It is a late summer afternoon in Toulouse. The sunlight touches my hands as I type on the keyboard. I’ve just finished another day full of blessings. It was a day surrounded by people who contributed to each other’s lives by sharing their stories and insights during the NLP certification course. Hardly calling it a job, I am all energized by the day and now finishing a new column in my blog. I’ve just texted my husband back home and we exchanged our news. I’m engrossed in my thoughts now and inspired to express myself. My feeling is exhilaration; the sunshine is equally lighting up my heart and spirit! I’m sitting at the first table near the door of my favorite crêperie Le Sherpa, a place I’ve been hanging out almost every day 25 years ago as an exchange student in my early twenties; a place I always come back to when I visit Toulouse. There have been fantastic memories that will last a lifetime! Nothing can ever go wrong in this place – a smile is imprinted on my face.
While deep in my thoughts, I catch a silhouette slightly leaning over my laptop, trying to read what is on the afiche – the poster – on the wall. Le Sherpa is a typical student hang-out place and there are afiches of all the concerts and performances in the city – fun things to do! I stay focused typing. The silhouette is there for a minute or two and then I hear a voice politely asking me if he could take the afiche from the wall. In a flash, I wonder why he is asking me and not the owner of the crêperie. Why on earth not take a picture with his phone instead of taking the whole afiche from the wall since it’s there for everyone to see? These thoughts only last a split of a second as they get replaced by the one concluding that he can do anything he wants. I wave a ‘its fine with me,’.

Two hours pass, I’m done and ready for dinner. I start collecting my stuff. I reach behind my laptop to get my iPhone and I can’t find it. I take a good look and its not there. I empty all my bags, not there either. Two young students at the next table notice my concerned look and ask me if all is fine. ‘I cannot find my phone’ I mumble. I hear myself telling them how a young man wanted the afiche on the wall – the afiche is strangely still there – and how I wonder if he only pretended in order for him to take my iPhone. Now, I hear some deep voices inside my head ‘I can’t believe it. This never happens to me! Why now? In such a favorite place on a such perfect day! I am travelling back home tomorrow! I can’t believe my iPhone was stolen in this way!’

While lost in these thoughts for a minute, the two young ladies are already busy figuring out the closest Apple store, the police station and checking the APP to trace the iPhone. I get my courage back and join them. BUT only very briefly! I stop and find my smile. I know better. Come on! This is what I do! These are the moments to test the tools I am passionate about! It is self-created pressure, nothing more! I tell them its fine – they look at me, puzzled. I thank them from my heart – MERCI! They are not sure what I mean. I storm out of the door and it is a 20-minute walk to my hotel through the busy city. People everywhere and I am screaming, ‘I am changing the story! I am changing the story! My phone is in my room! I am changing the story!’ I repeat the mantra as I walk, pushing back all evidence to the contrary scenario. I add emotion and movement! People stare, some laugh, one was quick enough to scream back, ‘Me, too! I am changing the story, too! How?’

I am back in my room out of breath now. My phone is resting peacefully on the bed. Did I forget it there? Was I absent-minded when I left? I am not even able to remember the last time I saw it. I don’t care. My mind is not into ‘logical sequential reasonable’ questions. What counts is that my phone is in my hands now! I could have easily spent 2 hours roaming the city in agony focusing on an unwanted story and now I have escaped an un-resourceful ‘poor me, such a great day and look what happened to me’ mantra. No, it doesn’t have to be like that.

Unless we hit on some limiting internal strategy inside our head, implanted and watered for decades, there is really no need for ‘drama’. If ‘cheering people on’ during a football match can get them to win the match, then equally, feeding ourselves the stories we want is as powerful! This is not about changing the meaning of a past event, it is about changing an important key ingredient (belief/thought) on a crucial moment, reshaping our millions of possibilities for the direction of our ‘destiny’. The good old-fashioned and comfortable ‘I knew things would get bad!’ can be replaced by the ‘I am changing the story now!’

Just like colors come and go out of fashion every season, we can choose for a new trendier, friendlier and results-focused approach when confronted with an obstacle! By repetition and awareness, we learn to notice the crucial moments where we have opportunities to change our stories and get more inspiration on where we want them to lead. Then it becomes habit! Le Sherpa remains a place of bliss. I got to write another chapter of hope there. I wanted to capture my head’s journey this afternoon and be reminded I have a brain and a biology that create – it is my choice what this is!