Everyone has a story. Whether it is the story of their life, their work or their week. All of the things that happened to us and how we responded, is a story that is unique to each of us.
But not everyone tells their story. In fact, many people believe that their story is not worth sharing, has very little value, and is not something they should waste someone else’s time with. I know this because I ask people for a little bit of their story every day compiling perspectives for my writing.
Not telling your story is a huge missed opportunity.
What I have come to know about the stories we tell ourselves, or rather how we remember what happened to us and how we respond, is that there can be many different ways of looking at the same event.
When people tell their story out loud, or put it on paper, they often remember the painful pieces or the pieces they are not proud of first. Then, after a couple more questions, the meat of the story starts to come out. The parts of the story where they were proud of themselves, where they made lemonade out of lemons, and where they found a little piece of important information about themselves.
The change from the first question to the third or the fourth question is always amazing. It’s not that they are telling a different story or that they are making things up, they are simply looking at it from a different angle.
Seeing your story from a different angle is important.
When a person does not tell their story, they often only remember the first part. The part where they fell short, did not do all they could have, or disappointed themselves and others. And when they only remember those bad parts of the story, they use it to inform their future behavior, they try less, they risk less, and they believe in themselves less.
But looking from a different angle allows them to see the rest of the story. They see their strength in a trying time, they see their genius in solving the unsolvable, and they appreciate the good things that happened to them. And this story inspires confidence in future choices, courage to try something new, and compassion for themselves and others.
But this only happens when the story is told. If we keep it to ourselves, too often, we only look from one angle. If we don’t tell our story, not only does it make it harder for us to learn about it, but it makes it impossible for others not to avoid our mistakes or replicate our success.
So tell your story.
Out loud or on paper. Identify the learning’s, find the opportunities, discover your greatness in the midst of hardship. As our jobs, our lives and our world changes faster and faster, discovering those things you can only see from a different angle will be vital to your ability to navigate the future.
If nothing else, you might just inspire someone else to tell their own story. And if it helps them see the good things you already see in them, isn’t that important too?