Your story, their story and the truth

A friend of mine is going through a hard time with someone close to her. While discussing it with another friend, she lamented about the different versions of events floating around.

Our friend said, “You have to understand, there’s your story, their story and the truth.”

Wise words for sure and ones we need to remember in all areas of our lives, including the workplace. We tell ourselves stories at work all the time. The reason someone was promoted before us, why we didn’t win a contract (or did win a contract), the reason our co-workers like us, what makes us a good leader, and hundreds more

The important thing we need to remember is we are never objective in our stories. We never see reality, or “the truth” as my friend called it. The facts that make up our stories are always perceived through a lens comprised of our values, beliefs, experience, background, and more. This affects the way we view ourselves and others.

As members of teams and leaders we need to keep this in mind because our stories influence the way we treat others and make decisions.

That’s way it is a valuable skill to be aware of what stories you’re telling yourself and why. Why do certain stories make you feel valued? Why do others make you feel slighted or not appreciated?

Because stories are the dominion of feelings, people hold onto them tightly. Our stories say something about ourselves, they justify our being and actions. And no one wants these to be attacked.

A story is never “right” or “wrong”, but it can have multiple interpretations. You don’t need to let go of a story, but you can change how you listen to it.