• Ruth Dettman

Are things getting a bit heavy?



We're moving!!! Mid-January, my family and I are packing up and moving back to Perth from the United Arab Emirates.


Besides sorting out where the 40-foot sea container and 360 kilograms of airfreight get delivered to, we have to navigate 8 checked bags, 4 carryons, and 4 people from Abu Dhabi to Perth via Singapore without losing baggage, children, or our minds.


Weighty stories


I see similar weighty problems when I think about the leadership journey. The ‘stuff’ that clients are lugging around are stories; stories about themselves, the people around them, or their environment.


A recent client of mine (a person flagged as a high potential) convinced herself that she would not rise to the senior leadership ranks. The story she was telling herself was that she didn’t fit in, there was no room for error, and it was a bit cutthroat at the top.


Her stories weighed her down like a 40-foot sea container!


In my experience, those thoughts are pervasive and normal. We all want to avoid failure, so we all hang on to the stories to stay safe. My client hung on to her story like she was clutching a bag of diamonds going through the shady side of town!


Are the stories we tell ourselves true?


The better question is whether our stories are helpful. Do our stories help move our lives forward?


In my client’s case, the story around not fitting in was especially not helpful. She held back in stating her opinion or in putting herself forward for projects that would showcase her skills.


Make the load a bit lighter.


If your stories are holding you back, there is a first step that sounds simple but works beautifully.


Put some distance between you and your stories.


Every time you feel weighed down with an unhelpful narrative, think to yourself, “I notice my story starting up”. If you try this out for a week or two, you will notice that the story begins to lose its power over you.


In fact, your stories will feel less like a 40 foot sea container and more like a featherweight carry-on!


Want to feel a bit lighter? Drop me a line and let's talk about which stories you'd like to leave behind