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We live for stories. We really do. Your favorite book tells a story. Your favorite movie tells a story. Your most precious memories? They are your stories. Even the most pragmatic of people appreciate the power of story. Consultants and leadership professionals understand the best way to present practical advice in a way people can remember and apply it is to put those principles in the context of a story. From Patrick Lencioni to Andy Andrews, great leaders and writers use stories to teach. Jesus, himself, taught people God’s truths for Kingdom living, not by quoting a list of principles, but by telling stories. And we’re still talking about them to this very day.
Stories are among the most precious possessions we have. However, even with all of their value and in the midst of the compelling information just shared, people still have a tendency to discredit and devalue their own story. We think it is not as good as someone else’s story or we are unclear as to why anyone should care about what we have lived or experienced. I have developed a bit of a reputation for being a storyteller (no qualification on if I’m a good one or not, but I sure do tell them!) I am grateful for that label simply because I LOVE stories so much. I have considered myself to be a story collector for the better part of my life. But the truth is, you are too. The question is, why don’t you tell your stories more often? Maybe it is because you don’t realize how valuable they are. Or maybe you just aren’t sure how…
How Are You Stewarding Your Stories?
Here are three simple thoughts to consider to help you better tell YOUR story. They will help, even the most uninspired of you, to take a step forward…
1. Remember Your Struggle and What YOU Learned
Everything you will do today, aside from breathing and maybe, loving tacos, you LEARNED to do. How did you learn it? What happened that helped you finally get it? The struggle you experienced or the obstacle you overcame, big or small, is the starting point for your story. You responded to that struggle in some way. Things happened and you learned a valuable lesson in the process. Remember that struggle. Remember that lesson. Then consider how valuable it was to you in ultimately learning something new. Jerry Seinfeld says that ‘humor starts at the point of irritation.’ A good story starts at the point of struggle. Not everyone can identify with your victories, but everyone can identify with your struggles. (Click Here To Read My Post ‘Thankful For The Struggle’)
2. Don’t Dismiss the Details
Sometimes we devalue our story because, at face value, it doesn’t seem all that interesting. Remember, what is normal or commonplace to you, isn’t for other people. That feeling that you think everyone feels or that thought you think everyone thinks, they don’t. You do and that’s why it may not stand out to you initially. But you’re not going to tell your story to yourself. You’re telling it to other people who are different than you. There is a cliché that says, “The devil is in the details.” But I have found, more often than not, it’s God who is revealed in the intricate parts of our journey. The details of your story, the very thing you often think is just useless noise, may be the key to helping inspire or encourage someone else. We’ve become so pragmatic that we want to get straight to the bottom line. The bottom line is an important part of the story. But it isn’t a story. Don’t dismiss the details; dissect them. (Click Here To Read ‘Relationships Aren’t Efficient’)
3. Love The People With Whom You’re Sharing The Story
If the goal of sharing your story is for people to like you more or find you intriguing, then its impact will only be skin deep (if they stick around long enough to hear it all). Yes, you may be a main character in your story but, if you love the ones you’re sharing it with, you are making it ABOUT them. The questions on your mind are ‘how can this encourage, equip, inspire or comfort them?’ Often this is the most overlooked part in the power of telling your story. You aren’t telling it in order for people to get to know you better. That my be a by-product but that’s not the objective. You are telling the story because it is the most authentic, vulnerable way for you to share information from your own life that could potentially, and hopefully, enrich the quality of THEIR lives. That is much more inspiring and may even be the key to getting you to rethink all you have to offer through the stories you’ve lived in life. Those stories could help a lot of people if you would take the time to explore them, mine their hidden treasures and share them with someone who could use a ‘pick me up.’ (Click Here To Read My Post ‘Buy Products or Byproducts?)
Your stories are powerful because they are yours. No one else has them, even if they experienced the identical circumstances you did because, they aren’t you. Value what God has done in you enough to recognize His fingerprints on your life. When you do, the simplest of occurrences in your life may become powerful stories that equip and inspire your friends, family or even the world, to discover and live a better life. We are living now the stories we will tell our children and grandchildren one day. Let’s make them the best of stories.
From The Bible
Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. – Psalm 66:16 NIV
“Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him. – Luke 8:39 NIV
You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. – 2 Corinthians 3:2 NIV
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