Albert Einstein, the iconic superstar scientist, expressed the sentiment of storytelling perfectly. “There comes the point in your life when you need to stop reading other people’s books and write your own.” Throughout my book, Who’s In The Waiting Room?, I’ve talked about my life and the lessons learned on that journey. That’s one way of demonstrating another compelling way to find common ground when building relationships-learn to share your story.
When you discover your story and share it with others genuinely and authentically, it resonates with others. Why? First, almost everybody likes a good story, especially one with a challenge and a great finale. Second, it sends a message of humanity that you have, as most have, had difficulties, challenges and heartaches. Finally, it sends a message of trust. When done in a non-manipulative way, it tells the listener, “I trust you,” and maybe, just maybe, the listener will begin to trust you, and BAM! You’ve now started a genuine and authentic relationship.
Finding your story to share requires reflection. An excellent exercise prompts, a series of questions or statements when asked, will get you to think and remember moments from the past. Take, for instance, this prompt: ”Think of a time when you had a very Happy Birthday.” I’ll bet you remember some birthday, probably when you were younger, that was something special. If I continued along the prompts, we might be able to create an even larger narrative, a story, that you can share.
Some people have told me that they are not comfortable sharing their story. That’s okay. Not everyone can write a book about their life and put it out there for the world to see. So how about this: Share a piece of your story. For example, if your brother’s mental illness is too difficult to talk about, how about a moment when you were younger, and you and your brother fell asleep in the backseat of the car while driving on vacation? You both woke up and saw your father bringing pizza into the car to eat. It sounds silly, but it’s not really – it’s human and relatable. It sends messages.
Here is the bottom line: Sharing your story is a powerful way to connect with others. The truth in success is that storytelling is not just for children. It’s for any human being who needs and wants to be connected. Try sharing something with someone you’d like to create an authentic relationship with. Let me know your thoughts.
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