Stop Telling Other People’s Stories
Stories engage, inspire and influence. They bring color and light to create new understanding. By using stories to convey insights and lessons, leaders enable people to grab ahold of an idea quickly and store it in memory.
Because people learn best from stories, leaders naturally use stories to communicate their most important points. Good leaders are always in search of a powerful story to carry their message.
Hunting for good stories, anecdotes, allegories, and accounts is both fun and instructive. We look to history, biographies of famous people, extraordinary performances, current news, and well-known allegories in an attempt to find a story vessel to carry an important message we want to send.
To teach and communicate, we tell our favorite stories. Predictably, these are usually stories borrowed from other people or events that happened to someone else.
While telling the stories of others is a sound approach, it is time to do it less. Storytelling is even more powerful when we tell our own stories. The good news is that no one knows them better. Even better news is that you have many great stories to tell.
Finding your own stories requires nothing more than thinking deeply about what episodes you have lived through that were funny, sad, unexpected, challenging, poignant, or unusual. Asking yourself what lesson or takeaway that you ascribe to the episode helps to make it a story worth sharing with others. When the story and story point allow you to say something you want or need to say, then a powerful personal narrative should be added to your repertoire.
Unless you’re in a coma, stories happen to you all of the time. The key move is to reflect on them, capture your best stories, and share them often with others.
You have your own stories. Tell them.