You are not a random bit of flotsam floating through a chaotic universe (even if it feels like it sometimes this year).
Your life has carved a path, shown you things. Developed you into someone with an understanding of some aspect of human existence that is deeper and clearer than for most other humans.
There is a story YOU are here to tell.
Maybe it’s a story about how we find the courage to step into our own acts of sacred rebellion and how those acts change the landscape of our lives.
Maybe it’s a story about the art of creating rich, compelling lives for ourselves when we step back from the hamster wheel and start to live less driven, hectic lives.
Maybe it’s a story about the sense of wonder available when we let go of old stories about who we are and start to follow guidance from within and without.
Maybe it’s a story about the kindness and tenderness available to us when we slow down and start to notice more of the beauty of our lives.
Maybe it’s a story about how we forge spines of steel so we transform our experience of stepping into the world and making good things happen.
It’s a story written in the language of your life.
In the metaphors born out of your lived experience. It’s the poetry that rises from the meaning you make of what you’ve learned. It’s the thread that weaves through all your life stories, the common thread that shows up no matter how different the settings.
It’s born of the courage to stand up and name who you are and the wisdom that has been cultivated in you. The power and impact you know you can have.
It’s what you choose to be known for.
Think of Brenee Brown. She stepped out into the world to tell a story about vulnerability. And the world stopped to listen.
It’s the story of what you simultaneously desire to create for yourself in your life, and what you most hope to create for others through your presence and your efforts.
In the personal growth world, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of good ideas and stories. To try to be about everything we know. To be so enraptured by the story someone else is telling that you say “I do that too”. To try to be about growth and learning and presence and mindfulness and knowing the True Self and sharing your gifts and courage and showing up in full living color.
All great stuff. And maybe even all elements that show up when you do what you do.
But not all at the heart of the Story you are here to tell. (In fact, your Story has a lot to do with the interrelationship of all these things, how you see they are connected.)
Marketing training mostly reduces your message, your Story to figuring out who your audience is and what they want and saying that.
We lose our edges, our strength, our power, and our potency when we orient so strongly around what we believe others want to hear that we drift away from what we are here to say.
Most people won’t take the time to dig deep enough to find their Story. Or stay engaged long enough (for a lifetime really) with this question. Because it can be messy, complicated, nuanced work. It’s work that doesn’t always yield an immediate and crystal clear answer. Because you will continue to grow and evolve, so guess what, the Story will grow and evolve with you.
It requires the courage to cut away what sounds good but isn’t actually YOU or yours to do in the world.
When you tell someone else’s story or a watered down or unfocused version of your own Story, you are blurry and out of focus. People hear the words, the promises, but they don’t quite make sense. They don’t have weight and power. You may bounce around to different themes and focuses for your work, hoping to find the one that sticks.
When you tell YOUR Story, you come into focus for people. Your words start to ping, what you say makes sense. People feel in their bones the depth of what you have to say.
And when you are telling your Story it gets easier to show up and say what you are here to say. It’s easier to write and speak because you are in the flow of what you know. You are plugged in to your own magnificence.
So, ready to get started?
Remember our first lesson: you can’t do it wrong. This applies to your journey to figure out your story.
Any genuine effort to discern who you are, and why you are here, and what you can offer, and to articulate that is a step in the right direction. A whole-hearted effort to land your Story will always be better than staying in the vague cloudiness of “I don’t know.”
So some places to find clues:
Your story is rooted in the many stories of your life. In the hopes and yearning and intentions beneath the facts and practicalities of what you were doing.
Your story is a weaving together of the threads that have been themes throughout your life. Not just the things you like or are good at or that changed you, but also what you yearned to create for yourself and others, no matter the circumstances.
And there isn’t one perfect articulation of this.
There are many threads and themes in your life story. And, it’s your job to weave them together into a story, something that makes sense that you can communicate with people.
And you will evolve, your work will evolve, and the Story you tell will evolve. So get it the best you can today, and then let it be a work in progress.
(And it can greatly speed this up to have someone who is not you help you. Who can see with clarity who you are without the intervening beliefs and stories that make it less clear to you. In about an hour and half, listening to your stories and working with your words, I can pull together your story, your True Spirit, so it rings strong and true for you. And then we can expand that into an articulation of the wisdom life has cultivated in you. And if any of you have already done True Spirit work with me, I have a True Spirit Tune Up session where we can update and refresh that central story.)
1. Plan on working on this for 20-30 minutes if you can. If that’s too much, do 10 minutes.
2. Grab a piece of paper and a pen:
a. What do you most want for yourself in this lifetime? What are you most hoping to feel and experience? And if that comes out in practical terms, like goals or accomplishments, then what is it you believe that having those things would allow you to feel and experience?
b. If you have a child (or deeply love a child or another human), what do you most hope they get to feel and experience in this lifetime?
c. What do you believe is the most powerful, important, meaningful thing you could devote your life energy to creating more of on this earth?
d. Take your ideas from the previous questions and see if you can weave it together into one sentence. “I am here to create more of this feeling and experience for people and here’s why it matters.”
3. Take what you wrote above. What would change if you oriented or re-oriented your work around the theme you just wrote?