778: It’s Not Your Circumstances, It’s Your Story

by | Jun 25, 2020 | Blog

Hi, friends! It’s Elizabeth here, and I am so excited to share Episode 778 of Primal Potential with you today! Primal Potential is a podcast all about you — your ability to change is not defined by yesterday and doesn’t need to wait until tomorrow. Your transformation is now, no matter what stage you find yourself in life!

Okay, guys, I am very excited about this episode. Today, I want to talk to you about an idea I’ve actually talked about on this podcast before because it’s one of my favorite things to talk about and I think it’s such a useful tool for those of us on a journey toward a goal (I think we can all raise our hands here!)

Those of you who have been listening to Primal Potential for a long time may remember that Episode 475 was called, “Mind the Truth That Moves You Forward.” That actually comes from an episode of Billions on Showtime where the character Wendy Rhoades says, “There will always be multiple versions of the truth, but when you’re here, mind the truth that makes you money.”

When I heard that quote, I started thinking about how relevant that is to so many of us on our individual journeys. Whenever you have a goal — and this has been so true in my own life — there are always multiple versions of the truth that we can tell ourselves. There will always be things about our circumstances that are true and that we can’t change.

But if we’re going to make progress, transform, and eventually arrive at the life we want to live, we need to mind the truth that moves us forward.

So today, I want to help you close the gap between focusing on your circumstances and focusing on your story so that you can mind the right truth and reach the transformation you want to see in your life. Are you ready? Let’s dive in!


You’re Not Stuck In Your Reality, You’re Stuck In Your Story


I want to take a few minutes here to break down the difference between your reality and your story. I think there’s a critical distinction between them, and closing the gap between those two things is absolutely essential for you to understand to mind the truth that moves you forward.

Your reality is pretty self-explanatory: that’s your current set of circumstances. Your reality is where you are right now, and it’s true! Maybe you have a dream of launching your own podcast, but you’ve never recorded an episode. That’s okay! That’s your reality right now, and it’s a true fact.

Your reality is only the present moment and everything that has happened to bring you to it. That’s key here—your reality is defined by your past.

But your story is something different. Your story is bigger; it contains your past, your present, and your future. And it is every bit as true as your reality. Yes, the fact of your present reality is part of your story, but it’s not the whole story. And while your reality is true, your story is also true, and thinking of your journey as a story is the truth that will help you move forward.

This is one of the biggest problems I see in my clients. They explain that they’ll never land their dream job, or they’re not able to lose the weight, or they can’t launch their podcast because the reality is that they haven’t done those things yet. But they’re thinking of their reality as the only truth, but it’s not a helpful truth.

Your mindset dramatically changes when you begin to think of your past as a part of your story. When you think of your past as a story, you allow for the potential for growth; you are not defined only by what has happened, but also by your potential.

Here’s the thing: when we focus on the past, we tend to recreate it. When we focus only on the truth of our past and how it created our present reality, we tend to keep following in the same patterns. We’re not focusing on the truth that moves us forward, so we’re not empowered to change our reality.

You guys have heard this a thousand times, but to use myself as an example, I was so guilty of thinking of my reality as the only truth when it came to food for a long time. I was telling myself this story that if I was stressed or overwhelmed, all bets were off because I had always just turned to junk food to help me feel better. I was focusing on the truth of my reality — that eating poorly was just who I was because it always had been — and for a long time that kept me from making progress toward my weight loss goal.

But then I started to see myself as simply at one point in a greater story. My story wasn’t that I was a failure, or that I would always be unhealthy, even though that was true in the moment. Of course not! My story was that I still had the potential to change my habits and become the healthy person I wanted to be!

When I started to think in terms of a bigger story and began minding the truth that moved me forward, I made progress. I took control. I started eating healthy food and exercising. I lost the weight, and I became the healthy woman I had dreamed of being! 


Build Belief In Where You’re Going


Here’s another example I love to use when I talk about this topic: Think about the Wright brothers. Do you remember learning about them back in grade school? How they were the first people to build a plane and actually fly it? What a cool story! But the Wright brothers would never have taken off if they had been defined by their reality.

They could have said, “Well, we’ve never figured out how to fly before, and in fact nobody has! We definitely can’t do it now!” and that would have been partially true! The truth of their reality was that no one had ever learned to fly. No one had the knowledge or experience necessary to get a plane in the air—that was true. But the Wright brothers, instead, recognized that the truth of the past did not have to determine their future. They wanted to learn to fly, they chose to accept the truth of their potential, and they figured it out!

I really want you to get this idea into your head: Your ability to step into and permanently live in a new pattern of behavior depends on, hinges on, requires your willingness to believe that it is possible before you have evidence of it. The Wright brothers had no evidence that human flight was possible, but they believed in their potential to make it happen anyway. 

You can do that too.

Let me give you an example from my own life. For me, writing my first book was huge! So much so that I have made it a goal to write more books in the future.

But when I was writing that first book, I definitely had days when I wasn’t sure if I could do it! I mean, I’d never done it before, so I had no evidence I could do it now. The truth was that I had not written a book; that was the reality of my situation. And I could have chosen to stay stuck in that reality.

But I didn’t. Instead, I chose to believe in the truth of my story. I hadn’t written a book yet, but that didn’t mean I never would! I even had a significant advantage over the Wright brothers—when they learned to fly, literally no one had done that before. Plenty of people had written books before me! I had a wealth of resources I could use for writing advice and strategies and plenty of reason to believe I could do it! And I did. I wrote my book Chasing Cupcakes, and that was a big accomplishment!

Now, I am working toward writing more books in the future, and it’s great to have substantial evidence that I am capable of writing a book! But I didn’t need to have that evidence to write the first one. I just had to build belief in myself and my story.

You can do this too, guys! Build belief not in where you are, but in where you’re going. Tell yourself a helpful story. Say to yourself, “This is the truth of my reality right now, but the truth of my story is that I can do this!” If you can lean in and believe in that idea, you’ll be unstoppable! Positive change can and will happen in your life!

Here’s the good news: This advice works no matter what your goal is. I encourage you to dream big, of course! But you don’t need to win a Nobel prize or become a New York Times bestseller to make meaningful progress in your life. Nope, the truth of where you’re going can be specific to today. It doesn’t have to be reflective of where you want to end up in five years or ten years or even five months.

Remain mindful of the fact that the truth you’ve been telling yourself isn’t the only truth and that you are not stuck in your circumstances. Think of your life as a story, and build belief in where you’re going instead of where you’ve been. When you believe in the power of your potential and refuse to be defined solely by your past, you open up enormous opportunities for growth and transformation. 

Now, if you’d like some extra support, a little more coaching, and accountability, I want you to get on the waitlist for our next 12 Weeks of Transformation! In this program, I work with people in a much more personal and structured way to create change. We tackle our excuses head-on and find the core values that will motivate you to take action. If you’re not sure what to do next, I encourage you to check out 12 Weeks to Transformation and get on that waitlist! 

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I’d also love to connect with you via text! I send out text messages with my daily mindset upgrades and daily encouragement that we could all use during these uncertain times of COVID-19. 

Thanks, everyone. I’ll talk to you next time!


Elizabeth Benton

The Primal Potential Podcast

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