my new video series, I show you exactly how to set goals that work. Click here to get started. It’s free—but only until Monday, December 8th.

Get my FREE video series now!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • http://davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

    This is what I needed to hear this morning, Michael. I’ve been entertaining voices of doubt the past couple days and have gotten discouraged. It’s amazing how you can think yourself into a certain frame of mind. Why not think thoughts that are true and transcendent? Why do we resist this? It’s so much easier to doubt yourself. I think when we doubt ourselves we don’t take responsibility for our performance. We’re “off the hook” in our minds. We can blame our failure on “not having the gift”.

    • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

      I think you touch on a very real connection between doubt and failure. If we refuse to label ourselves as real, experienced, seasoned, and actually knowing what we are doing, then there is no way we can be blamed when something goes wrong, right!?

      • http://twitter.com/jmhardy98 Jim Hardy

        You are correct.


    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      where do you think these voices come from?

      Why do you think these voices come?
      Just curious

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        The world, the flesh, the devil—or God.

        • Momarian

          How often do we travel the same road to work? Well, our minds are like that and the doubts from past experiences are all too often a well known, easy road.

  • http://www.arock4him.blogspot.com Amy Hunt

    Living the way you described has completely transformed my way of living. I now See how All. Is. For. Purpose. (and I write about that), and I’ve discovered the Freedom in living as I’ve been created, versus how I think I *should* live, according to the world. Guarding my heart and transforming my mind has been the biggest disciplines totally worth embarking on, and having the perspective of Seeing my life as a story has been so empowering. 

  • http://www.philippknoll.com Philipp Knoll

    The story we create out of our lives is entirely up to us. We are the ones making our own decisions. For most, and I include myself at this point, is the biggest obstacle to overcome. How can I look at myself if I prepare for that speech but it still doesn’t turn out to be the way I meant it to be? What will happen if I quit my job and do what I’ve been preparing for for years? etc.

    We need to trust that the universe and God have good things at hand for us. I like to compare it to driving your car at full speed. You see a gigantic wall in some distance but keep going because you trust that by the time you reach that point the wall will be gone.

    Overcoming fear is what I had to work at most but it is also the changes that had the biggest impact on my life.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great metaphor, Philipp. Thanks!

      • http://www.philippknoll.com Philipp Knoll

        Thanks, Michael. I’m glad to contribute to the great discussions on your site. It is always a pleasure to be back.

    • http://idoneousurl.tumblr.com/ VerecundAmaranth

       Instead of imagining driving a car at full speed hoping the upcoming wall will come down, I imagine being an eagle with wind beneath my wings soaring above any walls below. Flying into jet planes, now that’s my only concern, but like you, I too try to have confidence that for all the ways I can mess up, doing my best with what I have and some assistance from above, even if I proverbially stumble, won’t be headlong – only my pride will be hurt, but then again I have no pity for it anyway. Being of good cheer, even through fear, still radiates the childlike cheer – and many who likewise fear, yet if they see, may suddenly also become infected by that sincere good cheer. We’re all afraid, but something greater than fear exists – let’s focus on that instead. Had I not, I never would have commented at all. But I did comment, with sincerity, the best I could – and should I stumble because of it, don’t worry, my pride will cushion the fall :)

    • http://twitter.com/jmhardy98 Jim Hardy

      While it’s great to have some tried-and-true methodologies and theories to 
      put into practice, leadership development would never move forward if 
      creative professions weren’t always searching for new ways and new metaphors 
      for helping adults learn, think about the world, develop new skills, and practice 
      new behaviors. For leaders, the best insights often come from other places: athletics; poetry, stories, even brain research! 


  • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

    I have always allowed myself the “growing” label. I’m the new guy on church staff. I’ve only been doing vocational ministry for a few years now. I’ve only been writing for a about a year now. I always label myself as aspiring. Problem is, is that all these things I keep “aspiring” to, I am already doing! I am trying to let that go and be more confident in what I bring to the table without getting arrogant.

    • Sherri

      That’s such a great point, Chris. It’s so important not to measure ourselves by the world’s standards of success. If you are where God has called you to serve then that is success for you. We all need to learn to give back our dreams – aspirations – and let God use them as he sees fit. He always has a better plan than we do.  Blessings on all of your endeavors.

      • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

        So very true Sherri. Thank you!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think there is a fine line between owning who you are and being arrogant. Most Christians I know err on the side of not owning who they really are. Step into it!

      • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

        I’m trying! Thanks Michael!

        • Eccle0412

          I agree with all above and know it in my life. It only took one authority figure in my life to invalidate my additions/ability and I still have to tell myself  I am “worthy” of the position I hold today. 
          It is a warning in a way, too, to not invalidate others contribution.  I find myself very proactive in helping people find their strengths, recognize their weaknesses and live up to their part on the team. It’s what I need/needed.
          Also, comparing myself to someone else keeps me stunted; at work (I don’t do that  like that person), at the gym ( I am in great shape and work hard to keep fit) but I will never be her, at church (some one else could better)… Self inflicted failure from the start.
          So today I am going to be the enCOURAGEr, at work, home, gym, church walking down the street!  And remember, we only need courage when we are being risky.

          • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

            Excellent point. We can never forget that this is just about our own gain, it has to be used to raise others up as well! Thank you for reminding us!

          • http://twitter.com/jmhardy98 Jim Hardy

            The book is a comprehensive look at the role of storytelling in meeting the most important leadership challenges today, including motivate others to action, build trust in you, build trust in your company (branding), transmit your values, get others working together, share knowledge, tame the grapevine, create and share your vision, solve the paradox of innovation, and use narrative to transform your organization. 

      • http://tonychung.ca tonychung

        Haha whereas many of the Christians I’ve encountered were arrogant know it alls more interested in a scriptural food fight than authentic relationship. Fortunately I don’t hold that against all Christians, (nor do I judge those who ascribe to the “I am a worm” theology.) I believe we’re all “Somewhere in the middle” as performed by Casting Crowns. God will wake us all up eventually.

        • Eccle0412

          tweet Andy Stanley this morning, re rows vs pews.  Circles are inclusive.  Rows are about position and who we are “next to” and where “we are in line”. The world is a globe.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Chris, thanks for posting that. I’ve been at my current job for over a year and a half full time, longer part time. I still see myself as the new guy, not as good as the last guy, etc…

      Have you found any strategies to overcoming these type of thoughts?

      • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

        I think you just have to do. It starts with small things like taking words out of about pages and blog posts like aspiring, etc. Begin to show some confidence. Don’t say things like, “I think some people think about themselves more than God.” it’s true! They do! Be confident in how you come across and it will spill over. Good luck!

        • Joe Lalonde

          Chris, thanks for sharing your opinion on this. I think I’ll try some of your suggestions and see if it helps.

          • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

            Absolutely Joe! Good luck!

      • http://tonychung.ca tonychung

        I have often felt that I was out of my element at every job I’ve had in the past four years. Ironically, the one time I felt comfortable was when the company decided to lay off the whole lot of us external contract staff to cut costs.

        I blogged about “In adequacy” during one of my “moments”, as a reminder to leave behind my inadequacy in favor of God’s adequacy.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      Love that Chris. 

      I have tried to not let myself do that with my age. You know, “I am young, so people don’t expect much.”

      But I am trying to work through that stuff myself. 

      • Eccle0412

        or I am too old to be into all the blogs and tweets podcasts I follow…  you youth keep me fresh and growing!

      • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

        Thanks Kyle.

        @dvest hammered that home with me!

    • http://twitter.com/jmhardy98 Jim Hardy

      In their book Made To Stick, brothers Chip and Dan Heath point out that there are factors that make a story ‘sticky’; that make customers stick to it or keep coming back to it, or that make other stakeholders (investors, employees etc.) remember your story and possibly even be drawn to it.The brothers make the case for six factors (in combination) making the difference between what’s memorable and what isn’t:1. Simplicity (any idea over one is too many)2. Unexpectedness (a surprise grabs our attention)3. Concreteness (the more dimensions of details, the more hooks our minds use to create a memory)4. Credibility (even untrue stories don’t stick unless there’s a hint of truth)5. Incite Emotions in Listeners (we remember emotional experiences much more than anything else; we care more about individuals than groups; and we care about things that reflect our identities)6. Combine Messages in Stories

      • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

        Wow Jim! Thats a true nugget right there! Thanks for sharing that!

  • http://www.lionstand.com Jamie (Lionstand)

    I love the principles you lay out here.

    Reading this post reminded me when I read The Traveller’s Gift for the first time about 4 years ago.

    The line that Truman says to David near the beginning of the book, “Where you are financially, emotionally, spiritually and physically is a direct result of the choices you have made.”

    That turned my whole world upside down.

    It gave me a new understanding on personal responsibility that I believe you portrayed very well here.

    Thanks for the reminder this morning Michael.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I loved The Traveler’s Gift. I also had the privilege of publishing it.

      • Cathy Cox

        I just printed that quote and put it up on my wall.  I am in despair right now from  some pretty stressful circumstance in my life over family, finances and physical health. Ultimately it is how I  my choice to keep going, work through the fog and trust God .

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          I would encourage you to read Andy Andrews’ books. They are life-changing in this regard.

          • Bridget

            I agree – Andy is an Inspired Author!  His words are powerful and life changing – all in a nice little fun package that we can all enjoy!  

      • http://www.lionstand.com Jamie (Lionstand)

        That must have been a treat.

    • http://modernservantleader.com/ Benjamin Lichtenwalner

      That is a powerful quote. Thank you for sharing it.

      • http://www.lionstand.com Jamie (Lionstand)

        You’re welcome Benjamin

      • http://twitter.com/jmhardy98 Jim Hardy

        Yes I agree.


    • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

      Just remember, Jamie, that when you totally commit your life along with your heart to Jesus He may take you places that you never would have chosen to go because He has a work for you to do and He must prepare you for that work. Because you willingly go where Jesus leads, blessings will shower upon you and they may not be of the financial kind but of the joy and peace kind or multiple combinations of fruit kind.

      • http://www.lionstand.com Jamie (Lionstand)


        Yes you are right on that one. The ultimate balance in life for me is Romans 8:14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.”

        I like to flip that around as another positive affirmation to tell myself, like Michael was posting this morning, that because I am a son of God, I am therefore led by the Spirit of God.

        • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

          Amen! What great confidence that gives us. But even Paul asked for prayer for boldness.

          One of my very favorite pastors and professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary said that the Holy Spirit is the wind in the sails of your boat. He not only pushes you along, but surrounds you with His power. You have a rudder, and can choose to go against the wind, but it is a lot more work and counter productive.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Beautiful application of Romans 8:14. Thanks.

          • http://www.lionstand.com Jamie (Lionstand)

            You’re welcome Sir.

    • http://twitter.com/jmhardy98 Jim Hardy

      In his book One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez tells us the story of humanity, the humanity of his experience, the primal story of his people. 

  • http://www.dwaynes--world.blogspot.com Dwayne Morris

    Great post! I battle with, “I must not have a message worth sharing as I don’t get a lot of invitations to share (speak.)” I really battle between self-promotion and God’s leadership. I just keep working to improve my skills and learning as much as I can.

    • http://idoneousurl.tumblr.com/ VerecundAmaranth

      “I must not have a message worth sharing as I don’t get a lot of invitations to share (speak.)”

      One needn’t be invited to “speak to gazillion people” in order to feel one has something important to say, when the opportunity to cheer up even a single fellow human being with an uplifting sincere comment always presents itself at any moment. I just now stumbled here, being a newbie all around DISQUS community, and while my “narrator” is mumbling something unintelligible, in the meantime I’m just commenting off the top of my head. So, point being, it’s not the quantity of people we impress with eloquent speeches, it’s the fact we make the time to even just say neighborly “hello” to our proverbial “neighbor” to let them know we care.

      • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

        Amen and Amen!

      • http://www.dwaynes--world.blogspot.com Dwayne Morris

        Thanks for the encouragement! I completely understand your suggestion. In fact, I created a tool that casts your notion in a different light: http://www.creatingcollisions.com

  • Anonymous

    I used to tell myself that my setbacks were other people’s fault . “If only I could have ——- then I would be ———-” is the voice of the negative narrator.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good for you for recognizing it!

    • http://modernservantleader.com/ Benjamin Lichtenwalner

      Blaming others for our failures is also a key contributor to depression. It’s not intuitive, but when people accept responsibility and accountability for results and own their own lives, it is empowering. This makes people wake up and realize they are not powerless, which in turn helps build confidence and fight depression.

      Don’t get me wrong, we certainly cannot control everything and sometimes, bad things happen. However, through Christ, we can do all things – we just need to be more accountable.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        I agree. The one thing we can always control is our reaction. This is one of the great truths I learned from Viktor Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning.

        • http://www.lionstand.com Jamie (Lionstand)

          Love that book.

        • http://twitter.com/jmhardy98 Jim Hardy

          This is a must read for everyone. I heard John Maxwell state that you should read this once a year!


      • http://twitter.com/jmhardy98 Jim Hardy
      • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

        Benjamin, this is very true. Trying to place the blame on others, or on circumstances, can consume our lives, but when we acknowledge our responsibility for our life, then we are empowered to change it.

  • Sherri

    Mike this is such a vivid picture of the struggle Christians face every day. For every mention of the Narrator you can be very blunt and substitute The Enemy. I appreciate your use of scripture here because that is where we find our truth and that is how we win this battle every day – sometimes minute by minute.  Thanks for a great reminder. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The reason I used the Narrator, is because it is broader than The Enemy. I see The Narrator as neutral. Sometimes, he speaks for God. Sometimes, for the world, the flesh, or even the devil. (There are a lot of voices.)

      • Anonymous

        It might be interesting for you to unpack/clarify this statement in a future post if you are so moved. Using a singular “character” as a neutral voice for God, flesh and devil requires a depth of discernment that may or may not exist for many people reading this post–especially those who grew up in the decades where the Holy Spirit all but absent in Christian spiritual teaching. There are such direct similarities to this approach and others like it (i.e. Science of Mind, New Thought, Law of Attraction, etc.) that great care must be taken to hear God’s voice above the din-especially given this singular Narrator metaphor. This level of discernment does not come naturally nor is it a direct result of coming to faith in Jesus. It involves a paradoxical process of letting go and acting boldly. It is where our agency and surrender intermingle in ways that we often cannot plan or understand.

        • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

          This is an excellent point, Joan. Too often newbie Christians have difficulty in discerning the difference between God’s voice and Satan’s voice.

          There are many voices mostly worldly which Satan uses to his advantage. However, God has a distinctive voice if one is practiced at listening for it. 

          • Anonymous

            I believe God tends to be gentle with “newbie” Christians who, in my experience, are less confident and therefore more cautious in their approach to discernment. It is the lifelong Christians who think they do or should have it locked, yet  cannot express the why of their activities/service/vocation/etc in the context of their follwership of Jesus that I am compelled to encourage. I meet many people (young and old) who are serving in a variety of capacities who, when pressed, have no idea why they are doing what they do. “It’s in the Bible” only goes so far since the Word is rich with a variety of activities that we may or may not be called to engage at any given time. For many, this list of possibilities becomes a Chinese menu of personal or skills-based choices rather than a framework within which we are seeking God to understand where we are meant to contribute to that which God will author.  

          • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

            This is exactly why I compiled a study from various sources (Charles Stanley as well as Don and Katy Fortune) about our motivational gifts. Why we are motivated to do the things we do and why we say things, and why we react to situations the way we do. It is very comprehensive, and I promised Katy Fortune that I’d never sell the workbook but give it away with links to her site. The study links are at http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com/2006/01/links-for-whole-motivational-gifts.html

  • http://www.davidfmckee.com David McKee

    This is a particularly appropriate post, for me anyway, this morning.  Just like Steven Pressfield’s “Resistance,” my “Narrator” constantly feeds me lies about myself and my abilities and talents.  It’s always helpful to have this reminder on a regular basis so I can reset my thinking.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    “He lacks confidence to the most enormous degree of all the people in the world. He will not even go to see his rushes. … He always thinks he’s no good.” (Director Vincente Minelli about Fred Astaire)

    If we “immerse ourselves in scripture,” aren’t we merely following a different narrator, namely one that according to our “current feeling” (which may be permanently current and appear to us as divine intuition) reflects some “transcendental truth”? 

    Seems to me that we follow narration no matter what.

  • http://twitter.com/RookieWriter David Barry DeLozier

    That rascal Narrator!  In “The Artist’s Way” Julia Cameron writes of the “internal critic” that plagues writers, artists.  Mine is a stubborn, persistent critic.  Philippians 4:8 is a particularly effective passage for me to bring into discussion with my Narrator.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, great passage of scripture. One of my favorites.

  • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

    As always, right on the money brother!

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    The internal critic is fed greatly by external critics. For me, I’ve found that I need to surround myself with positive and uplifting people. If I am around negative people too much, the voice inside my head changes. It becomes negative. It becomes destructive.

    This was never so apparent as when I was in outside sales. If I would have a bad call, and face rejection, my inner critic would turn on me in an instant. To keep me from pain, he would tell me not to make any more calls, he would tell me to procrastinate. Thank God for a tape player and Zig Ziglar, Og Mandino, and John Maxwell who would keep me going. Zig especially was one of the most positive, Christian voices, you could hear.

    I remember Seth Godin, talking about listening to Zig’s tapes, and how that kept him going. It was the same for me. I owe a lot of success to his positive and uplifting southern voice on some dark and dreary days. He helped me battle those Nattering Nabobs of Negativity!

    • http://idoneousurl.tumblr.com/ VerecundAmaranth

       minor comment regarding allowing external critics access:

      “What other people think of me is none of my business.” -Wayne Dyer

      “When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” -Miguel Ruiz

      “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

      Last and certainly not least – God’s loving constructive opinion ought far outweigh the sum of all small minded critics. IMHO.

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        So true, but so hard to do. I like to picture it with little guys sitting on my shoulders, whispering in my ears. On one side are the negative nabobs, the other side needs to be someone positive. When you combine your negative nabobs with negative people, the force can become unbearable. That’s why I like to surround myself with positive mentors and brush the negative nabobs off.

        I wrote a post about it years ago with some photos of the nabobs themselves… http://goals4u.us/ol82sX

        • http://idoneousurl.tumblr.com/ VerecundAmaranth

           Unfortunately, in my experience, just when I needed positive influence to rely upon, there were those pesky “nabobs” and with no mentors in sight… I agree with everyone who expressed how difficult it is to shed lifetime worth of negative influences deeply ingrained into our hearts and minds – it’s indeed not as simple as flicking a switch and the shadowy phantoms which haunted us suddenly vanish. Still, is very achievable, don’t let anyone persuade you to the contrary.

          There’s another apropos quote – “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s learning to enjoy dancing in the rain” – critics/”nabobs” like a torrential downpour will always be there and usually when least expected. Key is learning how to react in such situations, or more accurately – how NOT to blindly react, and instead firmly yet in humility hold fast to own convictions. We needn’t be correct all the time, we may be utterly flawed, we humbly admit that afterall, but that in no way need to interfere  with how we treat one another in the meantime, kindly, politely, with respect as is due all fellow human beings.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            I love, “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s learning to enjoy dancing in the rain.” In fact, I just tweeted it!

          • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

            I love this quote: “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s learning to enjoy dancing in the rain.”

        • http://twitter.com/jmhardy98 Jim Hardy

          Great post John,

          Thank you


      • Joe Lalonde

        Thanks for the great quotes. I agree that we shouldn’t let others affect us, but it is a hard thing to not let happen.

        I think by surrounding yourself with more cheerleaders than critics, good books, inspiring things that it helps overcome the critics.

        • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

          I agree… not only is it important to have positive thoughts, but it’s also important to surround yourself with people that are positive influencers on your life.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        These are all excellent quotes. Thank you!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Your advice is right-on, John. I try to surround myself with positive and uplifting people and messages.

  • http://fireandhammer.blogspot.com Dennis

    Thanks for another great post; a great start to my week. I first became aware of this narrator a few months ago when I read one of your tweets. You spoke of giving yourself a morning pep talk. As a result I found myself examining what I was saying to myself in the morning. I found a voice that was programmed by the scars of my youth. The message was an echo of the negative feelings that drove my mom into alcoholism, lies which destroy self-esteem from the inside.

    Becoming aware of this narrator has allowed me to make changes. Thank you for advice on dealing with this narrator and for evaluating the message.

  • Lara Krupicka

    So timely! I just took my narrator to task this morning for trying to bog me down in a bunch of half-truths. Another thought that I keep coming back to when I’m faced with feeling “less than” is one I learned from Cec Murphey: “I’m doing the best that I can with where I’m at right now”. I think it echoes Chris Cornwell’s idea of “growing”, but it also acknowledges growth achieved. So whenever I’m feeling like I’m not as good as someone else (hence not good enough), I give myself the grace to do just the best I can in that moment, with the assumption that I’ll be even better at it down the road.

  • Stacey Lozano

    Thank you for this post. Too often I beliee that I don’t have anything too contribute to the conversation even though there are things pressing to get out. This reminder to not choose fear is something I needed to hear right now.

  • http://www.suttonparks.com Sutton Parks

    This is a ‘must read’ post! In Dr. Dan Baker’s book, What Happy People Know, he says we can choose our stories and he challenges the reader to do so. He says the story we tell ourselves is a choice. I re-wrote the story I was telling myself about how I grew up. Instead of my story being a negative one, I changed it to a positive story filled with everything I was grateful for in my youth. This exercise transformed my attitude and feelings and empowered me. Your post is a reminder for me to do the same with current opportunities. Thank you Michael!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I need to pick up a copy of this book. Thanks!

      • http://www.suttonparks.com Sutton Parks

        I would be happy to drop one off or mail you a copy of this book.  It is an amazing book that has had a tremendous influence on my life.  

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Thanks for the offer. I think I’ll just pick up a Kindle version. I am trying to read everything I can on the Kindle, so that I can save the notes and highlights in Evernote.
          Thanks again.

          • http://www.suttonparks.com Sutton Parks

            Yes, great idea!  I need to start doing this.  I recently moved into Nashville and it would have been much easier to carry a Kindle as opposed to boxes and boxes of books.  I appreciate your blog and just gave a friend a copy of your ebook, “Creating Your Personal Life Plan”.  Thanks for all you do!

          • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

            I’ve started reading a lot more on my Kindle, and I’m really happy that Michael did a post on how to extract my notes and highlights from my Kindle page.

      • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

        It does sound like a great book!

  • http://bit.ly/hWr7Cw Rob T

    My narrator sounds like the voice from Dos Equis. 
    Good post, thanks for the reminder!

  • http://modernservantleader.com/ Benjamin Lichtenwalner

    Failure is an Event, NOT a Person or Attribute: I recently re-read this from Zig Ziglar. He pointed out that too often, we think a failure defines us or an attribute about ourselves. In reality, a failure is nothing more than an event – something in the past. Subconsciously. I think we often need reminding of this.

    Another great post, thanks for sharing Mike!

    • Joe Lalonde

      Benjamin, that is true. I love how much truth is packed into that little sentence.

  • http://bloggingwithamy.com Amy Lynn Andrews

    Just what I needed today. Thank you.

  • Bridget

    Great post Michael.  I have heard this before, but never from the biblical perspective that you have laid out here.  “Maximum Achievement” by Brian Tracy discusses this content in great detail and outlines additional ways that you can overcome not only what you tell yourself, but what you were told as a child by your teachers, your parents and your bosses. I would encourage all parents and teachers and employers to consider the impact that their words have on their children and students and employees. 
    Here is an example of how it impacted me:  Years ago I went to work for a Piano store.  I played piano often, but I never liked to play in front of anyone.  I often froze and couldn’t play like I could while I was alone with my thoughts.  Now that I had the job of selling  pianos, I had no choice but to play in front of my customers when they requested a demo.  I tried to learn the simple piece of music that my boss wanted me to demo to the clients.  It was much easier to play than most of the music I was playing at home, but I struggled to play while she was around.   I tried to overcome it during the next few weeks.  One day in a staff meeting in front of everyone, my boss told me that my demo “sucked”.  ( Now you know why I hate that word!)  I gave up and just told people I didn’t know how to play at all.  You don’t have to play to sell pianos so I went on to be very successful denying that I ever could play a note.  I eventually left the little local store and went on to sell pianos all over the country where I met and learned from more successful salespeople.  Guess what?  They were demonstrating the piano with the same music I was playing in my living room.  “Well, I could do that!” , I thought! I started to play the music that I loved and I developed my sales ability and my piano skills over the next 2 years.I became one of the top salespeople in the country.    I eventually went back to that little store and sat down at one of the grand pianos and began to play.  My old boss was on the phone when I came in and she came back to see who was playing.  She was shocked to see me playing.  She said “how did you learn to play the piano like that in just two years?”  I told her that I always knew how to play, but I couldn’t in front of you because I had convinced myself that “I sucked” when she was around.    The power of your words on another person is sometimes something they will never overcome!  Choose them wisely!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I loved this story. What a great example of these principles. Thank you.

      • Bridget

        Thank YOU for bringing this important discussion to the forefront today.  I can see from the posts that it is a timely reminder to all of us!

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

    The Narrator — a great metaphor.

    Another verse to add to the idea is Proverbs 23:7: “for as he thinks within himself, so he is”

  • Rwojnaro

    Love this post! Saw “The Help” last week with my husband. This post reminded me of “You is kind, you is smart, you is important.”

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      We saw The Help this weekend. I loved that scene!

  • Pingback: Owning what you “know” you know | Uncaged Birds™()

  • Judy

    I’m just beginning to learn all the Narrator tells me on a daily basis.  Reading Self Talk Soul Talk by Jennifer Rothschild is tranforming my days!  Besides understanding, she gives you actual statements (Soul Talk Starters) that in the midst of telling youself some bad things, you can grab one of them to say to youself instead.  All based in scripture – What GOD says about me!  Incredtible!  Workbook also takes a step deeper.

  • http://www.betterhealthtoday.co Kay Wilson

    Thank you for this post Michael.  A few careless words from a mentor convinced me that I was not a leader and for years I struggled with the negative narrator in my head.  It affected business and is only now becoming a positive strength again. 

  • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

    One of the things that The Narrator has been telling me in the past few years is that the decisions I made 10 years ago are holding me back today… the college I chose to attend, the degree that I got, etc.

  • http://twitter.com/toddanderica Erica McNeal

    This is great Mike – thanks for sharing! Potentially the Narrator needs to go from Satan whispering doubt to the Holy Spirit’s gentle guidance!

  • Anonymous

    It is so much easier to passively accept The Narrator’s version of the truth than to rewrite that truth in light of God’s perspective and Truth.  

    Much like the process of writing, rewriting is the challenge.  Being willing to cut some details, tweak other details and write in new details.  All of these take courage.  A willingness to bleed.  Living out the Truth requires similar courage and perseverance. 

    The Narrator – that internal voice of years of criticism and doubt – is so much louder than God’s still small voice.  That’s why you’re right, Michael; we really need to immerse ourselves in the Scriptures.  We need to rewire our hearts, our souls, our minds so that God’s truth is our compass.

    For too long I have believed the lie that writing is not something we (my family) do; it’s what others do.  You cannot make a living as a writer.  You can do it as a hobby.  You can do it as an aside.  But you, no you must have a j-o-b with benefits and retirement options.

    But that’s not *my* story.  That is *their* story.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Thanks for this encouragement!

  • John

    I never thought I would ever find myself battling for two years a storyline that keeps replaying in my mind that “I am weak, pathetic and needy” — words that were said to me by someone very close and quickly became firmly implanted in my psyche.  God has been guiding me out of this dark time, but it has been painful and slow.  Your blog has been a real encouragement as I rebuild the truth about who I really am and who I see myself to be.  

  • http://www.CFinancialFreedom.com Dr. Jason Cabler

    Whenever I hear those doubt laden scripts in my inner thoughts I immediately recognize that as the enemy and quickly ask God to get them out of my head and not let my thinking and my spirit be cluttered by that nonsense.  That is the first and most immediate action you can take to make sure that your mind doesn’t get clouded.

  • Jack Lynady

    Good stuff right here. One thing I do is “test the fruit of it”. I play out the scenario of what the Narrative is saying. Will it lead to life, freedom, love? Or will it lead to fear, bondage, division? What will be the eventual fruit of following this Narrative? It doesn’t always bring clarity but often it will.

  • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

    Several years ago I had to reassess my inner dialogue, and not just how I talked to myself but also what things I thought about. It was truly an eyeopener for me to see what I did with thoughts that kept popping up. I finally had to completely redecorate my mind, steam cleaning all the walls and unlocking some doors to let Jesus in every corner. I put up different wallpaper with Jesus all over it so that those wayward thoughts would fizzle. I prayed David’s prayer asking God to guard my thoughts and my tongue.  Every time an ugly thought wafted through my newly decorated mind I would take it to God and lay it on the altar determined to leave it there. It was hard then, but today I’m free. Slowly, the thought pathways were rerouted, and now it is much easier. God knows every thought anyway, so why not take it directly to Him and ask Him to remove that kind of thought process?

  • Tom

    Excellent blog!! It is very similar to a talk I’ve done called “The Power of the Lie”. The enemy doesn’t want us to know the freedom we have in Christ and wants to enslave us to wrong thinking. The lie says that there is another option besides what God said and you will experience a greater outcome and benefit if you do not always believe what God said because God really meant something else for someone else, but for you it is different.

    The Lie: If I only had… (fill in the blank) I would feel better about life and be more satisfied.

    The Truth: 2 Peter 1:3-4 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
    Ephesians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

  • Rebecca

    I am so grateful for your encouraging words today. Thank you.

  • Joe Lalonde

    Powerful message Michael. This is something God has been hammering me with lately. I’ve been hard on myself most of my life and let the Narrator give the color commentary. Some of the things it has said is that I’m not good enough, those people over there are laughing at you, you can’t speak well, you’re not smart enough…

    I’m learning to control that voice and not let it control me. I’m filling myself with positive books, stories, music, friends, etc.. It’s slow going. After 30 years, it’s like turning a big ship. But it’s turning and I can see changes.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      This is something that I read earlier this year in “The Executive and the Elephant,” a book that Michael recommended… putting positive messages in your mind is important to your well-being and to your productivity.

  • http://connectingdotstogod.com/ Judy Allen

    I woke up this morning feeling a bit burdened by a situation that must be resolved this week.  As I was running I realized that I could choose to change my thinking from an Eeyorish “Oh dear…what am I going to do…” to “Hey!  I get to watch how God will help me resolve this problem!”  Then I read your blog and realized that I had narrated for myself a hopeful adventure story instead of a gloomy tale of fear and dread.  Thank you. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good for you, Judy. This is a perfect example of what I am talking about.

  • http://twitter.com/multipurp0sem0m Stacey Westbrook

    The Narrator sounds a lot like the enemy….and this post sounds a lot like me …thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Greg-Oonaugh-Wood/532511954 Greg Oonaugh Wood

    I recently changed from “I am terribly with names.” To I am working hard to remember names.”  I have found this to be great as I am given a little bit of slack if I do forget a name BUT it is also easier to remember names because it is NOT something I am terribly at.

    I would often forget an audience volunteer’s name half way through a trick.  Since I was “terrible with names” it was expected of me AND BY me.  Now I am always improving and I continue to work at it.  I no longer EXPECT to forget a name.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Love it. Much more empowering.

  • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

    Have been struggling with the “narrator” lately myself. Either that or I’ve lost the plot. Still know my place in eternity. But the short story is a little vague. Wondered if this was my start of a midlife crisis. Ha!

    But I guess it’s just a season that has to play out. Love that fact that we have a choices to make and those choices matter on a large scale. “How can I make the choices that create the best possible story?” Great reminder. 

    Thanks for sharing!
    Great timing.

  • http://www.wol.ca/staff/lyons Charlie Lyons

    Before recently beginning a change, I was of the mindset, “I have too many things to do in a day. I will always have too many things to do in a day. Therefore, Charlie, don’t try so hard. There will always be too much to do.” After having committed to making life different and reading a couple of EXCELLENT books (“Principle of the Path” by Andy Stanley and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey) and planning on more excellence in literature over the next several months, I have begun to look differently on the “number of tasks” I have and am starting to shift paradigms from a “Quadrant I” to a “Quadrant II” emphasis.

    BTW, the catalyst for all this change in my life was reading your post, Michael, on the “Ideal Week.” That adjusted my outlook on life so much and has changed much for the better in so many areas of my life. Thank you, Michael!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I’m so glad, Charlie. Thanks for this report.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4GU5M5KF3CBHBPVJK7JSD4TASM Michael

    What a wonderful discussion. The Narrator in my head is screaming with excitement. (One of my favorite characters from the Winnie the Pooh stories is the Narrator. As an additional side note, my personal Narrator sometimes becomes audible and my daughter makes fun of me.) The original post was motivating and exciting, but the replys and shared discussions were mind blowing. I can not possibly reply to everyone’s post. Great job. Mr. Cornwell’s ‘label ourselves as real, experienced, seasoned, and actually knowing what we are doing, then there is no way we can be blamed when something goes wrong’ statement is my favorite. The quote from the Traveler’s Gift helps me to understand how and why I am in the place that I am however, I wish to keep my eyes forward. I recently lost my favorite job. I am now looking for new employment. It is my own fault because I prayed that God would be clear as to what He wanted me to do in my career. We should not be surprised when God answers our prayers. He has taken great care with me. I am excited to see what He has planned for me. My personal internal conflict is to identify the Voice of the Narrator in my head; Satan’s, the Lord’s or my own. Satan’s voice usually sounds convincing and my voice is usually loud and quick. The Lord’s Voice is soft, loving and true. I am always curious that I find what I’m looking for in the last place I look.  

  • http://www.yuzzi.com Rick Yuzzi

    Excellent post. Yes, our inner critic can sometimes be our worst enemy when faced with a challenge or something outside our comfort zone.

  • http://twitter.com/gljones01 Greg Jones

    Michael, It is my belief that this is one of the best posts you have ever had. This is something that I believe everyone struggles with. The illustration of the CEO who had declared himself to be a poor public speaker is one that I see every day at my job in corporate America. I work with many people who have poor views of some of their job skills and thus have put a lid on their potential. 
    For myself, I never really saw myself as a leader. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started to see myself in that way. After I got married, my wife said to me, “Why wouldn’t you be a leader?” That was a pivotal moment for me. It helped to break a cycle of lies that I believed and has propelled me into seeing myself as more than just a Senior Financial Analyst. I also believe it is a fulfillment for me of 2 Corinthians 10:5 (taking every thought captive and making it obdient to Christ). While God is still in the process of showing me His vision for me, career-wise, it is becoming more and more evident to me that people, including myself, have far greater abilities to lead (in the home, work, community) than they tell themselves. So, they should tell themselves!Great post!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Greg. I appreciate your kind words.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Greg, thanks for the encouraging comment.

  • http://tonychung.ca tonychung

    During college, my piano teacher often countered my “I can’t do this” attitude with a reminder from the “Inner game” series of books. Those books spoke of an outer reality that others see, compared to the inner reality within our own minds. I must confess that while I have not read any of those books, I try to remember that I have the most control over the inner reality: I can write my own story.

    Thanks for the timing of your post, Michael. This morning, David McLean at http://www.wholeheartedmen.ca sent a devotional about “can’t” being a swear word. A central illustration is where his young son struggles to build a structure. Instead of giving up, he reminds himself, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

    This is a very powerful truth that all need to hear. 

    I thin some might confuse this with the “you can be whatever you want” sentiments but I think this is so much bigger in the fact that you are talking about the idea of doing great things but working to do great things. That is important in my mind. For a long time it was all about the dreams you want to do but never about the work it would take to get there. So when we magically cannot give a standing ovation type speech our narrator starts telling us that we are not a good communicator. 

    I want to start to train my narrator to speak to me more about the work instead of the results. 

  • Eccle0412

    are you validated in the response to this post? Influence is powerful and exponential.

  • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

    I just recently started recognizing some of the narrations I was listening to that aren’t true. It’s been affecting my leadership and my ministry, and I’m taking steps even this week to stop listening to them and start stepping out and doing those things that I wouldn’t do before because i felt I wasn’t good at it. Thanks for this post, Michael!

  • Anonymous

    Fear, doubt, and lack of preparation – You nailed me. 

    I like how you don’t just say we need more “positive self affirmation”, which is what so many motivators seem to do.

    Instead you take this back to God as the source of Truth to evaluate what’s really true or not.

    Great post!!

  • http://www.briandshelton.com Brian D. Shelton

    Michael – your anecdote reminds me of this fantastic quote from the late Steve Prefontaine: “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”  So true. 

  • http://www.jdeddins.com JD Eddins

    This is great advice.   I work at a drug treatment center for young men and know from personal experience as well as the lives of over 600 young men who have been through our doors that unless you change you story the Narrator has been leading you on up to this point then things will never get any better.  Remember, only you with the power of God, can defeat The Voice.

  • Carmenerichards

    Thank you for your message today Michael. I don’t know why after thirty years of Christian experience, I am still surprised when the Holy Spirit uses the thing you least expected to speak directly to my situation. I have struggled with the paralyzing narrative of, lack of formal education and unique voice or something to say which has not already been said. Of course it is the word of God which countermands all our fears and doubts, and reminds us, everything we are and do has its source in Him. Ephesians 2:10 – thanks for the encouragement to do our part and prepare for our work, be it writing, speaking or waiting tables. The results belong to God.

  • http://www.shannonmilholland.blogspot.com Shannon Milholland

    This is solid truth, Michael.  We all have a tape which plays in our heads.  I love the way you titled it the “Narrator”.  The narrator of the story often doesn’t play a direct.  We have a choice to listen or not.  We decide how much power the narrator has.  Very empowering!

  • http://twitter.com/ashleighallen Ashleigh Allen

    Love it! This was really encouraging. Thanks for such a great breakdown of how to take every thought captive for Christ!

  • http://findingforwardmotion.com Tony Elam

    I am basing my self employment of of this concept so to speak.  Even though I am doing my best to help others I am still quite aware of the junk I tell my self sometimes.  I think to often that no one is listening, or there is someone so much better for the job.  I think who will listen to me?  I ended up nearly homeless due to what I told myself.  I have to constantly work at it, but that’s what I tell others.  I hate hearing I am “I am too old”, or “I am too young” or some other bad script.  I love #4 in this post it’s one of my favorites.  I love the way you frame that.  Good post, thanks!

  • http://leftrightorg.wordpress.com/ Brittany

    The most important question you pose is this:  Is this storyline accurate? My priest often says that we are quick to tell ourselves the stories we want to hear in order to feel better about ourselves and the world we live in. I have to agreed. After all, in this world of social media, spinning and promoting the best versions of ourselves, or further, our stories, has become second nature.  In fact, its very likely that the CEO you heard speak wasn’t  so much doubting his ability to speak, but instead had told himself a very inaccurate (read: inflated)  “story,”  one in which he was the star and infallible and therefore did not need to prepare for the speech because he was so wonderful after all. 

    We avoid conflict so often cut ourselves off from people that hold up a mirror  in order that our true selves might be revealed. Because of this, I think it’s important that we’re intentional about surrounding ourselves with critics and encouragers, in addition to Scripture and our internal narration. This is especially true for people in positions of leadership — they must be willing to have accountability and not just be surrounded by individuals that will stroke their ego. 

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Sometimes we tell ourselves these stories in order to excuse ourselves from the consequences of our actions.

  • Becky

    Brennan Manning calls the Narrator the “Impostor” …. (in his book, Abba’s Child)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Brennan is such a wonderful author. My concept is a little different, in that The Narrator isn’t positive or negative; he’s neutral. He can be the voice of encouragement—if we train him.

  • http://www.thegiftofmondays.com/ colleen laquay urbaniuk

    great advice.  along with The Narrator is his brother The World who loves to offer advice and limitations as well. i’ve always told my boys, don’t listen to the world and what it says you can’t do.  focus on the gifts God has given you and choose your attitude toward life.  our choices and our attitude towards them make all the difference!

  • http://www.ConflictRemedy.com Lorraine Segal

    This is such valuable information about the power of stories. One approach I take to helping people deal with conflict, is to look at emotional triggers (hot buttons). A piece of this relates to becoming conscious of the story we’re telling ourselves about the other person; then choosing to replace the negative story with another possibility thats more positive. I find this very valuable for myself and clients.

  • Canderson

    So true. And so important for all of us to reflect on.
    I love this short talk by Andy Murray and the commercial included in the video.
    Beware the Voices

  • http://ericspeir.com/ Eric

    What a great post! I was just thinking about this very thing this past week. I was in the middle of preparing to take a big test and I was discouraged because it was hard and I did not feel prepared. I took a break from studying and started making a list of the people that I wanted to thank that has helped me to study for it. In the process it built my confidence and I passed the test the first time!

  • Jolie101415

    A long time ago, when my marriage was falling apart, I became depressed because I could not imagine how I could live another story, much less a story of possibility. I felt as though the waters were raging around me while hanging onto the thinnest of trees bending in the wind.  Hanging on for dear life _was_ the story I lived for a long time until I realized I had to not look behind me, trust each moment in front of me, go forward not expecting giant leaps but measured steps that would keep me on the road even when I felt I was faltering. Making difficult decisions (to end a destructive marriage) no matter what my old story told me and not necessarily believing I could do it but knowing God  could. 

    Today, I sit back realizing that I have happiness in my hand and it rarely flies away. I don’t have what I thought I would have at this age (not things) but still satisfied in my soul. I have projects and things I believe in that benefit others (books for inmates project and video project of ‘God Experiences’ of others who have let God change their lives, also). I can see the mistakes I have made through bad choices but I can also see God’s hand in getting me through it all. 

    As M. Scott Peck says in “The Road Less Traveled”. Life is difficult!   At times……

  • http://shellywildman.net Shelly Wildman

    Oh wow, do I need this right now. I am going back to work tomorrow after a 5 year hiatus. I teach college writing, and for some reason I have been listening to the voice that tells me that I’ve been out of the classroom for much too long, that I won’t be able to connect with the students, that I’m not smart enough to do this. My husband and kids have been a wonderful support, but those voices . . . 

    Thank you so much for writing this. I really needed to read it tonight.

    • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

      By now, you’ve been back and hopefully it’s been awesome. If you get a chance, fill us in.  :)  Blessings.

  • http://twitter.com/mgdobishinsky Michael Dobishinsky

    I am powerfully drawn to the story of Joseph in the Bible. The script he seemed to be following looked like it always would end in defeat. But God used his story to do powerful things for His people and bear witness to us generations later.

  • VGilmore

    WOW! Very powerful! I have NEVER responded to an online post or blog before, so, here goes. I want to be a writer, a successful author. However, I don’t believe I am any good at writing. I feel like my dreams and goals are far bigger than I am, and I will never accomplish any of them.

    • VGilmore

      That being said, I am a great writer, and am now trying to retrain my mind to KNOW the truth about my gifts and talents.

      • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

        Sometimes you just have to train yourself to believe the truth.

  • Kim Tisdale

    This is my pet peeve.  I hear speakers do this all the time.  I think they think they have to do this to get praise at the end via …. “Oh no, you are an excellent speaker” “Why would you say you are a bad speaker?”  Or if they are unprepared or don’t know their content… they get forgiveness because they are out of their element.  What they don’t realize is the content is lost because the audience shifts focus from quality of content to quality of delivery.  

    There is a delicate balance.  I don’t need a juggler or stand up comic to keep my attention.  I want a subject matter expert with a passion for their topic.  I’ve all but stopped attending breakout sessions at technical conferences even when I pay for them.  I go by, pick up the documentation, and read it to myself.  I much perfer the voice in my head to the monotone drone reading their powerpoint word for word. “Bueller…. Bueller”

    I preface these comments with the fact that I’m afraid of heights so I’ll step off my soap box now… have a great week! 


    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      I hate it when people read their PowerPoint slides word-for-word.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        That is the worst. There should be a law!

  • Gordon Moen

    I appreciated your thoughts on the narrative we tell ourselves and its influences.  I sent a copy to my son to encourage him to have more positive storyline in his life as he returns to school to work towards his life goal.  Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/Loralea123 Loralea Seale

    Don’t forget that the Narrator often speaks in the first person, and sounds a lot like our own voice.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great point! That’s true.

  • http://twitter.com/SharleneSones Sharlene Sones

    Great comments — I’m getting to this late in the game but have a couple of thoughts to add:

    I love your points, Michael. Sometimes as Narrator we’re not consciously aware of the stories we tell ourselves. It took me over 30 years to understand I told myself “I’m not a good test taker.”  But, as you point out, it gets easier to identify some of these stories once we become aware of the framework at play.  Just paying attention to the my own “self-talk” tends to reveal a lot! But, feedback from others can be very helpful (actually, i find indispensable as long as it’s with a trusted source). As Narrator we do have a viewpoint that’s often not reflected by “the audience” if you will. How others see us and the stories told about us can be important (and liberating) to understand.

    All this is self-reflection can be further complicated by the fact that our stories are often deeply rooted in our core values and beliefs. I find the best way to shut people down is to challenge a belief!  Yet, that’s part of what we’re called to do — awareness of our narrative can help us decide what to keep and what to shed.  Get the big red pen. You are the author of your story and you can edit away.  I do this kind of work with organizations and entrepreneurs — and it’s amazing how it holds fast and true:  we are the stories we tell.

    I’d urge you to check out Annette Simmons.  “The Story Factor” is one of the classics for organizational storytelling.  And the bonus: she’s a gem.

  • Miked

    Great story and ideas…. Take God and the bible out of your comments. The message gets lost a bit by all the preaching. Let people decide their own thoughts on religion and keep the great lessons coming.

  • mdmaurer

    Yes, falling victim to “The Narrator” is something I catch myself doing. I love how you describe it here.  Good points to think about. #2 is highlight for me. Comparing it to Truth is what I needed to hear today. Thanks!

  • Willi Haemel

    Thank you again for this timely reminder. Everything went south in a hurry yesterday as I “bought into” the script of my narrator on what I was witnessing. How do we see? I realised a short while ago it was not with my eyes, but with my mind. With a life times collection of what I have heard, seen, bought into, and “judgements” (meanings I have ascribed to)  I have made about all of these experiences.  This, I believe is the challenge of being transformed by the renewing our minds. Thank God He is with us daily to give us HIS perspective, His truth on what is really transpiring. 

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Mike! As I read this post, I am reminded of the saying by Winston Churchill during World War-II: “Sure I am, this day we are masters of our fate, that the task which has been set before us is not above our strength; that its pangs and toils are not beyond our endurance. As long as we have faith in our own cause and an unconquerable will to win, victory will not be denied us.”

  • Itzach Stern

    “The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days waiting for better ones ahead.” and the quote simply portray how important it is to live our lives to the fullest, eat ice cream, long distance walk, chat, laugh now because to live is to cherish.

    quotes about letting go

  • Pingback: » The voices in your head… Joe Iovino()

  • Jrbdanish58

    Michael, new to your website & blog. Found it in the middle of the night and could not stop reading. I’m 59 and aware a change is coming into my life. This article helped me understand the difference between the narrator and navigator. Which am I going to follow? Thank you!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Welcome to my blog. I really like your nomenclature: “navigator” vs. “narrator.”

  • Mike Fairman

    Trying to imagine how much better my life and the lives of all those whom I love would be if we all followed this advice.

  • Gmpresley

    Think you, Michael

  • Pingback: Leadership & Productivity « Kanakuk Institute()

  • Dee

    i have tried many different avenues in my life , some time appears to have failed sometimes i can see why other times i cant. I am taking things easy as i am losing my sight but still dont want to do nothing , when these times of failure come its very diffcult to stay positive i have had many times of feeling like gviing up my narrator is saying whats the point someone or something will mess it up for you. This time im talking my positively to myself saying take your time dont panick and dont get near your goal and throw it rather than lose it just go through it x i guess im learning ot trust myself sometimes im utterly surprised when people believe in me more than i do , so heres to working it out 
    sorry for they typo im a touch typer x 

  • Pingback: A 5-Part Recipe for Solving Almost Any Problem | Michael Hyatt()

  • Pingback: How to Solve Almost Any Problem (Hopefully) | RAKESH()

  • Pingback: How to Solve Almost Any Problem | RAKESHASHOK()

  • Pingback: Maynia: Habits, the good news « thinkproductive.co.uk()

  • Pingback: Favourite Links Friday: 9 fantastic posts to check out!()