This is one of my favourite “Work with your Stuff” techniques. And it’s really powerful.
Some time ago something horrible happened.
And I could not understand why it was happening.
See, I had to leave the place where I was living.
I didn’t get it. I thought the Universe wanted me there. “All the signs” pointed in the direction of this place.
I would get mad and rage and scream “UNIVERSE!!! I thought you wanted me here! Why are you doing this to me?! WHY DO YOU HATE ME SO?!?!”
That’s when I learned the importance of the “Back Up Story”
The “back up story”, in essence, means this:
“what will you tell yourself about yourself (and about life, and about the universe, etc) if things don’t go the way you want?”
I realised: I had moved to this place without a Back Up Story.
So of course, when things went to pot, the only “story” I could fall into was:
“UNIVERSE! Why are you doing this to me? WHY DO YOU HATE ME SO?!?”
I had learned my lesson.
So I put it into practice.
I was applying for this job. I was *perfect* for it and I really wanted it.
I sat down with myself and… interacted with my back up story.
“What if this doesn’t work out?”
“What will I tell myself?”
But the sneakily hidden story if things don’t work out? I’ve just noticed it. And it goes “if you don’t get this job, it means you are unworthy, poor, pathetic, you don’t deserve to get paid actual money for your time, you are not as good as all those people earning decent wages and you are just… unacceptable and wrong”.
Here’s what’s going on: If I approach something knowing in my subconscious that if it goes wrong I will be “unworthy and wrong”, then this will create tons of anxiety.
So what I’m doing now is rewriting the “back up story”. What happens if this doesn’t go the way I want?
(And it’s important that this story feels true, that I can actually “believe” it)
So I try a few things:
Could I believe that “this is exactly what’s meant to happen, if I don’t get the job?”
Could I believe that I was not supposed to get the job because the Universe has other plans for me?
Maybe (but still, tiny no)
Could I believe that people are just stupid because honestly where on Earth are they going to find a better Spanish – English speaker in this whole city? (noooooo)
Could I believe that no matter what happens I’ll still be ok?
Maybe (hmmm, tiny tiny no)
Could I believe that no matter what happens with this job, I’m still going to be a writer and coach because this is my calling, and this experience, much like every experience, just brings in more understandings that I can use in my coaching/writing future?
Yeah, that feels right. It’s totally true that the more crap we go through, the more we learn. And it’s also true that we are already in this path and therefore it’s only a matter of time before things work out because that’s exactly where the path leads.
We have resources, and they get stronger and better every day. This is the path. And the better our resources get, the more we’ll be able to help people. And that’s where the path leads.
Do I have back up plans?
No. But then again, I wasn’t aware of this job a few hours ago, and I still didn’t have any back up plans.
I can’t trust that something will come up *just yet*, (because I’m having some trouble trusting the Universe) but I am getting better at trusting that I won’t just disappear and die. That everything won’t be completely and utterly horrible. So yay for that.
Rewriting The Back Up Story is powerful stuff. And it’s also really challenging
We are essentially shining a light at the unconscious assumptions we make about ourselves when we fail.
Indeed, this assumptions can be so BIG that they may actually stop us from doing what we want to do.
If a part of our subconscious will default in hating us if we fail, then that may be a very strong incentive to not do it.
Rewriting what we will tell ourselves about ourselves if things go awry may help us actually do the thing we want to do.
The important thing to remember is this:
do not go out into a new venture without examining your back up story
Oh, and to end the story: did I get the job? HAHAHA!!! Of course not.
But that’s a story for another post.