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Once upon a time, you were a badass at storytelling

Once upon a time, you could sit around a fire and share a story. Two hands cupped around a mason jar or solo cup filled with wine (am I the only one who drinks wine at a campfire?)

You’d share a story that’s been passed down for generations. A story that changed over time as your Uncle jerk-head decided to tweak some details for impact. Stories that you’ve heard year after year between “pass the mashed potatoes” and “more butter please.”

Back in the day, I have a feeling that storytelling wasn’t a skill. It wasn’t something you “worked on” or put on your list of goals for the year. Get better at telling stories. Check.

Of course, this is my assumption, because I don’t know if I’m old enough yet to say things like, “back in the day.”

Our stories today are different though. They’re captured forever in sans serif. Preserved on this blog, on a Facebook timeline, in a book, or in a TED talk.

 

Do any of these sound familiar?

  • “I have no good stories”

  • “My stories are boring”

  • “No one cares about my stories”

Let’s look at each of these stories you’re telling yourself. Yes, these are stories too.

 

“I have no good stories”

Finding stories takes a little practice. The more you do it the better you’ll get. Here are some fun ways to dig deeper into your stories.

  • Go through your day like you’re actively searching for a story.

  • Keep a running list of stories you want to tell. You’re going to remember these stories at the most inappropriate of moments. Keep a notebook handy. The memo app on your phone, Google Docs, and Evernote are all great options too. 

  • Read books. A lot of them.

  • Look outside your industry. I’ve learned more about business and life from hockey, baseball, and awkward parties.

 

“My stories are boring”

Maybe. Do you think they’re boring because you’re watering them down? Are you focused on how you think you should be communicating and not how you naturally want to share? When you’re too worried about how your reader is going to receive your story you could be leaving out all kinds of juicy details that would make your story great. Almost every time I write a blog post, a little voice tells me, “This is boring, you don’t really have anything to say.” I tell that voice to shut the hell up.

The other thing you can do is practice. Once a day or once a week, write a story. Even if you don’t share it with anyone right away (or ever), you will get better.

Want an objective opinion? Send it to someone you trust for some honest feedback. Don’t have anyone? Send it to me and I’ll share my thoughts for what it’s worth. Really.

 

“No one cares about my stories”

Stop it. Your story told only the way you tell it might be just what someone needs to hear right at this moment. You have plenty of stories, and it’s not your judgment call to make if your story is worthy of being told. Tell the story. If it doesn’t resonate with someone, they’ll move on. If it does, you might have changed the rest of their day or the rest of their life. Either way, you may never know about the impact you’ve had.

Keep telling the stories.