Our story is being written constantly, whilst you are reading this your story is writing itself. But my trip to Holland recently challenged my thoughts and perspective on all of the stories I have been telling myself and to others over recent years. Its all about perspective.
I attended a course Raising Strong and Resilient Communities in Gouda, and was challenged to explore the meaning I have placed on specific events during my journey thus far. We explored strength and resilience through the art of story-telling. The way we communicate to each other, ourselves, to work colleagues, groups and the world.
There is more than one way of describing a series of events, our feelings, our reactions to them, and we do have a choice and the power to alter these. We often do this as time passes. For example, losing a loved one, the death of a parent may at the time feel extremely painful, sad and stressful. But as time goes on when we tell the story of that particular period in our history, the way we tell the story will change. We will add new things, edit others out, possibly link it to other areas of our lives and events.
In a corporation, a business or in a charity there is often a mission, a brand and a business plan to deliver. Goals and objectives that may or not be shared and understood by all team members. How well the story is shared, communicated and reinforced amongst staff will affect the success or failure of an organisation. The story will continue to evolve and not all members can be expected to go along with the changes, but a community can remain strong and grow depending on how the story evolves and is told.
This may all seem obvious, but for me it is extremely empowering and exciting. I am the author of my story and I can choose to look at my life through a lens of my choice. I can be a victim or a woman of experience and wisdom. Looking back I tend to go for the positive and see my glass as half full. Here are some of the things I learned and was reminded of during my week in the Netherlands:
- Words are extremely powerful and can trap us into negative thinking and inaction if we are not careful.
- Other people’s interpretation of our experiences and events can be harmful, sometimes useful, be mindful of this.
- Be careful who you engage with and talk to, remain authentic to yourself.
- Be mindful of the words you use and how you communicate with others. Changing a few words just here and there can completely shift the way you approach an aspect of your life or a problem/challenge you are facing in the community, at work or at home.
- It is worth taking time out to reflect on these things on your own, or with an individual or group if you are sure they are the right people to share with.
- Not everyone is going to understand you and that is ok.
- Sometimes sharing with people you have less history with can be the best thing for you.
- Don’t allow other people’s limiting beliefs to hold you back.
- Whatever your story is now, however pleasurable or painful, it will change, develop and connects with all other events in your life.
- Be grateful for all of the lessons, all of the stories, both good and bad.
So, what’s your story right now and how would you like to see it evolve?