Belief Choice Emotional Negative Emotions Perspective Problem

16 Years Coaching and This is Still The #1 Root Cause

For over 16 years I have been Coaching.

Essentially helping people get from where they are to where they want to be.

And figuring out what is in their way.

That is, what might be their greatest obstacles.


Is the obstacle a poor understanding of what they want?

Are they unclear of where they are starting from (i.e. don’t ‘know thyself’ so well)?

Is there a skill gap?


Of all the things that disrupt people from navigating life in a meaningful, fulfilling and joyful way, something keeps showing up as numero uno Root Cause of Trouble (with a capital ‘T’) in our lives.

I am pretty confident I could sit down and talk with you for 5 mins; ask you a few questions and identify – probably a bunch of times – where the STORY you told me, in response to my questions, was:

  • untrue (flat out nonsense and not useful)
  • partially sort-of-kinda true sometimes (if the stars are aligned)
  • partially true, and possibly somewhat useful, a decade or two ago
  • somewhat true, depending on what specific angle you view it from
  • somewhat true, because you have a (subconscious) habit of making it true

In summary, a lot of what we tell ourselves and others is not only not true a lot of the times, but actually makes us feel like crap, limited, overwhelmed and insignificant when we tell (and retell) these stories.

I love this one (which comes up a lot).

“I probably don’t have XYZ because of my fears.” (Full Stop)

That sentence is next to useless, HOWEVER it likely leads to the thought of there being an actual obstacle, which stops someone from taking action.

They have a “story” that they don’t have XYZ in their life because they have a ‘fear’.

When asked questions like: “Are you sure of that?” they might respond with a blank look.

When asked another question like: “What do you EXACTLY fear?” they might respond with “I have a fear of failure” (very common).

When then asked: “What is failure, exactly?” the cogs in the head start turning (or crunching).

When asked after they describe this thing called failure, “Are you 100% certain that is what you actually have a fear of?” then the whole story starts to unravel.

The story – which created an (imaginary) obstacle – was just that.

A story.

Not a fact.

Not a guarantee.

A story.

This is – IMHO – the greatest thing that causes people to tap into less than their full potential (maybe less than 50% if I was to pluck a number out of the air – I wanted to say ‘butt’, but I decided to keep it clean).

People tell untrue or partially true stories to themselves that stop them from reaching higher.

Life does not keep them down, their poor use of stories do.

A common root cause of crappy stories

A lot of our stories are created and formed from our childhood.

Mostly from an inability to discern; a desire to please (by being agreeable with someone else’s story); or as a way to protect themselves from a real or perceived threat to ourselves, our identify and our personal psychological health.

But here is the thing.

Most people don’t review, revise and update (or discard) stories that are no longer useful.

We may still believe, then feel, then behave based on a story that worked for us 20 years ago?

Is it still relevant, applicable or useful in 2024?

Just like we get a major service on our car every 12-months or after 10,000 kilometres, we absolutely MUST do a major service of the stories we are telling ourselves on a regular basis. How does quarterly sound?

Where to start?

Start with this:

Look at your life and identify where in it you have the greatest challenges, discomfort or struggle.

Start there.

I can 100% guarantee (I am very certain of this) that you will find a “story” that is untrue, partially true, partially true 20 years ago, partially true from a 43 degree angle, or partially true but based on a very small sample size of something that happened 1 or 2 times (e.g. you would not expect high-quality validation from a research study with only 1 or 2 people in it); and it is these STORIES (not reality) which makes you feel like crap or holds you back.

What stories are you telling yourself which really aren’t serving you?

In Summary

Most people tell stories about themselves and their lives that are not valid under scrutiny.

Unfortunately the stories people tell, stop them from doing things or having things they desire.

People need to:

1) Become aware of their stories.

2) Revise, update or discard them.

3) Replace them with a NEW STORY, which could also be true, but most importantly, makes them feel empowered.

Crappy stories diminish.

Great stories illuminate, elevate, accelerate, and change your state.

If you want to go even deeper, you can listen to The Successful Mind (Audiobook) free on YouTube.

My Parting word

Stories matter.

Especially the ones we tell repeatedly, without first checking if they are true, relevant or useful.

I believe in the creative power of the stories we tell.

We create our reality, which is highly influenced by our stories.

We see what we think we ought to see, based on our stories.

This is a common theme of mine because I see it play out with 100% of the clients I work with.

Not most of them.

100% of them!!

So…your work, should you choose to accept it is…

Find that area of struggle in your life, and then analyze the bejeezus out of it, to find your crappy stories.

Then delete, discard, upgrade, modify, and write a whole NEW story.

Enjoy the journey of discovery, and the liberation of stuck energy.

And have a load-lightening day (as you drop that excess baggage), and an illuminating week.

Take care,


PS: Have you read or listened to this book yet? 18 Ways We Make Life WAY Harder Than It Needs To Be

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