We all know that it takes a compelling story to stand out in a crowded marketplace and attract ideal clients. But what happens when your internal story doesn’t match your goals? What happens when it’s not contributing to your brand success?

I don’t mean the story you tell from the stage or cleverly craft into powerful messaging statements. I’m talking about the story that you tell yourself every day through your thoughts, beliefs, fears, and doubts.

As human beings, we think about 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day. How many of those thoughts are powerful, confident and inspiring you to achieve your biggest goals? More importantly, how many of those thoughts erode your confidence and keep you playing small?

For most human beings, less than 18% of our thoughts are supportive towards our goals. Out of those 50,000+ thoughts, how many of them are recycling through your last mistake, beating yourself up for not getting it right? Or when thinking about your goal do you catch yourself making a long list of all the reasons it can’t possibly work?

As a business leader, successful outcomes are directly tied to your ability to persevere and overcome challenges. But if your internal story is clouded with uncertainty, will you have the gumption to go for the boldest of your goals?

Probably not. In my almost 20 years of mentoring and coaching high-achievers, change-makers and business leaders, a constant stream of negative thoughts tend to overshadow the rest and can transform a go-getter into a doubter.

Whether you realize it or not, the inner terrain of your mind is subtly shaping what you believe you can achieve. And that belief dictates the story you tell through your brand, marketing efforts and sales processes.

Think about it. When someone feels inspired and fired up, they tend to see possibilities, feel courageous and take bigger risks in pursuit of the goal. But when someone has a mind full of fear and doubt, they tend to play it safe and can’t see how to take bigger actions.

Take Alonsa for example. Alonsa has a strong internal story that she can do anything she sets her mind to. Alonsa sets her sights on a big goal and pursues it relentlessly until it’s done. Now contrast that with Jason who constantly belittles himself, pokes at all of his insecurities over and over again, and generally believes that he’s a fraud that no one could ever believe in. Jason has dreams of taking his business into 7 figures, but every time he gets an idea he talks himself out of it before taking the first step.

Alonsa has an internal story designed for great success; Jason has an internal story that holds him hostage in mediocrity.

Your internal story, the story you tell yourself every day about success, money, and who you are as a leader is defining what you believe is possible. When that story is steeped in fear and limitation, the person tends to procrastinate, set low goals and perhaps even self-sabotage their progress.

The Power of a Filter

Your internal story acts like a filtering system for opportunities, ideas and goals. Your internal story shapes your idea of that’s possible and then unconsciously dictates every decision you make. Think of it like a powerful pair of glasses, forged by the attitude of the person wearing them. The glasses, even though they have access to see everything around them, only allows the wearer to see what watches their perception of what’s possible.

Want to feel more inspired and pursue bigger goals?

You’ve got to upgrade that “filter” and create an internal story that’s capable of pulling it off. One of the most effective approaches to upgrading your story is simply creating a new one.

Rick Tamlyn, the author of Its All Made Up, says,

Everything we think is made up. So we might as well make up something that works.

An internal story is one that you choose to believe in at some point during your life. If the story can’t deliver you to greatness, change the story.

Let’s look at how changing an internal story played out for Eric. Eric found himself maxed out prematurely – he’d hit the $200k level of income and had a waiting list of potential clients. But he had run out of time in his day to continue to take on more clients. Eric discovered through our coaching that he had a limited belief about how his clients might best be served.

Up until that moment, Eric believed he could only work one on one with a client to get them results. His internal story of “there is no way to scale my offerings” kept him in a business model that could not grow. And, interestingly enough, he only attracted clients who demanded personalized attention.

His level of success was being directly dictated by his story about how his industry worked. After 6 months of coaching, Eric had a shift and decided to offer a group program. It sold out in 17 days. Within 2 years Eric had significantly upgraded his internal story of what was possible – and his income followed into the high six figures.

7 Signs of a Limited Internal Story

Not sure if you have blind spots that could be derailing you from bigger goals? Let’s take a look at seven common signs that there is a limitation in your internal story.

Instead of moving your projects forward you tend to procrastinate or get distracted by other priorities.

When you consider investing in a coach or pursuing a bigger goal, all of the logical reasons why it won’t work take over and you talk yourself out of it.

There’s never enough money to cover your monthly expenses, even though you work way too many hours.

You do everything yourself and instead of hiring help, you can’t imagine trusting anyone else to do it as good as you can.

What’s At Stake?

Imagine for a moment what it would feel like to achieve your biggest, scariest, boldest goals. For a few seconds, you might feel that rush imagining yourself winning at an entirely new level of success. Then, the next step for many is the crash as your mind moves to “But I don’t know how.”

When you make the decision to go for your goal, the human mind typically takes one of two routes. The first, and most common, is to feel overwhelmed and fearful because you don’t know how to do it. Having coached over 10,000 people, I can tell you with 100% certainty that this path leads to a pattern of frustration and disillusionment. Very few big successes surface when “how thinking” kicks in.

The second, which is less common and 100 times more powerful, is to decide to be all in and figure it as you go. This second approach is possible when you cultivate an internal story of a high-achiever who can tap into resources as needed. This internal story makes room for mistakes and is willing to do whatever it takes. This internal story is the path to innovation, industry leadership and significant successes.

Which internal story is the one that you will adopt? I hope you choose the internal story that will deliver significance.

Listen to Melanie Benson on episode #70: How to Rewire Your Mental Patterns to Rewrite a More Powerful Personal Story