There’s been a lot of talk about storytelling in my world the past few months. You may have noticed MSM’s social media posts about storytelling and I’m noticing it among my clients on a daily. The question I have for you today is, did you know that your life is a story?
We don’t often look at our life as a story, but it absolutely is! With a defined beginning, middle and end and countless memories and experiences at every stage, how could life be anything but a story?
There are so many benefits to seeing your life as a story. For one, it gives you the perspective of being a witness, like watching a movie. This is an important skill you learn in coaching – the ability to witness and notice without judgement what’s happening in your life. Witnessing past experiences and current circumstances allows you to see important details and lessons you are meant to take away.
Seeing life as a story can also be a huge source of inspiration. Think of any significant historical figure who’s had an impact on your life and it’s the personal story of their journey that you are likely to feel connected to. Whether we’re talking about Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs or Maya Angelou; their stories inspire the lives of millions.
What is it about the story that so easily compels and inspires us? It’s called identity.
In western cultures, we learn by observation and identification. That means we look to objects outside ourselves to understand the way things work. Science is an amazing example of this. We use biology to tell a story of the intricate workings of the human body and in doing so know that we are made up of more than the cellular processes it defines.
As we learn more and more about the story of the world around us, it simultaneously informs us about ourselves and slowly but surely, we develop a subjective identity – aka. a general definition and understanding of who we think we are.
It is here, where stories and identities mix, that story telling becomes a source of inspiration or limitation. It is at this intersection that we all must choose to be “defined by” or “inspired by” our story. For if you are only as good as the story you’ve lived so far, then your future is already destined to be a continuation of the momentum generated by your past.
Whereas, if you believe in life as a story whose ending isn’t written yet, then you come to see that no single experience you’ve had, nor circumstance yet to come, can ever define you. Instead, when we think about our life as a story, we see that a distinct and powerful opportunity awaits us.
The opportunity of creativity and creation.
We tend to receive ideas this I’ve given you here, and feel the need to act. However, I’m going to tell you not to do anything except Marinade – aka. think about this concept and let it in.
I have my clients marinade in their thoughts a lot as it’s an important step in performance. It’s how you develop your own personal flavor and spin on this storytelling thing. You’ve got to marinade in a concept and see what parts of it land for you and resonate with you; all the while letting your curiosity grow around the subject.
If you just can’t help yourself and want to take this somewhere, then grab a pen, a blank book and begin writing your story just for you to see for now.
Otherwise, marinade in the choice of being defined or being inspired as I leave you with a song by Natasha Bedingfield and these final words.
Nothing beyond this moment is written in stone and no matter what happens, you will always be the author and creative director of your life’s story.