We spend a lot of time talking about why stories matter. We’re told that storytelling is one of—if not the most effective means of communication. There’s something special about connecting with a story that causes us to see things differently, or to feel less alone in our own story. But in order for us to get to this place of connection, a story has to be heard. Someone has to start. Someone has to go first.
What if that person was you?
You may be like me. You know you have a story. You’ve probably thought a lot about your story. Maybe you’ve told a few people bits and pieces of it. But chances are, you haven’t yet stepped out and been truly courageous in telling all of your story. And maybe you’re wondering why it matters. Why do you and I have to be the ones that start? Why do we have to be the courageous ones? We have to start so that others can find the courage to own their stories.
It’s a domino effect. See, before someone can even think about sharing their story, they have to learn to own it. And the best way for ownership to occur is for someone to hear or see someone else being brave first. It’s a very basic principle. As a kid, I was much more interested in trying to roller skate after I saw my sister do it first. Even when she fell, at least I knew what to expect. I had a template for my own roller skating experience. And in order for people to be courageous in sharing their truth, they need to see our templates. They need to know what’s out there and what to expect and that they aren’t alone. They need support and grace and truth to go before them, so that when their time comes, they can step up with confidence.
Here’s the thing: You may not think your story really matters. But how many times have you had a conversation with a friend and one of you has said, “me too”? Those two words change everything for the person who is experiencing the understanding that someone else is like them. That’s huge! It breaks down walls and makes way for more truth and honesty almost immediately. And I’m willing to bet you had a similar experience when you began to finally own your story. The more courageous we are with our lives and experiences, the braver others can begin to be as they see the value in owning and sharing their wonderful, unique, and beautiful stories too.