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Building Connections Through Storytelling

May 30, 2017

Ted Talks. I could probably spend a day listening to these archived speeches. I’m fascinated by the varied topics and the new ideas or new takes on existing ideas.  I suppose it’s not surprising that I like these since I’m a big fan of stories in general. And everyone has a story! It’s true. Some of us may be more likely to share our story, but we all have them and they are unique and amazing.

 

One recent Ted Talk speaker wrote a book called “The Power of Meaning.” In it, the author, Emily Smith, reveals what she found through extensive interviews about what creates meaning in people’s lives. She discovered that four things derive it: belonging, purpose, transcendence, and storytelling. Yes, storytelling! And the great news is that you are the author of your story. Storytelling creates meaning but telling your story also plays a part in the other three components of meaning - belonging, purpose, and transcendence. Basically there is tremendous value in you telling your story and others having the opportunity to hear it.  

 

A few weeks ago, I met with a WWII veteran. I was hoping that he’d share with me his military experience for a project I’m working on as part of the Library of Congress Veteran’s History Project. Unfortunately, he wasn’t interested in sharing his experience of the war. He had zero desire in reliving those painful memories and that’s not all that uncommon among veterans. However, he did share with me his favorite story and it was a love story. An incredible love story! The Notebook has nothing on this fellow’s journey! Truly remarkable. And as I sat there and listened, you could just see his posture change and his eyes light up - this was his story. What a gift to have lived it and what a gift he gave me in sharing it.

 

Storytelling has meaning, it creates meaning, and that creates fulfillment and joy in our lives. Don’t be too modest in asserting that “nobody wants to hear my story.” Your story might just be exactly what the person in front of you needs and wants to hear. Your story might also be exactly what you need to tell for your own benefit. You create a sense of belonging by connecting with that one other person you tell your story to. Don’t underestimate the power of that in our busy plugged in lives. Here’s to your story and here’s to you telling it!

 

Wisdom is a gift Save it today. Share it forever.  

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