None of us have just one story. We have a multitude of stories. We have a multitude of identities and selves that all need their own stories.
I am a mother and a reader and a writer and an entrepreneur. I am also an immigrant, Chinese, American, Dutch, woman, and so much more.
So are you.
So what we need isn’t just one story but a set of stories that we can use, selecting the right story for the situation, the audience, the mood, or the purpose.
What we need are story libraries, collections of stories about ourselves that are all true, authentic, and different.
Like a physical library, you know, the ones with stacks of books neatly arranged and people milling around looking for the one that will grab their imaginations or answer their questions or heal their souls, you should stock your story library carefully.
Choose stories that represent your truths
The stories that show people who you are by showing them what you do. Choose the stories that define you. But also choose the stories you love to tell. The ones that take you back to a place so special that you can’t help but smile. Stories that light up the room because they make you glow.
Practice telling these stories
Listen to them as you tell them and find the deeper truths hiding in your story. Do you touch on universal themes? Are you sharing an origin story? Take note of your audience’s response. Start to sort out which story works in each situation and deploy your stories strategically.
Tell stories in sequences
Use them to make a point. A story doesn’t have to stand alone. It might be related to a second story in order to make a full point, so show development or transformation in your life. Is there a problem you solved one way when you were young and a different way last year? The story can show your audience what you learned in between.
Dare to be vulnerable
Tell a story about when things didn’t go well, not to make fun of yourself or to humble yourself, but because we have all failed and suffered and cried. When we share stories of our vulnerability, we give our audience a precious gift. We create the opportunity for connection, for seeing and being seen.
I’ve created a FREE Story Library Cheat Sheet that you can use to evaluate stories you want to add to your story library. It’s all about taking a step back and asking yourself what your story does before you decide to add it to your repertoire. Download your free Story Library Cheat Sheet now and start choosing the right stories to tell.
If you’re ready to polish a story for your Story Library, register for an online 90-Minute Story Workshop! I offer them twice a month every month but August. It’s a small group of four participants. You’ll get:
- Preparation materials
- A mini-lesson on story structure
- An opportunity to tell your story
- Structured feedback from the group
- Story structure tips from me