Want a Better Life & Career? Change The Stories You Tell Yourself

Words have power, especially the ones you say — or don't say — to yourself

"On Fire," photograph by Bruce Kasanoff

I’ve often said that words are like water.  

They have the power to support and uplift, improve moods, and nurture souls. They are essential for life, but can quickly destroy one as well. 

Consider then, for a moment, the words that you say — or don’t say — to yourself.

Without even realizing it, many of us fall victim to an all-too-common practice of self-sabotaging talk. Out of fear of ridicule or rejection, we tell ourselves that it’s okay not to go after what we really want. We fill our heads with negative stories that prevent us from learning, growing, and stretching our wings. We say things like, I’m not good enough, I’m not ready, or I’m just a __________ (whatever you are now), not a _________ (whatever you’d like to be).

And that’s crazy. Especially when one simple switch can set you on a path to a more fulfilling life and career.

Instead, try completing the phrase, “I am… ,” like this:

  • persistent
  • perceptive
  • courageous
  • positive
  • ever better

The things that push you off-course are not external; they are internal. It’s easy to think that other forces — your boss, the economy, or bad luck — block your path. Not true. Nothing has a greater impact on your career and life than the stories you tell yourself.

If you want a better life and career, you have to change the stories you tell yourself.

I say this from a place of experience. For years, I told myself I wasn’t talented enough to be a professional writer. That no one would want to hire me, let alone have any interest in reading my work. I lived a life on the periphery, in close proximity to creativity but never fully stepping into what I really wanted.

But when I told myself I am a writer, everything changed.

Instead of hiding from my story, I embraced it. I told other people my story, and to my surprise and delight, they responded. Positively. Clients hired me to write for them. My work was published by numerous outlets. My words resonated with people and I earned an enthusiastic following. My inner light began to shine so brightly that I attracted other writers and creators with whom I collaborated.

And most importantly, once I changed the story I told myself, I was able to encourage and inspire others (and perhaps, you) to do the same.

So, what’s your story?


Want to change the stories you tell yourself? Bruce Kasanoff and I wrote a book to help you do just that. “I Am” is available on Amazon

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.