Practicing Story – I’m often asked to share techniques and ideas about the practice of storytelling and story coaching. This is the first of those practices that I’m delighted to share. And I want to hear your input too. Don’t forget to leave a comment!
The minute he walked into the room, we were telling ourselves a story about him.
Just as soon as he began to talk, that story changed..slightly.
By the end of the workshop, the story was quite different.
This is what we do.
We make certain assumptions and judgments and tell ourselves a story; about everyone and everything!
It was a group of people who had worked together for quite some time. They knew each other well.
Their stories about each other had experience and evidence as proof. In truth, their stories had probably been created a long time ago. They may not have changed much at all over the last few months or years.
I asked them a simple question.
I said “share something that no one knows about you.”
They were surprised. They were a little self-conscious and unsure about what they ‘should’ share. I invited them to choose whatever was comfortable for them; their favorite color, their secret passion, their unspoken divorce, their favorite food type.
They laughed. Without warning I turned to the woman on my right and said “you start”.
She spoke in a quiet voice. At first no one could hear her. She sat up straight and told everyone about the types of books she lovesto read.
Next a Technology Manager admitted that as a child he was a champion ball room dancer. Chins practically hit the floor!
Then a young man with an amazing professional track record, one of the rising stars of the company, told us that he was bullied and beaten up regularly in high school. He laughed and, raising his fists, he said, it made me tough!
The young woman who followed found it hard to look around the room. She smiled and she stared in my eyes and told me that when she was 19 she married her high school sweetheart and divorced him at 21, swearing to never marry again. She added that she is now married with 3 kids to the love of her life!
Another older Manager told us that, as a young man, he had moved to Alaska and worked on deep sea fishing boats.
And this went on around the table of over 30 team members. They all knew each, had worked together closely other for a long time. And yet, this was new, these stories had never been told.
They looked around the room with a totally new appreciation for each other.
They saw how their stories about each other were in fact their own creation, not real at all.
They understood for the first time that their previous stories were barely connected to the person they thought they knew.
They were smiling. They were in awe of each other. There was so much energy in the room.
They were seeing a brand new story, for each other, for themselves and for what they could achieve as a group.
In that moment, they were awake to the amazing potential that we all embody.
The possibility to create a brand new story.
And to make that story, a brand new reality.
So, tell me, what can you share that no one knows about you?
Share it here!