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Are the stories you’re telling hurting your business?

Why’d you move to Sacramento from Chicago?

On the surface, this is a perfectly reasonable question. Except it’s always delivered with a note of disbelief and a raised eyebrow.

My response is always some variation on the truth. My husband and I were relocated by his company.

You’d think this would be safe, but I’ve come to dread the follow-up questions.

They range from the innocuous, I bet you can’t stand the heat, to the simply awful, The people here are so uneducated.

Inevitably, I’m asked, Don’t you miss the culture?

Well, yeah. I do. I miss the hometown pride exhibited by every born-and-bred Chicagoan.

I miss living in a city where even the complaints, I don’t know why I put up with these winters every year, are really bragging rights.

I don’t say this, of course.

I listen to the warnings about the weather, the people and the culture with as much patience as I can muster. And then I cheerfully explain that I don’t expect my life in Sacramento to resemble my lifestyle in Chicago. Instead, I’m relishing the change. I go on Sunday bike rides with my husband along the American River. I signed up for a triathlon. I’m rediscovering the taste of seasonal, local fruit.

This always elicits the same response. Oh. That’s a good way to look at it.

It’s the only way  to look at it.

If I went around comparing Sacramento to Chicago, I’d be inconsolable. I’m a city girl in a small town. I’m missing my mom, the opportunity to spoil my best friend’s first kid, countless art festivals and restaurant openings. Hell, I’m missing my favorite beer, Oberon.

This is but one story of my experience. I choose to focus on another story.

I’m also loving it here.

I no longer worry about what I’m wearing when I leave the house. I can’t believe the friendliness of complete strangers (even if it means they’re comfortable questioning my sanity for moving here). I am addicted to day trips and bike rides and hiking. I’m making new friends like Kate and Kelly.

I could choose to tell myself a sob story about living in Sacramento, but I’d rather take the (equally true) optimistic version.

What’s your internal script?

Every business has two stories.

You can worry about the business you don’t have . . .

You can go around being a debbie downer and telling yourself you aren’t as good as so-and-so with the bigger following.

You can tell yourself your ideal clients can’t afford your services.

You can position yourself in the market as opposed to everything you don’t like in your industry.

Or you can focus on the awesomeness of the one you’re running right now.

What do your customers love about you?

What is unique about your approach to your work?

Which story are you telling about your business?

  

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