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Exercise: Put Your Stories in a Jar on the Shelf

Exercise: Put Your Stories in a Jar on the Shelf
A jar of stories that no longer serve you

Instead of New Year’s resolutions, I’m trying something new this year: putting stories that no longer serve me in a physical jar on a physical shelf where I can plainly see them. The jar will serve as a constant reminder throughout the year of internal refrains that I will no longer allow myself to use. They are stuck in the jar and cannot come out.

This is the plainest definition of “getting out of your own way” that I know of.

I’m not talking about severe trauma stories here, that’s a whole other situation that needs very specific help. I’m talking about limiting thoughts that we’ve told ourselves for years. These may seem benign, but they must be put at bay in order to move forward. These are stories that drag us down every day and give us a reason to not try as hard as we need to try, to not put ourselves out there fully.

We all have these stories. Perhaps you’ve always thought other people were just more lucky than you. More naturally physically fit, more naturally disciplined, had a better upbringing, more guidance. Maybe you think you’re too disorganized, too distracted, too busy. You got picked last in gym class, you were bullied, marginalized, a late bloomer, a nerd, an outcast. Other people have it better, have it easier, have gotten the big breaks, have more natural talent, money, and more support than you. Maybe you had a bad break, a rough start. Things didn’t go your way. You are sure that you have it different than others. You might think people you admire and aspire to be don’t have or didn’t have to go through whatever is holding you back.

These are the stories that we need to write down and put in the jar. We need to take them out of our internal dialogue this year, physically.

Here are a few of mine:

  • Other people that have started their own businesses did so because they banked big wins or have big inheritances that I don’t have and will never get
  • I’m just not super organized or disciplined naturally so I’m destined to fail
  • I only went to an average college and also have no advanced degrees which puts me behind everyone else
  • Nobody taught me about a growth mindset as a kid, I had no idea and wasted so many years because of that
  • I never seriously played sports or any other extracurriculars as a kid so I’m late to the party on really pushing myself or failing
  • If I fail at my business I will lose everything and never recover
  • People with financial success and independence are just cut from a different cloth, that’s not me or I’m not worthy of that

And so on and so forth.

Physically writing these out. Physically cutting each little strip out and folding it and putting it in this clear mason jar is a cathartic, real experience that I strongly recommend.

I created a worksheet for you to do this on your own, you can download that below once you sign up for the newsletter. Let’s see how many stories you can pull out of your mental repertoire and put into that jar on the shelf. Let me know how it goes!

Joel