“I’m not really that interesting. No one is going to care to listen to me.”
That was always the challenge when I was writing for a newspaper. Some people love to tell a story and some will share far more than you ever asked for. Then, there are those who don’t believe that anyone would care enough to read it.
If I had a dime for all the times I’ve heard someone say something along those lines, then I’d have a bagful of dimes. Seriously, though, that’s where people often go when asked to share something about themselves.
Maybe, that’s the way you feel about your life and your life story. However, I’m going to start with a very basic assumption: Everyone has a story to share.
Every story, yours included, has a current moment/season (present). It has a place where it started (past) and it has a destination where it is headed (future). If you go deeper with your story, and you’re completely honest, you will have experienced moments of triumph and moments of tragedy. Every story, yours included, is filled with highs and lows, challenges and opportunities, friends and foes.
Every story, yours included, is worth telling.
The truth is that our lives provide us with a truly unique and exceptional story. As i was exploring the idea of “story,” I came across this list of seven elements of good storytelling. So, I’m sharing these with you so that you and I can understand that we do, indeed, have a life story.
- Your story has a central theme: While it might not be readily apparent, your life does have an overarching theme. Maybe it’s that “good overcomes evil” or that “family matters.” Maybe it could be an idea such as “faith” or “hope.”The individual pieces of the puzzle of your life story will point to a theme if you are willing to find it.
- You are changed by the story your life tells:. In your life story, you have changed. Your beliefs have changed, your assumptions have changed. You’ve learned to adapt and to be over time. In your story, the changes that have occurred in you have also brought changes to others around you.
- There are “crucible” moments in your story: A crucible is a place where the heat turns up in your story. It’s where there’s a change in you or in the way you see the world. Life stories can be defined by many crucibles over time. It’s what happened to you in the early years, the school years, the college years, the work years, the family years, the challenges you faced in the short term and long term.
- A story needs a “star” and a quest: The “protagonist” is the character who carries the story — the central star. You are the protagonist of your own story and the quest for you is the life that you live. Some might say that the protagonist is the “hero” of the story, but in the future, we’ll look at how there is a bigger hero in our stories.
- Every story has an obstacle to overcome. Along the way, you encounter something or someone standing in the way of you completing your life quest. Maybe it was someone who said, “You’ll never make it,” and you decided to prove them wrong. Maybe it was the medical diagnosis, the family challenge, the work challenge. Maybe your story has a nemesis. Somewhere in your story, you’ve had to overcome the odds.
- Every story is about change. A more traditional way of saying this is that every story has an “arch.” At the heart of every story, our life stories included, is the element of change. Something has to change from what it was to what it is now to what it will be in the future. Our stories include change.
- Every story includes conflict. Maybe, at the heart of it, we’d like to avoid conflict and drama in our life story, but it is there. It is the conflict and our ultimate response to it that lead us to the changes in our stories. The conflict in our life story gives us an opportunity to say or do something important. When we share that story with others, they can hear our life lessons in response to the conflict that we endured and overcame.
Everyone has a story to share. You and I have stories worth sharing. You and I have stories that others would listen to, connect with and learn from.
Where’s your story right now? Remember, you have a story and it’s worth sharing.
ReigniteMyStory.com is based on the idea that every life story can be reignited when we reset it, renew it and redeem it. You can contact me with ideas, questions or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org or by following me on Twitter at @reignitemystory.