I’m flat out writing a book about Untold Stories- The Power of Authentic Narrative in Leadership.
Mastering storytelling demands giving up fear that your story is not good enough.
Presentations and conversations that start with “I’m going to tell you a story…..” immediately warm an audience but also instantly create an expectation.
In the face of this expectation, the storyteller can often experience fear about how good their story is.
This is primal and goes way back. We have always placed great value on the ability in leadership to tell great stories; ones that transform, and come from courageous experience where an immense mountain has been climbed, a great adversary slain, a tumultuous ocean crossed. We constantly compare ourselves and our stories to others. Am I more brave, smarter, more captivating than the next guy?
Standing in the power of your own story allows you to give up the need to compete or compare through story.
There will always be someone who has climbed a higher mountain, or faced a greater hurdle.
In journalism, it was the quirky, unique and authentic stories I wrote that people remembered the most, not the ones about politics and crime. Great feats are remembered, but equally so too do human stories, no matter how great or small. Stand in the power of your delight and wonder in being alive, of observing, of loving the transformations and the little things you see in the world around you, and trust that your own story and those you choose to share can always strike a chord.
As sure as day follows night, we will always have thousands of thoughts everyday, get thou, thou-sands, thou- ghts.
When we dream, a complex story unravels in microseconds that on waking occurs to us like an entire novel.
If we pause to think on thoughts, it is the same deal.
Think about it. Think thought. Think thousands.
We create many novels, major dramas, great feature movies, hour by hour.
It’s 7.40 am. I’ve been awake for an hour and I know if I wrote down every thought I had in the past hour it would fill a book.
Now, so what?
The trick is out of all these thoughts, which are we giving the headline to? What story line are we making to guide our day, and guide our life?
Are we really conscious?
My old habit was to grab the negative ones. No coincidence, that’s what happens in the news media. No wonder negative stories rate. They’re running at the same rate as our internal bulletins.
There is a comfort and justification and familiarity around living these ego based negatives. And then on the flipside, if we are attempting some correction of negative thoughts, we might tell ourselves we are bad for thinking them and should try to erase them.
Religion and many disciplines teach us that, we are wrong to think badly.
Well here’s a new deal.
There will always be a percentage of our thoughts that are crap, negative, boring, mundane. But we have a choice about how we weight them, how we cast them in our daily life/story/future. ( Story, stored up, store of knowledge, collected, planned calculated, saved up, regurgitated.)
We are Thought Puppeteers.
Now, who gets the lead role?
The company of thoughts are jostling for position every moment.
There is doubt, fear, worry, excitement, inspiration, creativity, happiness, playfulness, fun.
Cartoons love those little voices; the devil on the shoulder. There should be a whole cast up there.
So the practice is:
- Take the directors chair.
- Grasp the puppeteer’s strings, and have the thoughts you want dance, play, and weave a story.
Life would be flatline death if there was no light and shade. Cast your thoughts in the story you want to create.
Have them dance to your tune. There is a magic in us to cast a divine play for ourselves and others, a divine story.
We are the thought puppetry masters.
If the dark thoughts have a dominant role, release them.
Inject them with humour.
Funny how the best comedy is dark.
Naturally, there are ancient reasons we are moved by darkness and fear in stories.
Back before we separated out our intellects, when were so called ‘primitive’,
Stories were about survival. Dark stories were to teach of danger. To set guidelines for survival.
Humour was connection too. And to laugh at fear, and in the face of adversity, was also for survival.
Laughter and tears are so close, master storytellers are master thought puppeteers. Love your thoughts!
Wells, the sort you get water from, are a great metaphor for great storytelling. Imagine you are dunking a bucket into a deep dark well, wanting to get some cool fresh water.