Your life is much more interesting than you might think it is.
It’s easy- and lazy- to believe that our own lives are boring and monotonous while those “other people” are the ones who live exciting lives. Remember, the internet told you so. Those are the people featured in the news, or in the gossip conversations, and we think that they are interesting because their story is being told. But what if your life was just as interesting- or more interesting? Could it be that the only difference is that their stories are being told and yours aren’t? There is a solution to that.
Tell your stories.
“But I don’t have any stories,” I can hear you grumbling at me.
I believe that you believe that. But I disagree. The people who have the greatest stories inside of them don’t even know those stories are there. Now, I understand that some people are more of a ‘natural’ storyteller. At the same time, some (including me) make storytelling- and story gathering- a priority. On the surface, without the gathering, crafting and telling of these stories, my life also appears boring and non-story worthy.
How do I know this? I feel it every time I go to an event where…
- I’m not in the mood for talking.
- People don’t know me.
- The people there are all self involved jerks.
The third one isn’t true. Well, most of the time. But when people aren’t interested in asking questions, I certainly don’t go around running from person to person reciting my tales to these unsuspecting victims. The ability to read the room is a crucial trait in any great storyteller. (We will discuss more later) I would guess that most people watch comedians for the laughs. I watch to study their storytelling. You can gain a boatload of knowledge about storytelling by watching comedians in action.
Great comedians know how to read the room. That uncommon ability allows them to quickly gauge- in real time- what captures attention and what captures yawns. The difference is that they have a stage and a captive audience and we, most of the time, don’t. What else do they have? They have the practice and repetition of going on stage at night to craft these stories from some random thought to saying something that makes an entire room howl with laughter.
But before they get that room full of people to be captivated by their storytelling, they need to simply start telling their stories. Now, you might have no interest in being a comedian or even being anywhere near a stage but being a great storyteller is vital for selling your products, your ideas or to even simply connect with strangers on a human level.
They have to gather their stories. But the big difference between them and you is that they have to and you don’t. If they don’t have stories, their career is done.
So the first step is to start collecting those stories that have been buried in the back of your brain for years and even decades. Remember that your life is much more interesting than you think it is. You just haven’t written down or collected so many of the interesting things that have happened in your life, the things that you have learned as well as some of the things you have seen.
Something that I realized was that if I could learn to tell a great story, the actual story doesn’t even have to be mine. It could be something I witnessed. It could be about someone else I know. It could even be about someone I didn’t know yet they had an affect on my life. Storytelling was the conduit that brought so many areas of my life together. I began to learn about why my life became what it is (and that can be good or bad) because of the storytelling skills that I developed. If the stories made me realize the bad things I had done, I now had the consciousness to learn and change it. If they were good things, I could do more of it. And I can tell those stories as either cautionary tales or inspirational lessons.
Either way, creating the practice to gather these stories was essential.
I love pulling stories out of people that they didn’t even know they had. I beam when I can help unearth a story that has been buried in the recess of their mind and see those eyes shoot open when they discover it.
We did a storytelling mastermind call in the Total Life Freedom Community a few months back where we did an exercise about uncovering these stories. Melinda Walker has a thriving pet sitting business in Athens, Georgia but as she told the story behind the transformation of what she does, she focused on the most basic of facts. There wasn’t a story that captivated us into really understanding the passion behind it. How can she convey that to other potential pet sitters who wanted to build a business like hers without a compelling story of why?
“You have to have had a moment,” I challenged her.
Everyone has it. We just don’t think about it, or we forget about it.
I made sure I didn’t let her off the hook. And then I saw it. Her eyes shot open.
“She got it!” I yelled out, before Melinda even said a word.
“I do!,” she yelled. “I don’t know why I never thought of this. We were traveling in Mexico. We were out on the ocean, surfing. We got a call when we got back from a member of our team that there was a problem but they got it all figured out. It was at that moment that we realized for the first time the we would build a business that allowed us to be anywhere in the world and it would still run smoothly. And that’s why I want to help others do the same thing!”
Now, what’s more exciting to hear? A list of boring facts and figures or a story of a life transformed?
So I hope you see why you need to gather your stories. Tomorrow we’re going to talk to you about how you can do it. And be prepared for me to ask you questions that you haven’t asked yourself in a while.
And remember. Your life is much more interesting than you think it is. And we’re going to prove it.