Our stories shape our experience

I’m continually amazed by the power that the stories we tell ourselves exert in shaping our experience.

I had the opportunity to engage in a salary negotiation with one of my direct reports today.  Talking about this decision gave us an occasion to discuss work, and money, and fulfillment.

If you believe that work is a place where you create value for others and fulfillment for yourself, while learning, enjoying community, and getting paid to do it–that’s exactly what you’ll find.

Here’s why:  when you find those things–ways you can create value for others and fulfillment for yourself–you’ll hold on to them.  When you don’t have them yet, you’ll be paying attention to the places you can find them.  You’ll discuss it when you’re not being satisfied, and–if you have a mindset of gratitude towards what you already have–you’ll be paid more for it when you change roles.

If you believe that work is a place without loyalty or fulfillment, where negotiation is a zero-sum game that doesn’t create value, where everyone is out for a few dollars more, that’s what you’ll find.  You won’t value intangible things about your work, so you’ll be less attuned to moves where you have less of those tough-to-quantify properties.  You’ll find yourself in places where people are focused more on (and successful at) capturing value than creating it.


In short: we’re all going to be getting more of what we want over time–so how we think about what we want is really important.

Make sure you’re constantly refining the stories that you tell yourself:  they will shape your future.





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