Monday, May 12, 2008

The Power of Your Story

Have your ever wondered exaclty why people are the way they are? As leaders, we are often looking for ways to effectively manage our people and are often forced to ask ourselves:

  • Why they don't trust?

  • Why they fight feedback?

  • Why they create drama?

  • Why they have to seek others attention or approval?

  • Why they keep to themselves?

  • Why they aren't driven?

  • Why they lack urgency?

  • Why they lack confidence?

Well, the point here is that everyone has a story and the importance of that story is that it tells us the answers to all of the above. This is why it is so important that people take the time to open up and share it with others. By sharing your life experiences, you enable yourself to open up, be vulnerable, build trust and grow to new heights. Its funny actually, when people tell their story and aren't judged or looked at differently, they wonder what they were waiting for or were so scared about in the first place. It is usually a major sense of release when it is let out.

The unfortunate thing is that so many people live their entire lives without sharing their story, without dealing with their past, without really getting to the bottom of who they really are. Why is that? Is is because of insecurities and being worried about what others would think? Is it because the thought of letting it out is too scary? Is it because they have never been asked or encouraged to share it?

Do you know how many successful people have written a book about their lives and most memorable experiences? Tons, and a lot of them have had major adversity that they had to overcome to get to the level they are now at. It is inspiring to see the positive changes and reinforces the power of writing and sharing your story.

As leaders we need to know this information so we can learn how to effectively manage people. We need to know how to approach situations and effectively communicate to either get the response or reaction we are looking for and to ensure that person is continuously growing personally and professionally.

Here are some areas to look for when listening to or reading people's stories that may help to figure out "why":

  • What was their relationship like with their parents?

  • What were their most influential moments (good or bad)?

  • What types of opportunities did they have growing up?

  • Where did they grow up (small town, city)?

  • What were their relationships like with their significant others, siblings, etc?

  • What culture did they grow up in?

My challenge (after writing and sharing yours) is to ask your family, friends, co-workers, staff, etc to write their story. Challenge them to share it with others and take the time to sit down and talk about it with them. You will be amazed at how much you will learn and how much your trust-based relationship will grow with that person.

Good luck!

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