Create Your New Songwriter Story: The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Here’s an epiphany of the day or perhaps for the year.

The outcome of our lives are intricately intertwined with the “stories” we tell ourselves.

Sometimes the stories we tell ourselves are good ones. But often, our stories are false, even slightly incorrect or don’t serve us at all. Enter one of my coaches, Nick Cownie. Nick’s a recognized global expert on NLP, neuro linguistic programming and a performance coach expert. In particular I love Nick’s epiphanic work around “self-talk” which as you’ll read further, essentially becomes the starting point for our stories.

So what are your “stories?” What’s the story that you tell yourself? What are the known or unknown “programs” leading you through your day?

In Nick Cownie’s view, your “personal story” (and ultimately how you show up in the world), might just be a culmination of months, years and even decades of our own “self-talk.” These are things we consciously or subconsciously say to ourselves throughout the day.

Sometimes, this can be positive. But most often – in Nick’s own words – our “self-talk” consists of things “we say to ourselves, about ourselves, that we would never ever let anyone else to us, about ourselves.”

Meet Nick Cownie!

It can be little things like, “You’re such a klutz,” to medium-level career things like, “I’m just not a fast writer,” to larger scope stories like, “I’m not good enough, it’s just never going to happen for me.” (And by the way, the story we tell ourselves of “I’m not good enough” is incredibly common.)

Our story is sometimes based on our own best recollection or interpretation of something that happened in the past. Notice those words in bold. Yes, it’s your “best idea” or “best recollection” of what happened. It could have been a one-time event – or even something that really isn’t true, but for some reason, we interpreted it in such a way and we stuck with it.

So imagine months, years, or decades of “self-talk.” What happens? That’s right, this “self-talk” first creates your mood, then your temperament, and then a “story,” which then manifests into your actual reality.

Your "Self-Talk" - Your Mood - Your Temperament - Your Story - Your Reality

Your current reality is based on the stories you tell yourself – with the genesis of that being your “self talk.” Are you with me so far on this?

So what do we do if we want a better life?

WE CHANGE AND RE-WRITE OUR STORY.

WE CHANGE AND RE-WRITE OUR SELF-TALK.

In fact, if you’re reading this article, you’re probably an artist or songwriter. So let’s use a metaphor. If we want the best song, what do we usually do to make the song perfect? To create the best reality for our song? That’s right. We write, rewrite, and sculpt the song until it’s perfect and literally takes our breath away.

In my opinion, we must also do that on a bigger scale with our own personal story and reality.

Imagine getting out of bed every morning with your new, amazing personal story unshakably embedded within you. Your personal reality takes your breath away.

Imagine that. What would that feel like?

I’m also implementing this idea of the “stories we tell ourselves” into multiple areas of my life – career, personal, health, relationships, etc. – where I want to improve.

Another Random Co-Write vs Doing the Work?

I daresay this idea of “doing the work” is even more important than just showing up to another random co-write, keeping us busy. In fact, sometimes it can be this “busy work” we unconsciously create for ourselves, preventing us from taking the important look inward.

If we can do this – improve and reframe our positive “self-talk,” and then our positive mood, positive temperament, and our amazing “new story” or personal identity – then this undoubtedly starts shaping our new reality. Our new reality has the opportunity to show up.

Your Filter: Creating Your Rose-Colored Glasses

We can then start seeing the world through our new and improved mindset, belief, identity, and filter. As a metaphor, imagine someone viewing the world through rose-colored glasses (literally). Everything’s going to look “rosy.” It’s also what Nick calls the “Google search of your mind.”

What we search for and questions we ask ourselves will return those exact search results. On that note, I’d also highly recommend you check out Nick Cownie’s book “7 Minute Mindset,” which was my favorite and most underlined and annotated book of that year. You can get that book for free here: https://7minutemindset.com.

How Do We Create Our New Story aka Our New Reality?

Getting back to the idea of creating our new reality. How can we do that? You guessed it. This is all about creating our NEW story. We can and should work on this every day. Doing this work can create an upward spiral as we approach our life, career, and relationships through these new eyes, beliefs, and identity.

Are you with me? Sounds good, right? So how do we do this? How do we create a “new story,” especially if you dragged an old one around for years or even a decade or two?

First, what’s your old or current story? Let’s get real here. It might be the story that’s filled with grind, struggle, frustration, doubt, fear (including doing your most important work, of success, of even having the ability to pay the rent, etc.) in whatever sector of your life you want to work on.

I’ll give you a head start. Here’s an example of an “old story” as it might relate to, say, an artist or songwriter at any level. Note: I’m putting myself in those shoes or thinking about myself in my earlier years, when I was a semi-professional songwriter..

The “Old Story”

Unhappy woman playing guitar in a studio

“Being a successful professional songwriter is hard. Every day I put so much effort and life into writing songs and it feels like a grind.

“My ‘old story’ is I’m just not as good as these ‘other’ writers and artists. My ‘old story’ is that someone else always gets that single, that big playlist look, that big publishing or label offer, etc. And those writers just seem to always get those first calls and get in those big cowrite ‘rooms’ I aspire to be in. I’m just not connected enough.

“My ‘old story’ is there’s constant rejection in pitching my songs, or even if I get a song recorded, it might not make the album at the last moment.

“My ‘old story’ is I have to really be in this grind every day with a fear of not making it, of what others perceive of me, of my own timeline, of speaking up, or of not being ‘nice’ in co-writing sessions. Probably this fear keeps me from doing my own most important work and creating real pieces of great songwriting versus just trying to get a song recorded and “out there.’

“My ‘old story’ is maybe one day, I’ll have the success I want, but it doesn’t feel like it’s in reach right now.

“My ‘old story’ is that other people are just more talented, faster writers, have a better network, are in better rooms, and my reality is just being in this grind.”

So what do you think is the actual reality of that person’s story? That’s right. What’s probably the reality of that person’s continual “self-talk?” What’s the output of that continual negative self talk every hour, every day for years – or a decade.

OK, are you with me still? How do we break this cycle? How do we install a new outlook and reality and get those nice “rose-colored glasses?”

That’s right, we create a “new story.”

It all starts with creating a new “self-talk.” Yes. You’re going to be your biggest hype person who’s in your corner all the time.

So let’s do this. Let’s create a “new story” from the same perspective. Even if it’s not “actually true” today, what would happen if you made this your new mantra, the new things you say to yourself, about yourself – All. The. Time?

The “New Story”

Smiling woman playing guitar in a studio

“My songwriting career is amazing. I’m on FIRE!

“As a songwriter, I have this amazing flow, where everything is coming together. I have creativity, connections, people calling me for sessions I want to be in, etc. I see the results of my work all the time in the playlists and on the charts.

“I’m doing my most important creative work every day, and that creative work is amplifying my confidence and my joy tenfold. Huge cuts, singles and opportunities are always on the scoreboard for me, and I have an amazing appreciation for, joy toward, and confidence about myself and my skills.

“All my resources are always online to be sharp and fast in my writing sessions. I come up with amazing ideas all the time.

“I write from a position of ultimate freedom and artistic expression where the natural by-products are amazing and valuable songs, which fulfill me. I’m doing my most important work – every day.

“The royalty checks have been coming in and are amazing, allowing me to enjoy even more freedom and the joy that I desire, including creative passion to select whom I want to work with and write the songs I’m most inspired to write.

“The biggest playlists in the world showcase my songs. Artists, writers, labels, and producers call me for my creative input. It feels amazing to really be able to focus on the most important songs of my life and stack win upon win upon win!

“I write the songs that stand the test of time. My ‘new story’ is all about living my most authentic self and being the songwriter creating the art that inspires me and builds my lifetime legacy.”

OK, so how does that story sound? Pretty f’ing amazing, right? Imagine that person repeating and reciting that story every day, hour upon hour, in their head, that story that is through and through TRUE TO THEM. That’s their identity!

What do you think that person’s life looks like? If not right now, in one to three months from now? One year from now? 10 years from now?

That story above is not the reality of a struggling artist or songwriter who doesn’t have anything going on and feels lost. It’s the story of someone who’s making it all happen, all the time. They’re crushing it! Life is not happening to them, it’s happening for them.

Are you with me still?

There’s also a unique way to look at this, which I picked up from Tony Robbins, which can help crystallize all of this. Quick side tangent. Let’s say you’re a smoker and you want to quit smoking. The people who really quit smoking, how do they quit? The best results are often achieved by people changing their actual identity and beliefs about themselves. Those people create a new identity. Their new identity becomes that of the following: “I’m a nonsmoker.” Or another example for the person who wants to lose weight, their new identity becomes, “I’m a healthy eater. That’s just who I am.”

That's just me. It's who I am. And, it is what it is.

So how do we go about and actually implement this? How do we step into our future reality and our “new story?”

As Dr. Nicole LePera once said in her great book, we have to “do the work..”

How To Do The Work by Dr. Nicole LePera

On that note, I have an exercise and a daily routine, which I’m doing for myself. Below are the instructions and you can re-create this in a Google Doc or in a journal. You can also apply this to as many areas in your life as you wish. This is all about creating and forging new identities and beliefs that can take ROOT in your life.

Making the change at an identity or belief level – in this case – is really the pathway, in my opinion. Note: this isn’t easy. But we need to start somewhere.

Let’s get started on your “new story” then, shall we?

Creating Your New Story

First, I want you to think about an area of your life for which you want to create a “new story.” For many of us here, this might be first about “career,” but this can absolutely be anything you want, such as your “personal story” and self-talk around your health, your relationships, etc.

Next, we have to write out your “old story,” and be completely honest here. What are you really telling yourself? What’s running through your brain? What do you believe is a negative or even false narrative you’ve been repeating? Remember, this is just for you to see and reflect on. Dive deep. Nothing great came from comfort zones. Take a deep and honest reflection of the story you’re telling yourself.

Additionally, what’s the “self-talk” you repeat to yourself throughout the day?

I want you to type or write and take up the entire page. Just keep going until there’s nothing left. If there’s more to talk about then go on to the next page.

Next, I want you to write your “new story.” The one that 100% exists for you right now already in the quantum realm (I’m referencing Dr. Joe Dispenza, if you believe in his work). Write out in full detail your “new story.” What amazing identity and beliefs do you tell yourself all the time? What positive energy and “self-talk” shows up for you? What’s that amazing life that’s out there for you? To quote Nick Cownie, “What happens when you tune into Success.FM?” Write it all out in full detail.

As we did with your “old story,” I want you to write a full page here as well. Keep going and going and going. Get it all out. Just go stream of consciousness, no editor, just keep writing. And take more than one page if needed.

Steps for writing your new story

Now, when you’re done, I want you to set it aside for a day. Come back the next day, add to it, edit it, make it even bigger and more amazing, then write out your “new story” that you can easily review every day.

I would also recommend (and this is what I do) printing out these new stories, so they’re easily in reach and viewable all the time. For example, on your desk, in your car, in your notebook, posted on the bathroom mirror, etc.

Then, I want you to read this “new story” three times a day. Once in the morning, once midday, and another time before going to sleep. Another idea is you could get a bulletin board or a whiteboard (which I have) and write down the key simplified bullet points of your “new story,” so you see that 25+ times a day walking around.

Make this your new “self-talk.”

Imagine doing this practice every day for a week, for a month, for years, for a decade! What type of personal story will you train your brain to create and manifest into reality?

Affirmations vs a New Story and Self Talk

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Now, you might be asking yourself “Isn’t this just really positive affirmations?” You know, looking in the mirror and reciting “You’re good enough, you’re smart enough and doggone it, people like you.” And while that’s “nice.” This isn’t the work we’re doing. The work we’re doing is all about creating your new story and part of the basis for this – will be flipping your negative self talk to positive self talk – perpetually.

You might even want to keep a “self talk” online journal. Part of this can and should be just being aware of any negative “self-talk.” In fact, Nick Cownie was telling me he created a self-talk journal. Whenever he caught himself in a moment of negative self-talk, he just wrote it down. Surprisingly or not, Nick told me how much negative self-talk might occur for the average person on a daily basis (i.e. imagine 50+ internal negative self talk dialogues). Note: this is self-talk about everything – for instance – what you say about yourself when it comes to your: appearance, habits, health, relationships, habits, bank account, weight, career, etc.

Reframing Negative Self Talk

The idea here is to start catching yourself with any negative self talk and instantly reframing that to positive self talk. Even trivial things. As an example, I remember Nick was telling me that if he spilled a glass of water or something, instead of saying to himself, “You’re an idiot,” he’d say, “I meant to do that. I’m awesome!”

And remember, when it comes to your “new story,” you can and should continue to modify it appropriately when needed.

Replacing the Old Story with the New Story = An Amazing New Reality

In closing, while it obviously won’t be overnight – ultimately the idea here is your ever evolving “new story” will ultimately become your current story and then your future reality and the dream life you desire. You know the one. The one where life, your career, your relationships, your finances, your health, etc. is all amazing!

Let your new “self-talk” create your new mood, your new temperament, your new story that broadcasts and resonates inside and through you, creating your new reality.

And in closing, I came up with an interesting theory while writing this article.

I think your future dreams and the ideal life you imagine are really just you remembering the future of a reality that currently exists for you (that new story). It’s the reality you’re currently building today. The one that’s coming into existence and closer to your reach, every single day and hour you live your life in your “new story.”

Rewrite your self-talk. Re-write your new story. Create a new reality.

Your future dreams and the ideal life you imagine are really just you remembering the future of the reality you're currently building- Benjamin Groff

Hope it’s helpful.

Disclaimer: Benjamin Groff is not a licensed psychologist, therapist or anything of the sort. The above is purely for educational purposes only and examples of what he is doing in his own career and life.

Image Credits: Image Creator from Microsoft Designer

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About the Author

The Author of “How Do I Get A Record Deal? Sign Yourself!”

My career in music publishing extends over 25 years, including BMG Music (bought by Universal) and EMI Music Publishing (bought by Sony), as well as the 1st U.S. employee of Kobalt Music Publishing, where he helped build the roster over 10 years as Executive VP of Creative.

Benjamin is currently heading up his own publishing company, Brill Building, as well as label and music filter, We Are: The Guard. Benjamin’s signings range from Ryan Tedder, Kelly Clarkson, The Lumineers, Grimes, Savan Kotecha, OneRepublic, SOPHIE, Ariel Rechtshaid, Greg Kurstin, Tiesto, Kid Cudi, TOKiMONSTA, TR/ST, Cut Copy, Big Freedia, Lindy Robbins, Peaches and yes, even Steel Panther. His specialty in the music business is early artist, writer and writer/producer development.

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