Listen to your state more than your story

17th Feb 2022


When it comes to decisions, it often pays to listen to your state over your story.


When your head says ‘I should keep working’, and your gut says ‘go for a walk’, then go for a walk.


When your head says ‘I have to keep showing up to these useless meetings’, and your gut says ‘This is a waste of everyone’s time’, then make the call.


When your head says ‘I can’t do that’ and your gut says ‘this will be good for me’, then do it.


Your story is what your mind makes up about stuff. It’s where all your shoulds, have-to’s and can’ts live. Your mind can be like the surface of the ocean: it’s always got something going on.


Your state is what your gut tells you. It’s the place where your deepest wisdom lives. It knows what’s best. The deepest part of the ocean is always still.


As easy as this is to say, it’s not always easy to do.


Sometimes, your story and your state will be at odds. Your head is telling you the rules, and your gut is telling you what’s right.


Recognising your state can be uncomfortable. Your gut might want to go against the mainstream, while your ‘should’s’ will be screaming at you to stick with the crowd.


Acting on your state can be even more uncomfortable, because of the fear of being judged by others. I know this one too well. I’ve burned more hours angsting than I care to count.


Over the years, I’ve learned to listen to both my story, and my state, before making a decision. I’ve learned to pause my drive towards doing so I can notice the being behind it. Often a walk in nature will help, or a conversation with a trusted sounding board – someone who will hold up the mirror and tell me what they’re noticing as I speak.


And I’ve learned that more often than not, my state is wiser than my story.


The wisest leaders operate by listening to their state and reframing their story to match it.


What’s your state telling you today? How can it serve you in the decisions you make today?


Hat tip to Matt Church, who first introduced me to the idea of getting into the right state rather than simply relying on a script when delivering a presentation. I’ve taken this idea and run with it ?.




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