So, today is the day we kick off with “Tell Your Story 101”.
Before we get into it, let’s ponder the question of why we NEED to tell our stories. If you are anything like me, you question if your story is worth telling. I would counter that with this:
Your story is absolutely worth telling and more than that, there is someone somewhere, be it your children, your spouse, your family, or even a perfect stranger that NEEDS to hear your story. You are an amazing, unique individual with a unique perspective on life. It is your duty to tell it.
Secondly, we all feel the need to connect. We yearn for significance and we want our lives to have had meaning. And we want to be remembered. Telling your story, in whatever format suits you, ensures that your story, the essence of you, continues long after you are gone.
You may question why this is even important. Again I would counter with this:
Imagine Anne Frank had not written about her life. A simple 15 year old girl who was eventually taken by the Nazis and died would have just remained a statistic, one of the estimated 6 million who died in what must be considered as the darkest time in humanity. Instead, we have Anne’s words, her legacy, to remind us that despite all the evil that us humans are capable of committing, there is always beauty to counterbalance it.
I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.
I imagine that someone, somewhere whilst going through some hardship of some kind would have found great solace in this quote. Here was Anne, having to hide from the Nazi’s, embroiled in a time when life seemed, and indeed was, hopeless, yet she managed to find light in her day. It is only one sentence, written 70-odd years ago by a 15 year old, yet it remains a diary of hope and history.
This is why I believe our stories are so important. REALLY important. Yours, mine, everyone’s.
So, let’s begin.
I am going to tell you how I do this. Life is busy, frantic and is becoming more so. It is important to make it as easy as possible. I love to write, but finding the time to keep a journal or diary is difficult for me, not least because I love the sound of my own (writing) voice and therefore can write for pages.
First of all, we are going to get a lever arch file and fill it with page protectors. I opt for this route as opposed to online record keeping as I am a tangible kind of person. I still prefer to hand write, post actual letters and read actual books. It also means I can stick in actual things that mean something to me (like say, an autumn leaf that I absolutely love). However, if you prefer to work online, that is also fine. It is YOUR story. It has to have meaning to you.
I am currently writing a book on my life. It is, sort of, chronological. I am not going to cover this here. Each week we will be tackling a subject, building a dossier, in bite size bits to create that which is the essence of you. Imagine this dossier is a time capsule of your life inside of which contains snippets of you and your story. Much more fun and interesting, no?
To start us off, I have included for you to download what I call The Skeleton of Me. It is a one page sheet that contains the basic information of you. It’s a simple form and a bit boring to fill out, but quite important. It is your starting point. You can download this here. In the coming weeks, we will be building on this information.
Once you have done that, we are going to move onto our first exercise.
I would like you to write down 5 things you have learned in your life. These can be whatever you are compelled to write at this moment. Please don’t feel compelled to write anything life shattering or profound. Just write whatever comes to you. Don’t forget to date the document. Once you have written it, pop it into your lever arch file (or online file if that is what you are doing). Remember it isn’t a definitive list. We’ve all learned more than five things, feel free to repeat the exercise whenever you want.
Here is my list:
5 Things I have learned in life:
- I have learned that life is an ever changing state of being. Nothing ever stays the same. Ever. This is a good thing. It means that when life gets really difficult, it will pass. At some point it will pass. Of course, this also means that the good stuff doesn’t last forever, but that is okay too. More good stuff is coming around the corner.
- I have learned that kindness and compassion are the only things that really matter in life. It is free, and yet the rewards are innumerable.
- I have learned that when it comes down to it, all we really want is to feel loved, feel connection and to be somehow remembered. To have these things we need to love, connect and remember. No man is an island. Reach out. It’s worth it.
- I have learned that motherhood is by far the most wonderful and most challenging thing that I have ever encountered and that it’s perfectly okay to find it challenging. As long as you love your children all will be okay.
- I have learned that despite what the media tells us, there is no such thing as perfection. It is a fabricated construct aimed at making us feel less than we are in order to encourage us to spend money to make us feel better, and closer to said fabricated perfection. It is an economic paradigm. Break free from this. Let us banish the notion of perfection. You are amazing JUST AS YOU ARE. Believe me.
And there you have it. Our first exercise in the telling of our story. How did you go? Do let me know. And feel free to share your 5 lessons, if you feel you want to, either through the comments below or on twitter, facebook or instagram.
Next week we will be working on where we have lived throughout our lives in a fun and interactive way.
Until next time,