Changing Inside Story


We certainly can’t change the past, but we can change the person it makes us. Techniques for reframing – sometimes literally – rewriting – the negative episodes in our lives can help us become the person we always wanted to be, at home, at work, and in our relationships.

It is very powerful when we can take the stories of being shamed, of loss, of rejection, of “failure” and figure out a way to give them a spin that allows us to see them as wisdom-building. We want to be able to say that in a way, “I’m glad that experience happened because it’s taught me something about how I want to live my life.”

We all have an ongoing #story that runs on autopilot through our minds. It’s the silent chatter — often #negative — that self-criticizes, anticipates what will go wrong, second-guesses, assumes what other people are thinking, interprets or misinterprets events, and more. It might go some something like this:

“…I’m never going to get a job. Employers just aren’t hiring. I got let go because I make too much. It’s going to be hard to compete against the younger kids who are willing to make a lot less than I’ve been making… That human-resources person never called me back. Probably never will. I know I blew it in the telephone interview. Stupid, stupid, stupid — I can’t believe I didn’t remember to talk about my accomplishments when they asked me that surprise question. I hate looking for a job. It sucks…”


❖ Notice the #narrative without judging yourself. It’s important that we not deride ourselves further for the narrative thoughts because that only exacerbates the situation. Just notice the thoughts, such as, “I hear those #negativethoughts again. Interesting. I hadn’t realized what I was thinking.”

❖ Shift out of the Narrative Network. Get into a different network — the Experiential Network — a state where we are very aware of ourselves and our surroundings, taking in information through our five senses. For example, “I notice that I’m hungry; I can hear the fan of my computer kicking on; the sky is an interesting shade of blue right now.”

❖ Go for #gratitude. Gratitude can change the chemistry inside our bodies, releasing serotonin, dopamine, and other neurochemicals that make us feel good. Speak your gratitude aloud, even if just to yourself. Extend gratitude not just for the people in your life but to yourself, as well. For example, I am grateful for the #strengths I have that are helping me manage this #transition.

❖ Write a new story with a happy ending. Rehearse it. #positive visualizations create new neural wiring in our brains, which makes it easier for us to repeat the same success in the future. For example, “I can see myself talking with my networking contact this afternoon. I am using my strengths as a researcher to connect with her and understand her background and her needs. I listen and respond in ways that create trust, so she’s more comfortable referring me to others.”

Final Thoughts on Managing Inside Stories

▪ Writing a strong “#insidestory” allows us to confidently deliver the messages we need to convey to friends, colleagues, and hiring managers throughout a career transition.

▪ Want to learn more about this topic or to get assistance with rewriting your inner story?

Contact [email protected], and start writing your happy ending TODAY!

#narrativetherapy #mindfulness #jobsearch #transition #careeradvice

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About the Author: Alison Goldberg
Alison is an experienced and passionate Career Development professional and Licensed Clinical Counselor with extensive experience working with individuals and groups in organizations, colleges, and private practice. She brings a unique expertise and deep understanding of working with adults in transition, in particular those residing in addiction treatment facilities and recovery centers. Alison combines a strengths-based positive psychology approach with traditional career counseling practices and assessments. She assists clients with identifying and developing a positive perspective on their natural abilities and talents and guides them through various hurdles that come while transitioning back into the workforce. Alison’s extensive experience as an Executive Recruiter in the private sector, identifying and coaching candidates into “best fit” positions, has enhanced her work as a Career Counselor. Alison created a specialized career development program designed for the residents of a large residential treatment center once they reached 65 – 70 days of sobriety. As part of this program, she co-developed and facilitated a job-seeking support group and career management group. She played an integral part in the creation and management of an internship program, and she has directed hundreds of individuals back into the workforce. Alison was also responsible for developing and coordinating the program, which involved mentoring California State University, Northridge (CSUN) career graduate students. Alison’s educational background includes a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S. in Counseling with a specialization in Career Counseling, both from California State University, Northridge. Alison is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and Board-Certified Counselor.

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