No one likes a clown at midnight. I love Stephen King. A clown in the dark. In the rain. On your doorstep. Holding a knife.
Now that we all feel uncomfortable, let’s talk about blowing it.
You know, the charmingly delicious epic fails we’ve done on page and (Zoom) stage.
In storytelling circles there are two types of intentions when writing and speaking.
Intention #1: The desire to story-share as a way to get attention (e.g., bores who monologue, vampires who scare, victims who point). These story tyrants shine a spotlight on all the ways we’re different. Sounds like fun, eh? Nope.
A “centre of attention” vibe is one of me, me, me, ME! Don’t know what I mean? Visit Facebook.
Intention #2: Sharing a story that builds bridges between hearts and heads, no matter how many tiny potato heads are on the Zoom call. Humour, light-heartedness and old-fashioned graciousness sharpen and soften just about any story.
A “centre of exposure” approach is a gentle blend of vulnerability, credibility and humility. As we listen, we are touched. We identify. We remember. We think, “I feel that way too.”
For my long-time Story Sisters and Beacon Brothers (j’adore!), mouth the words with me: The more personal the story, the more universal the story.
So how do you know if you’re crafting a story that’s beautiful not boastful? Remember three un-nasty C words: Courage, Compassion, Connection.
Courage = you feel authentic, heart-based and in command.
Compassion = you feel kindness toward yourself (then and now) and your listeners.
Connection = you create an inner space that allows people to feel safe and cherished enough to share a story in return.
That’s a real twist on “connection,” eh? You don’t want people to rush the (Zoom) stage and go, “Oh, you poor thing!” or “You are THE BEST” but rather to approach you, express gratitude for your story and then share something that helps you and them.
That exchange of story currency (energy), my friends, is the very heart of transformational storytelling.
Sharing and then graciously receiving stories in return is how we actually grow kinder as writers, speakers, listeners and, gosh darn it, as an entire species!
Remember, “soft” stories deliver tough truths and beautiful realities about Who We ALL Are.
Whenever you make the intention to share a story that shows our shared humanity (say that 50 times real fast), we feel less alone and wounded.
My goodness. Is this not the time to start sharing more stories that light us up and remind us “we’re all in this together” – and “this” is the story of being human, one step at a time.
May your doorbell not ring at midnight. And if it does?
Tell me the story immediately. I’ll bring over popcorn.