“My boss always yells at me!”

While this statement is commonly exclaimed, the reality is that it’s simply an assumption. Take a step back – which parts of the above statement are entirely accurate; Boss? Always? Yells? At me?

Each part of the statement gives us just enough information and causes us to create a story in our mind. Some of us thought, “You’re right, my boss does always yell at me and only me,” while others became skeptical. Either way, the story we created has a lot of power and influence in our organizations and in our every day work. These stories motivate us, give us something to think about during our morning and evening commutes, and influence our attitudes.

But again, these are our own personal stories, and one of the primary problems with stories is that they are generally untrue or bias. The stories created are done so to fill the gaps we can’t fully comprehend. Then, using our confirmation bias, we find more evidence to support our theories. This becomes our paradigm and while it’s valid, it’s our personal reality.

Another problem with stories is that they are to simple. Our stories are filled with beginnings, ends, heroes, and villains. This leaves out the complexities of human error and changing circumstances.

However, we want to challenge your stories. We want you to constantly challenge your own stories. When we find ourselves building a story, we need to ask, “What may not be completely accurate?” or “What is something great that the villain did?”

There are a lot of other little tips and tricks to manage our stories, but the following are five keys to changing and accepting your paradigm.

1. Listen

2. Do not presume intentions

3. Practice Grace and Forgiveness

4. Find common ground: create a common story, don’t force your story into someone else’s story

5. Turn the Page & Let it Go