What's Your Story?
Everyone has a story to tell! In fact, it’s impossible to live a life without creating a rich and compelling backstory!
The thing is, that story – YOUR story – is a very special thing.
For a start, it’s totally unique. There is literally no one on this entire planet that shares the same story as you, which in itself is pretty amazing!
BUT what’s more, the clues lurking within your story also hold the key that unlocks your future. And therein lies its magic!
Now I know that some of you reading this may well feel like you don’t HAVE anything special or magical lurking in your particular story. Nothing remarkable worth telling. Nothing unique to offer.
These feelings are often more acute at life’s transition points, when we’re forced to let go of the familiar and face the future with a feeling of vulnerability about where we fit in the world. Our Third Age is very much one such transition point!
I know these feelings all too well, having struggled with the same thoughts myself, as I grappled to find a sense of purpose and a new place in the world.
In this blog I’d like to encourage you to do this one simple thing that made a BIG difference to me and now makes a difference to my clients.
And it’s this: explore your story.
There's power in your story
Power to do WHAT exactly, I hear you cry!
Well, within your personal story you’ll discover SO much about who you’ve been, who you are and who you aspire to be. It’ll be there within the things you’ve done and experienced, the things you truly care about, the things you’d like to change, the things you yearn for.
When you look back at your journey so far and explore your own stories – your passions, your ah-ha moments, your successes and failures, your high points, low points, and turning points – you’ll find signals and signposts guiding the way to your purpose and to a happy, fulfilling new chapter.
You see, it’s precisely because your story is uniquely about YOU, by exploring it, you get to find out who YOU are, the light YOU alone are here to shine and the difference YOU alone are here to make. Making this one of THE most powerful things you can do to help you successfully transition into your Third Age.
It can completely transform your perception of yourself, your past and your life and – this is the exciting bit – it can help you create new plotlines for the next chapter in this adventure called LIFE!
Connecting the dots
Your story has a crucial role to play in times of personal transition such as moving into your Third Age. Your story has the power to connect your old self with your new self, to link your past, present, and future into a compelling whole.
One way to start your exploration is simply by free-writing your response to prompts such as these:
- Where did you come from? What aspects of childhood do you carry with you today?
- What circumstances led you to choose what you wanted to do with your life?
- What is your proudest achievement? Why?
- What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in life?
If you are reading this and thinking, ‘But I’m not a writer!’ I would just like to say that this is absolutely nothing to do with being a writer or not – it’s all about the insights gained from the exploration.
I encourage you to start small. I regularly ask my clients to explore their stories and very often the most revealing insights come out of an exercise where I ask them to tell their story in just 6 words – to write a 6 word memoir.
Impossible you may think… but it’s the premise of a book I absolutely love called, “One Life. 6 Words. What’s Yours?”
It started when the book’s originator, SMITH online magazine, asked their readers for their own six word memoirs. The magazine was inundated with entries, from famous writers to first time story tellers, all sharing their lives in six words.
Six words can say so much
‘Everyone who loved me is dead’, and ‘Cursed with cancer, blessed with friends’ are just a couple of examples of how six short words can express so much emotion and experience.
Along with the angry and the bittersweet there’s also the inspirational, the motivational and the downright funny – here’s a selection:
- ‘Any chance I could start again?’
- ‘Ditched the map, found better route.’
- ‘Born London, lived elsewhere, died inside.’
- ‘Wasted my whole life getting comfortable.’
- ‘Married childhood sweetheart. Two kids. Content.’
If my own attempts (straight off the top of my head, I might add) are anything to go by …
‘Inside mature woman lurks irrepressible adolescent’ and ‘Someone else waiting to get out’, the results are quite revealing and say more than an autobiography ever could!
If you fancy giving it a go, stick to the advice of the editors and try not to think too hard. You might even submit your own on their website or alternatively, send them to me here and we can share them in next month’s newsletter (anonymously is fine!)
If you’re looking for a way to get to the essence of who you are and what matters most – this is a great place to start.
Exploring your ever-evolving personal story will help you reconnect to who you are NOW, to what really matters NOW, and to who you are ready to become NOW.
And remember, you’re not merely a character to whom things just happen, but you’re the creator of your story as well and YOU get to write the next chapter.
So when you think about your story – the story that you tell yourself about your life right now…. is it uplifting and encouraging? Or limiting and judgemental?
In this short ‘Coaching Corner’ audio, I explain how this can be the difference between moving forward feeling determined, positive and confident and staying stuck, unable to move forward because you feel frustrated, defeated and disappointed.