Mind over managing: Telling stories

So another Danish election has drawn to a close. The electorate cast their votes and delivered their verdict on which party they believe offers the brightest future for themselves, society, or both.

They have chosen whose version of the past, present, and future they are in most agreement with – whose story they have decided to believe.

Our lives are governed by the stories we choose to believe. This is not to say that external circumstances do not play a significant role in shaping events – of course they do.

What is important, though, is remembering that we co-create the world around us with these events through the stories we tell about them.

From a business perspective, the tales we tell play perhaps even more of an important role than the external situation we find ourselves in.

The decision to start up, or invest in, a new venture is more often than not a leap of faith rather than an analysis of the facts.

The wrong story
Whether an existing business can survive changing market conditions often depends on the extent to which key personnel believe that the challenges they face are surmountable.

I recently found myself telling the wrong story. A new project, which I had been working on with two business partners for six months or so, was – whilst not in danger of collapse – in need of some difficult decision-making with regard to the future.

Waking up one night in panic, I could only see the negative story – the foolishness of taking a risk on starting something new, the feeling that I wasn’t up to the task.

Waking up
This lasted for a good few days before ‘waking up’ to see that I had just been telling myself the wrong story – the project was fine; my worries were the product of overtiredness.

An optimistic story had replaced the old one. The external circumstances were the same, but my interpretation of them wasn’t, and the negative burden I had been carrying lifted immediately. And since then everything has, touch wood, turned out fine.

Being aware that our stories are just that – stories – enables us to change our role within that story, or to choose another story to believe in altogether.


Daniel is the managing director of Nordeq Management (nordeqmanagement.com), managing cross-border investment projects with a focus on international corporate and tax law issues.

Educated as a lawyer, Daniel is passionate about mindfulness as a means of personal transformation, and he holds workshops and runs one-on-one mentoring programs on the subject (deepening-connection.com).