It’s a weird phenomenon, really >> this fact that for so many of us, drawing the throughline between our stories and our brands can feel. . .
[fill in the blank].
I’m sure there’s some super smart psychological explanation for all of this H.A.R.D., too, but brass tacks, real life experience has taught me that one of the biggest culprits behind the story-finding struggle is that few of us ever take the time to dial into the stories already stored inside our brains.
We’re living in the era of LOUD.
So making the space to discover the stories that inform every decision we make, every idea we have, and every dream we hold? It just feels counterintuitive and nearly blasphemous in our scroll-your-way-to-another-world culture.
The essence of my work with clients is really about helping you get quiet enough to hear the narrative inside your own hearts and souls.
In my own life, I’ve found that when everything feels jumbled up and strewn about, if I’m brave enough to pull back and step out of all the noise, I can begin to unearth the stories of my past and use them as a guidebook to the stories of my now.
And gosh, that’s a beautiful thing>>that the lessons and wisdom and answers I often want RIGHT NOW have already been coded via the hard lessons life gave to me WAY BACK WHEN.
You can do that, too, and today, I’m sharing two ways to help you do it.
Quick caveat before you read further, though.
These exercises aren’t a panacea.
They won’t “write” your story for you (like magic made Cinderella’s dress).
Instead, these exercises will expose your stories of meaning and significance. . . and once you can SEE those stories in plain sight, then (and only then) can you start connecting the dots and building connections for your audience.
Story Finding Exercise One >> TUNE OUT
That is, what is one sound that makes you stop in your tracks and tune out everything else around you?
Right now for me, it’s the locusts. (Or are they cicadas? I never can remember. Paging Daddy Science – aka: my dad who always knows everything I don’t.)
Whenever I hear them, I’m instantly taken back to my childhood days where I sat outside on the cool cement porch, long blonde hair blowing across my face with the warm summer wind – as though the sun were stretching its fingers down from the skies just for me.
Tuning out to tune in allows me to step back into those moments of childhood and find all the stories I thought I had filed away and forgotten.
Story Finding Exercise Two>> LOOK CLOSE
What’s one item that grabs a fistful of your heart every time you look at it?
Yesterday, my son and I were cleaning out a few drawers when I came across an old notebook from 1988.
It was the year I moved schools – 6th grade, and before I left, every classmate wrote a goodbye letter to me and handed them to me inside this notebook.
Each time I thumb through the pages, I’m reminded that the Lindsay I am today is the same exact Lindsay that has been there all along.
Well, don’t have much to say except I’ll miss you. Well, everyone will. Now, when I turn around, I’ll have no one to talk to or anyone to tell me directions to our work. I hope you’ll get as many friends at your new school as you have here.
Remember, never be satisfied with just “good” work. Challenge yourself to MAKE GOOD BETTER AND BETTER BEST!
Mrs. Barnes, your second grade teacher
The unexpected humorist
I’m sorry you have to move in the middle of the year. You’ve been a nice friend, too.
You’re so goofy sometimes that my head can pop off when I laugh.
It will be more quiet without you around. I bet everybody will miss you.
Write to me.
Love (or) your friend,
You have been my friend for years. I will miss you when you leave.
I remember when I first met you. The year will be different when you leave.
Thanks for everything that you have done for me.
I know sometimes I was a jerk (well, half the time). Sorry about when I hit you last year.* I almost started to cry.
Well, have fun in your new school and hope you call some time.
*Critical Sidenote: Alex hit me over the head with a notebook in 5th grade. It wasn’t vicious, but I did make sure to make him feel super bad about it.
“You NEVER hit a girl – for ANY reason!” I screamed at him. He stared at me, speechless, and we never talked about it again until this letter.
Alex was also the boy I swore I was going to marry, and when I moved, I spent my entire 6th grade year singing “Somewhere Out There” from The American Tail on repeat because I swore I had been torn away from my lifetime love.
Will you try one of these exercises this week?
And when you do, give me a shout and let me know what story you discovered.
Have your stories but just not sure how to connect them to your brand? Here are 2 ways I can help: