Your Story Could Be The Key

“Your story could be the key that unlocks some else’s prison. Don’t be afraid to share it.”

—Author Unknown

Image of an open book

How many of the following roles do you currently play in your personal or professional life?

•  Parent                      •  Teacher                  •  Coach                 •  Trainer
•  Mentor                     •  Advisor                   •  Consultant           •  Role Model
•  Spiritual Guide          • Trusted Friend          •  Subject Matter Expert

If you selected several, you must have a considerable amount of life experience to share with family, friends, and colleagues who may be experiencing various setbacks and challenges.

EXERCISE:

Although I frequently encourage a “coach approach” to facilitate the internal learning capacity of those around us, please take the wisdom of today’s quote and note when it is time to share your stories and experiences generously as a contribution to those in need.

The new year stands before us

“The new year stands before us like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.”

-Melody Beattie, American Self-Help Author

Image from Flickr by Babak Fakhamzadeh

Who doesn’t like a good story filled with excitement, adventure and extraordinary accomplishments?

A challenge for many of us is that we are often listening to the tales of our friends and colleagues rather that creating and sharing our own stories.

Let’s flip this challenge on its head by dedicating ourselves to being more prolific story-tellers in the new year.

EXERCISE:

Answer the following questions, and put a plan of action into place that makes you the main character in far more stories throughout 2017:

  1. What new and exciting places will you go to in the new year?
  2. What great professional achievement will you pursue and accomplish?
  3. What significant personal achievement will you realize?
  4. What community-based contribution will most benefit from your unique abilities and talents?

the best story

“When I look back in five years, which of these options will make the best story?”

—John Hager, American Politician

Image from evollution.com

Image from evollution.com

Are you facing a major fork in the road in your professional or personal life?

Consider brainstorming all the possible options, and perhaps a few that are outside your current vision, to see where they lead in the near and distant future.

Which potential choice fits best with your vision, values, beliefs, skills, strengths, and personality? Pay attention to feelings stirred up by these hypothetical journeys.

What scares you?

What excites you?

What delights you?

EXERCISE:

Ask and answer the questions above, and begin telling the story you intend to write with your life.

“Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger.”

“Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger.”

– Ben Okri, Nigerian poet

523Image from Flickr by woodleywonderworks.

In the coming days, pay particular attention to the stories people tell in your professional and personal life. You can even examine the stories told in the books you read, the shows you watch, and the other forms of media you engage with.

Notice the stories that tug at your heart strings and move you deeply. The common theme is when someone summons the courage from some deeply held belief or commitment to overcome a barrier that seems improbable (or even impossible) to conquer.

Exercise:

Consider picking up a copy of one of the many Chicken Soup for the Soul books by Jack Canfield. The subtitle for the original book reads “101 stories to open the heart and rekindle the spirit.”

“The greatest story you will ever tell is your own.”

“The greatest story you will ever tell is your own.”

– Charlie Rose, American broadcast journalist

443Image from Flickr by visual.dichotomy

A few years ago, my family started a new tradition of taking one day over the holidays as a “movie marathon day” where we all see the top movies back-to-back from early morning until midnight.

This year it was five in a row, but in previous years some of the gang saw as many as six or seven. We all love to be carried away by the drama, romance and humor of these wonderful stories.

Exercise:

During January, please take about 15- 30 minutes to do a “year in review” to identify the signature stories that would make up your highlight reel of 2013.

Take another 15 – 30 minutes to script out your coming attractions for the year ahead, doing your best to make sure it would be nominated for your best year ever.