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This is tough for me to admit as a man but recently I caught an episode of Oprah’s new show called “Life Class.” If you haven’t seen the show I would highly recommend it. For many of you that have not followed me up until now and are reading this because you follow RISMedia you will see that I am interested in the strategies that work for people, but I am even more interested in the root of why people do well or struggle.

There is a reason for just about everything. No matter where you find yourself right now in your business or life, I can promise you this; it is a direct result of the patterns that you have adopted. What is truly interesting to me though is why we adopt those patterns and what ultimately catapults us into greatness or unfortunately holds us back from our true potential. I mean haven’t you ever felt like you are doing pretty good but deep down in your gut you know that you were created for more?

So back to the show on Oprah…On this particular episode she was doing a live event with Tony Robbins where they were discussing the stories that we tell ourselves. As I listened in I was amazed because I am in the middle of writing about the same topic for my new book, only what they are calling your story I have been calling your narrative.

Either way your story is what you tell yourself over and over again in your head and, in most cases, what you believe to be true about yourself. Your story can be either empowering or extremely crippling if you have the wrong story. The truth is that your story defines you, but your past does not.

For example, I come from a situation where I was raised by a single mother who had to rely on food stamps at different points in our childhood. Neither of my brothers ever graduated from high school, let alone college. To make matters worse my little brother’s father was an abusive man, both physically and mentally. Now when you come from poverty and what society calls a “broken home” and tough surroundings, we have a tendency to start to tell ourselves a limiting story.

It would have been very easy to believe that to graduate high school would have been a triumph. In fact, real success would have been to graduate high school and get a good union job somewhere where I would hopefully do well enough for the rest of my life, and the truth is for some people that is success. But for me that story would have never gotten me to where I am now.

It is all about what meaning you assign to your circumstances that ultimately develops your story. I could have assigned the meaning that my little brother’s father was abusive because I was not good enough and my family was poor because God hadn’t picked us to be one of the lucky ones on this earth that just have all of the advantages.

Or I could decide that my story is one of triumph and the things that I went through have made me resilient and have made me stronger as I push toward my destiny to be great! I choose to believe that I was fortunate enough to be able to go through “life boot camp” which prepared me for what I was called to do with my life. You see, you can get different meanings out of the exact same situations.

So what is your story? What do you tell yourself over and over again in your mind? What do you believe about yourself to be true? Sometimes your story can unintentionally be used as an excuse or a crutch. Whenever you think to yourself that you could be doing more business but “I’m a mom and much too busy to do what it takes to compete on the level of the top producers in my area” or “the market just isn’t great right now but when it turns around so will my business,” you are limiting your potential through your story.

The key is to assign new meaning to what is going on around you. If the market goes down your focus is not on the decrease in the market, but rather on the decrease in the number of agents that will be able to renew their licenses, which has actually now decreased your amount of competition and increased your opportunities. I am not just trying to play mind games with you and make you feel good but this is how we were created to function and get the most out of ourselves. What is possible or impossible for us all is formed in the six inch space between our ears.

That is why for thousands of years nobody was ever able to run a mile in less than four minutes. Then out of nowhere a man named Roger Bannister did it in May of 1954 and within a couple of months, he and another runner did it again. Today, hundreds of runners and even high school athletes have run a sub-four-minute mile. Why? Because for years everyone had told themselves a story that it couldn’t be done. Once it was, they were able to tell themselves a new and better story.

So the real question for you is whether your story is empowering you to be as successful as you want to be or is your story limiting your potential and enabling you to not push yourself? Unfortunately for many people by the time they actually stop and take a look at their business and their life they feel like it is too late to make any significant changes.

But that is not the case for you. If you are living and breathing you can always make the decision to divorce yourself from your current story and start the process of creating a new, empowering one that can have powerful effects on not only you, but your kids and the generations to follow you. So which will you do?

Jared James is the CEO and Founder of Jared James Enterprises, an internationally sought-after speaker and trainer. James built one of the fastest-growing real estate teams in the country, was inducted into the International Hall of Fame for one of the world’s largest real estate companies, and wrote a best-selling book—all before the age of 28. As an acclaimed speaker, James keynotes events for major real estate organizations and conducts regular webinars and training for nationally known organizations like NAR, CRS, Yahoo Real Estate,Trulia and Zillow Academy and blogs regularly for RISMedia.

To stay in touch with Jared James, visit and or visit his website at