Today, we’re talking about Dangerously Good Stories. You have ‘em in you already, but what are they? How do you use them?
I believe that one, tiny story can change everything… if you just notice and respond to ‘em.
This episode talks about:
Enjoy the story…
1. Document the un-documented stories in the format of your choice.
Think: photography, audio, in a journal, in a letter, in a video clip, etc. Documenting isn’t just for the memories and documentation—the act of documenting helps anchor in these stories you’ve noticed to help you NOTICE MORE of ‘em (#reinforcement). I think that’s the real magic in Intentional Documentary: you forge new pathways in your brain for how you see.
When you acknowledge what finishes the sentence of “This is so _____.”
This is so, my mom: denim jean jacket, Mickey Mouse, etc…. It’s like serendipity — you’ll notice these things when you’re not looking for them. And documenting it? The act of documenting anchors in the stories.
I’m no scientist, but I believe it’s literally forging new pathways in your brain to see more of the goodness through the noise, because you’re lighting up the reward center in your brain. Your brain starts asking for “more please!” and you start noticing these tiny details that matter to you when you’re not even looking for them.
2. Check the stories you’ve been telling yourself.
Did you spot any moments of impact that shifted *who* you are recently or once upon a time? Something you’re glad you learned or wish you hadn’t? What can you learn about yourself or what you’ve been believing? Decide if that thought or belief is serving who you are today… or change it.
It’s so easy to rack up the mental filing cabinet of all the ways people have hurt you. Have you ever, sort of, had a friendship break up? Or those people in your life who no matter what exciting thing you’re adventuring into, they’re the ones bringing the negativity?
When I look at these stories in my life, I usually zoom out and see differently. Instead of the emotional baggage I’ve carried from the experiences, I find compassion for the other person. It doesn’t make what happened ok, but the letting go is incredibly freeing.
3. Use this as an opportunity to strengthen a relationship.
Don’t tell your loved ones you love them… tell them why. Send a text. Pick up the phone. Have a conversation. Write a letter. Whatever your fancy. The ball’s in your court.
When I was a newborn with my parents, 10 with my Papa Bob and 20 with my mom, I made the 4-5 hour drive south to surprise my Aunt & Uncle on Christmas Eve. We showed up with no warning. I looked at that story awhile back and felt the thrill of plotting the surprise. It sparked a sense of urgency too.
I wanted to surprise someone.
I wanted my kids to experience the thrill of plotting it.
I wanted to feel it.
So, we did.
We drove 12 hours north to surprise my parents, stayed for only 1 day and drove 12 hours back home. It was so worth it. That new story happened from slowing down and remembering that story.
4. Assess the noise.
What noise prevents you from thinking about this stuff more often? What noise prevents you from responding to all the high level ideas you have for richer connection? What can you do about that now?
I reconnected to little girl Marie within the 6 months before we moved to SC. My favorite days as a little girl were up in the apple trees in my parents back yard with my 5 gallon bucket full of notebooks to write in, books and snacks, or exploring the woods at my parents cabin. Those memories have always been there, but when I really looked at them in relation to my life today, I realized how my current life wasn’t cultivating those things I loved.
Now, you’re not gonna catch me up in a tree these days and I’m romanticizing the story and leaving details out for brevity. Long story short, with my husband’s support, we literally uprooted our lives. I LIVE in the middle of the woods now. I’ve aligned my life with the parts of me that make me ME.
Obviously, moving and starting a new life isn’t the choice for everyone, but my point here is that this all happened, BECAUSE I paid attention to the insight from my stories. I was able to clearly see what was working and what wasn’t from a detached state—not emotional.
5. If you’re in business, write out a brand story seed for your business.
These stories make your brand human and make your audience feel connected to you, not just your work. People do business with people. So, seed that connection with Y-O-U through a few of your best, personal stories. Start with the stories you love to tell friends.
I think some people do a pretty good job at sharing the real-time stuff — “This happened this week…” but we can do better. There’s some kind of magic in telling your past stories occasionally. It’s more than a “this happened,” story. It’s a “this happened and here’s how it affected me” sort of thing.
It feels like we see people sharing how they went to Target, their kids trashed the house, they enjoyed a pretty sunset all the time. But when someone tells a story with some heart behind it, the stories feel like we took the relationship to another level. We got a deeper look at who the person is and it creates this feeling like we *know* them.
I opened F&F back in 2014 and there’s people from back then who are STILL connected and interacting to me… my secret to audience longevity has been to sprinkle in small, but real stories about yourself — specifically, your point of view.
So, those are the 5 ways to use your Dangerously Good Stories.
Listen, you’re gonna hear this a lot…
One, tiny story can change everything.
You just have to notice ‘em…. and then respond.
The problem is that they’re so easily missed or buried deep in forget. We get in our heads with noise. And when we’re not in the noise, we’re being present. We’re living, but not necessarily paying attention.
Being present isn’t the same as consciousness.
You have to slow down long enough to notice them and to respond to them… and honestly, doing so is something to practice throughout your life. The good news: it’s really easy and becomes an automatic habit with practice.
So that leaves us with one question: How do I spot my stories?
It takes practice. It takes practice in looking for them. So, I put together a free workbook to help you get started, called Notice Your People.
Until next time, stay awake for your stories.
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