How many old stories continue to be a part of your inner dialogue? When is the last time you tried something new? Recent conversations have highlighted how important creating new stories is in creating a happier and more fulfilled life.  Instead of accepting dated and often limiting beliefs, trying new activities allows us to  to see and enjoy new parts of ourselves.

Have you ever found yourself uttering statements like, “I don’t do that”, or “I’m no good at that” ? Chances are good you are guilty of cheating yourself out of a bigger life.

At the age of 69, Donna McCracken was sure she was no artist. When however  an acquaintance invited her to a painting class, she gamely accepted. There she found  a skilled instructor, encouraging class mates, and a chance to build new skills.  Six years later, McCracken’s home overflows with her work and is bought by those who appreciate her talents.  She has found a passion she didn’t realize existed, simply by saying yes to an invitation. She  also changed her beliefs about her artistic talents and yes, her story.

What do Pole Dancing, Rock Climbing and Cooking Have in Common?

Christie Murray is a successful entrepreneur who runs a busy, in demand hair salon from her home. Her bubbly, infectious laugh, and  genuine interest in her clients results in frequent invitations to activities and events. Eight years ago, one such invitation came via a “girl’s night out” group activity, a pole dancing class. Despite some hesitation she nevertheless accepted the invitation. What she found went far beyond her preconceived notions. Physically demanding as well as artistic, it is now a part of her everyday life. Since the first class she not only took more, but has gone on to teach them. She attends competitions and travels out of country to train with professional coaches. There is no doubt when talking to her, that she has discovered an interest that has challenged and changed her ideas about her own physical and mental capabilities.

Upon the end of “Cathy’s” marriage in her 30’s, she felt a need to challenge herself , and break out of her shell. She accepted an opportunity to rock climb. To her surprise, she found the physical challenge, coupled with the solo skills much more to her preference. She no longer considers herself non-athletic. Rather, her identity now includes the story of her physical strength and preference of outdoor sports instead of school team sports.

And men, rest assured there are similar stories for you. How about the corporate executive who decided to become a breakfast cooking virtuoso? Browsing websites, watching food shows and reading cookbooks, he has developed a taste (sorry, I couldn’t resist) for mastering egg dishes of all kinds.

Or consider the science PhD. student who in his spare time dabbles in creating a story-line for a group of friends and the board game characters he created.

No one comes to these activities with a story that they are already skilled. They accept and have adopted the credo, nothing ventured nothing gained.

Sit down with any of them and you will see the sparkle in their eye and hear their sense of accomplishment. They tell the tale of new skills and interests and each, in their own way, a new story of who they are.

So, tell me, are you open to new-found stories or are you willing to settle and cheat yourself of what you could be?

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