How to Use Storytelling to Promote Change
Why you need to tell yourself, your own life’s story. And how individuals and brands can empower themselves for change.
My friend Rachel is probably a better person than you. First off, she’s dedicated her life to working with small children. This means that her day can consist of being pooped on.
Literally, she has been pooped on.
More than once.
Not only that, but because the fecal assailant is probably an embarrassed two-year old, Rachel is also responsible for soothing that same pooper. Can you imagine the empathy that sort of resilience takes?
But Rachel is more than what her job is. And she would never tell her story this way.
In fact, storytelling is one of her favorite activities.
Every year, for the past several years, Rachel has chosen to tell her life story as it would be in third person — to herself. She doesn’t write it down; she says it out loud. She becomes the expert narrator of her own life.
What this means is that she gets to call all the shots. She can start the story where she wants, and conclude where she chooses. She can choose to leave in parts she wants, and take out parts she doesn’t want. She can make it as long or as short as she wants.
And she is free to embellish. Knowing Rachel, this is a freedom she likely takes full advantage of (and Rachel, if you are reading that, I’m not a little bit sorry in saying it — it’s one of my favorite things about you).
She then examines the way she told the story.
Why did she start where she started?
What kind of character is Rachel in this story? A hero? A victim?
Is this story actually entertaining? Is it something other people want to hear?
How does the narrator seem to feel about this character?
And the most important question:
What about the story would she want to see changed or told differently?
It is often said that we are our own worst critics, but Rachel tells the story of her life every year as a…