Have you ever found yourself grappling with feelings of guilt or failure, even when you knew you were making the right decision? Recently, I had a conversation with someone who was caught in this struggle, and it got me thinking about the power of our personal narratives.
She had made the courageous choice to leave the company she founded. But despite knowing it was right for her, she struggled with feeling she had let people down. She dreaded social events where people might ask about work, and judge her for being a quitter. This is a common theme I’ve seen with founders–their own narrative often becomes intertwined with that of the company, and it can be challenging to disconnect.
We zoomed out, and looked at how she wanted to frame the heroine of her story–instead of being at loose ends and trying to figure out what was next, being on sabbatical and taking a beat before jumping into something new. Looking at her narrative from a third person perspective freed her, and by the end of our conversation she was feeling excited about attending social events again.
I often suggest that clients prepare before heading to family gatherings or networking events, and consider how they want to frame their experience. This can provide an opportunity to check in with ourselves about the story we’ve been telling–and what story we want to tell.
📷: Erika Wittlieb