“The key to the future of the world is finding the hopeful stories and letting them be known.”
—Pete Seeger, 20th Century American folk singer and social activist
Image from Unsplash by NeONBRAND
Where do you get news about local and global events?
To what extent do these outlets use the “If it bleeds, it leads” approach? What do they do to keep your eyeballs glued to the site, so you also see the ads for various pharmaceutical products to speak about with your doctor?
What percent of these newscasts and articles focus primarily on the negative rather than offering a higher percentage of hopeful stories along with the objective fact-based realities?
Stories of hope, compassion, empathy, and courage can and do inspire us to bring out and express these qualities in our personal and professional communities.
What positive and hopeful stories do you write and share, to uplift those around you?
How can and will you inspire others in your world to do the same to raise our global spirits?
“Consumers don’t just want to understand the story. Increasingly they want to be part of it.”
—Robert Fabricant, Co-Founder/Partner, Dalberg Design
Image from Unsplash by freestocks.org
Storytelling is big business—very, very big business.
Consider all the products and services you use every day, and ask yourself: What’s their story? Or What is their Brand Message?
Perhaps what their story says about you is just as important, because you buy, consume, or use what they are selling.
Given the vast number of choices, most people want to make those that resonate with their personal beliefs and values.
Consider the choices you make that support being intelligent, popular, and having high status. Perhaps your choices are also healthy and good for the environment.
What is your story or brand? How would communicating your authentic life message attract more people who would like to be part of it?
“Your story could be the key that unlocks some else’s prison. Don’t be afraid to share it.”
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.
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 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.
Answer the following questions, and put a plan of action into place that makes you the main character in far more stories throughout 2017:
- What new and exciting places will you go to in the new year?
- What great professional achievement will you pursue and accomplish?
- What significant personal achievement will you realize?
- What community-based contribution will most benefit from your unique abilities and talents?
“When I look back in five years, which of these options will make the best story?”
—John Hager, American Politician
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?
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.”
– Ben Okri, Nigerian poet
Image 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.
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.”