“If life were a book, and you were the author, how would you want your story to go?” ~ Amy Purdy
Our stories are important. They act as magnificent containers and sacred vessels. The stories that we tell about our life, determine what our life looks like, feels like and ultimately becomes. We all hold and carry different stories. Some have amplified stories of sadness and tragedy, others have magnificent stories of joy and triumph. Sometimes we can feel that the stories we live happen to us, rather than us writing them into being. But what if we decided to take a different view and instead designed the stories we told about our life? When we do this, when we intentionally design the stories of our life to be filled with meaning, triumph and inspiration, they start to move from the pages in our mind out into the world we inhabit. Then it’s not just the essence of our stories that are filled with vibrant inspiration, but also the essence of our life.
When we remember that it’s the stories we choose to tell about who we are and what our purpose is that become the vessel of how our life unfolds, we can start to consider more carefully what stories we choose to write. But where do we even begin? If we haven’t studied the art of masterful storytelling, how can we start to design our own? It’s much simpler than you might think. No matter the genre, time it was written or spoken, depth or simplicity, a compelling story essentially does two things: it captures your imagination and it makes you feel. So, when you think about the stories you tell, be thoughtful in what you convey. Begin to design stories that capture your imagination and make you feel the inspiration you want to live. With this approach, you are already on your way to intentionally creating your next chapter.
However, designing stories of meaning and magnificence doesn’t mean you eliminate problems or conflicts, but it does mean you can work with and through them more quickly. This is because the emotion-laden stories of inspiration and meaning we tell go beyond the how and the what of our life all the way to the why. When we start to connect with our why, it gives a new context by seeing past the mechanics of our actions, all the way to the meaning of our life. In turn, this helps draw out more effort, more energy and more focus. We think Steven Denning had it right when he said that analysis might excite the mind, but it hardly offers a route to the heart … and that’s where we must go to design stories with more purpose and motivation.
The story of your life is in your own hands. Only you determine what is written, what is remembered. YOU are the author of a very important book and you have the power to design how the next chapters will be written. So, all that’s left to ask is, what story will you write?