If you want to change something in your life, a way to start is to change your story. Start telling a different story. You can live yourself into a new reality by deciding on a different ending to your narrative. You can give your power away, or you can take your power back. How you construct your own narrative will determine that. It’s true for individuals, organizations and countries. That’s what Nelson Mandela did, what Martin Luther King did, what Mother Theresa did, and what many artists and actors do.
Rewrite a New Ending
You will know people in your own life who are rewriting their narratives because they can. You know them personally, or you know them through the media. They want to change their own life, and some even want to change the lives and destinies of others – particularly if they are in a leadership role. They consciously start to construct a new narrative with new words and a new vision. In the entertainment field, I bet you can name a number of singers and artists who have changed their lives because they’ve changed their personal story – Madonna, Lady Gaga,Taylor Swift come to mind: three famous women artists across generations.
Universal Touch Points
Storytelling is a powerful way to deepen connection and understanding. It is through telling your story to others that you transcend differences as you discover the universal touch points of what it is to be human. When you are open to others to truly connect, you find your intersect points, and from that shared place of common humanity you begin to share dreams and aspirations, addressing problems in different ways.
As you talk to each other, you set the course for action. If a conversation is filled with uplifting stories of success and joy, you are more likely to pitch in with your own stories of success, and others will do the same. As you construct meaning in relationship with others, you begin a process of shared understanding. You begin to share perspectives, and the stories begin to mingle and form a collective that you begin to share and spread.
Appreciative Inquiry can Change your Story
Those of you who know me, read my posts or listen to my podcast, realize that the world view and practice of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) informs who I am in world. Personally and professionally Appreciative Inquiry has changed my life for good. I have learnt the significance of inquiry, generativity and curiosity as powerful ways to engage in conversation and connect deeply with others. A way to truly listen to others is through careful choice of words and questions. It enables us to honor all our various experiences, our differing perspectives, and encourages us to tell our stories, and even begin to shape the direction of new stories.
As a personal and organization change methodology, Appreciative Inquiry's strength-based and positive framing of language guides you to find the best in situations. You share stories of what works, not what’s broken and what makes you feel uplifted, not pulled down. With deeper understanding and application of the guiding principles, you become more aware and pay attention to the stories you are telling yourself and others. As a result, you’ll begin to notice a shift in your energy and your relationships.
You are a Storyteller
Whether you acknowledge it or not, you are a story teller and you depend on a regular narrative to help you navigate through your days. You tell stories everyday: at home with your family, at work with your colleagues and clients, at play with your mates, and in romance with your lovers. Who you hang out with informs your narrative, your story – what TV shows you watch, what clothes you buy, the food you eat and all that you regularly do informs your world view and IS your story.
Significantly, the stories you tell yourself get lived out daily. They guide your beliefs and choices, thereby impacting your thoughts and actions. As you become more conscious of your own stories and the stories of others, you begin to notice different perspectives and potentially reach new levels of understanding. You begin to make sense of complex issues, and together in relationship with others you can create new stories.
So what are your stories? Do they ignite you and uplift others with greater energy, increasing your levels of satisfaction and joy, supporting you in upward spirals, or the opposite, sending you and others off on a downward spiral associated with energy loss, dissatisfaction, and feelings of life being sapped. Why not give it a try: change your story, it may change your life.