Updated: Oct 30, 2019
Time is such a valuable commodity that I decided to do a review of what I did last weekend. Here is how I spent most of my time:
As I reviewed my list, I noticed that there was a common theme about how I spent my time. Yes, I will admit that I spent a lot of time that weekend either watching a movie or a TV show. But, what became crystal clear to me was how much of my time was allocated to either listening, watching, reading, or talking about a story. When I then factor in the time that I was on Facebook or Instagram and seeing all of the stories that people were posting, I realized that we are truly a part of a “Story Society”. We are either witnessing or sharing a story and, if we aren’t, we may be in the process of creating one.
The power of the story is the impact it can have on others. As I watched my son’s play, I was proud of the effort that the students invested to provide a great experience for the audience as they told the story. As I read my Bible verses, I was inspired by the love and hope in the stories that I read. As I listened to my Pastor at church and on my drive, I was educated by the stories he used to help me grow my faith. As my hair stylist and I shared stories about our families, we helped each other realize how we are experiencing similar events in our lives. As I watched the movies and TV shows, I was able to escape my world for that period of time and experience laughter, anticipation, fear, sadness, and the joy of triumph as I empathized with the characters in those stories. As I spent my time with my family either sharing stories or creating stories, I felt so blessed to have such amazing, loving, and caring people in my life. This weekend exercise reinforced to me that my focus should not only be on what the story is but also on what the story does.
Since stories are so powerful and prevalent in our society, a key to our success is making a commitment to how we craft our stories. Each moment of our lives can be an element of a story. Those moments will shape whether or not we are sharing a story of success or a story of failure. However, we must keep in mind that stories have a lingering effect on our minds and our behavior. Once we hear or share a story, the story can become a key factor in our perspective, in our decision-making, and ultimately in our behavior.
So what are the steps to creating your powerful story? The first step is to review what are the stories that you like to share. Are they positive or are they negative? What does the story say about your values? The second step is to determine the “Empathy Effect” of your story. Will the listener or reader be able to relate to your story? The higher the “Empathy Effect”, the more impact it will have. The final step is to clearly highlight “Milestone Moments” in the story. What are the turning points? How did you overcome the challenge? What can be the source of inspiration for the listener or viewer?
If each one of us can craft powerful, positive stories that can be readily shared, our “Story Society” can be the driver for positive progress and hope. Please share your powerful stories by emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org.