Are Your Current Stories Serving You?


For as long as I can remember, I’ve been telling a story that doesn’t serve me.

At least not any longer.

The story is this: I’m a behind-the-scenes type of gal who gets her kicks from supporting others. In other words, I’m not a leader.


In high school my best friend decided to try out for cheerleading and, being like any other teenage girl, I followed my friends like a good little lemming. I showed up to tryout practice every day with my 80’s hair swept up in a banana clip and yet I. just. wasn’t. getting. it. I’ve blocked out most of this memory, mainly the fact that I looked like Steve Martin in The Jerk trying to snap his fingers, yelling “Grandma, I got it!” when he clearly didn’t have “it” = an ounce of rhythm. Here’s what I do remember: a feeling of abject dread as I stood in the very back and watched the girls doing herkies and pikes. I promptly left the gymnasium and cried. For days. And I never went back. My friend made the team.

The next year my friends tried out for Drill Team and went on to become President and Vice President of that squad. During games I would show up in the locker room and help them with their costumes, pinning their Elvis hair with bobby pins and shaking the wrinkles from their spandex. I truly felt in my element – valued, of service and appreciated.

I could tell you a million other stories just like that one that occurred over the years, but let’s fast forward to 2009 when I took a job managing Lissa Rankin’s first book tour for What’s Up Down There? Over a period of a year or so I began to manage the behind-the-scenes of her entire online empire and in 2011 she referred me to another client Mike Robbins. On our first phone call he asked me why I wanted to work with him and I said something along the lines of “My passion is to support and lift up online business visionaries.” Mike never told me in that moment, but he didn’t quite believe me. We’ve talked about this a number of times over the past few years and each time he’s told me that he knew that there was something more for me than being behind the scenes supporting others. Truth be told, when I helped him with his third book Nothing Changes Until You Do: A Guide to Self-Compassion and Getting Out of Your Own Way, he’s the one who gave me the initial inkling for my Book Shaman practice.

Just last week I was hiking with my dear friend & Good Vibe Coach, Jeannette Maw, and we were having a conversation about my experience on Martha Beck’s ranch with horse whispering. I told her of how I had just instinctively taken charge and rounded up some wild horses and we got to talking about support roles versus leadership roles. In that short chat, Jeannette had given me permission to look for evidence of where my old story was no longer true and that there was plenty of evidence of my own leadership over the years – in college, in work situations and in my own business.

Ever since I started noodling my Story Shape Shifting & Memoir Writing program, I’ve been questioning every story I’ve ever told; every story that comes up for me through my thoughts and my future-tripping and I’ve realized that I can find evidence on either side of every story. The question is which one will serve me in my life for my highest good?

I’ll tell you… right now it feels a lot more scrumptious to find all my evidence of leadership over the years, than to look at all the support I’ve given. Don’t get me wrong, being of support to others certainly served me for a long while and now, as I step out onto a bigger entrepreneurial stage, it doesn’t any longer. Just like that. I get to choose which story to tell now.

New Story:

I’m an amazing leader.

Which stories are you digging around looking for evidence to support? Is your current story truly serving you? And… if you’re longing to become a master storyteller, do check out my new program, applications are piling in since I’ve extended the deadline and I’m so excited for myself and the women who are saying YES! I could pee my pants.

P.S. If you’d like to hear me and Kristine Carlson, of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff fame, dish on the power of story and legacy, click here. It was such a power hour and a deep and beautiful conversation.

8 replies
  1. Sheila Bergquist says:

    It’s funny how we only see parts of ourselves, isn’t it? Or we don’t see ourselves as others do. I’ve had friends say things about me that I would never have dreamed they would say. They saw me in ways I never saw myself…and in good ways, I might add. Great article…makes me look back at myself and look harder at what I was good at.

    • Melanie Bates says:

      Thank you, Sheila! We do tend to fixate on parts of ourselves. Or… at least I do 🙂 I bet there’s also plenty of evidence of what you are good at now too, along with looking back.

      So much love, as always,

  2. Ken Jaques says:

    Nice post. I was smiling the whole time I read it. I can see you in the leader role quite easily, and I kinda read it like I was talking to myself at the same time. Many moons ago I self-described myself as “an amazing #2 man” because I was supportive of the leader without seeming like I was gunning for his job. Now I think about what amazing stuff could be accomplished working with someone like I self-described myself as “way back then”.

    P.S. I bent a spoon as well, when on Lissa’s course in September in July. I still remember your picture from when you first did that 🙂

    Cheers, Ken

    • Melanie Bates says:

      That’s awesome, Ken! And no smoke blowing here, but I definitely see you as a #1 man, I know there’s a ton of evidence for that as I could list a whole bunch myself – just look at all you’ve done in bringing voice to healthcare.

      And… WOOT on the spoon bending. Isn’t it an amazing feeling!

      Big love,

  3. Jeannette says:

    It’s interesting how sometimes it’s easier for someone else to see us in a new story, isn’t it? Those times are worth leveraging!

    But on the occasions we might be the only ones who dare to engage a new story, here’s to leading the way to a new reality with the one we love most! 🙂

    • Melanie Bates says:

      It’s so true, Jeannette. I feel like I can see other people’s new stories and field of possibilities so well, but when it comes to my own…. not so much.

      Thank you, my friend, for inspiring me (and this article.)

      Much love,

  4. Namaste says:


    I’ll never forget hearing Tony Robbins say, “Want a better life? Ask better questions. The power of your life is determined by the power of your questions.”

    Taking the time to ask yourself if your current stories are serving you is a question well worth pondering. I’ve got an old story I realized I’ve been telling over and over again that no longer serves me.


    • Melanie Bates says:

      Ah, so true, Namaste. The power of your question is key, indeed. The fact that you recognize that old story is no longer serving you is, well and truly, half the battle. Here’s to a brand new, empowering one.

      Big blessings,


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