The Stories We Tell

it is in the shelter of each other that the people live-

ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine

The line above is from the website of Pádraig Ó Tuama, Irish poet and theologian. If you have not yet discovered Pádraig, you should take the time to listen to or read some of his work. Pádraig presents Poetry Unbound with On Being Studios and also has responsibilities in theology for On Being (my spiritual go to).

I was recently listening to his TEDxStormont talk, Imagining Peace and there was a line,

” In a world that is so interested in being comforted by the damp blanket of bad stories, we need stories of belonging that move us towards each other, not from each other. We need ways of being human that open up the possibilities of being alive together.”

Many go on about the importance of storytelling and Pádraig explains it so beautifully —I think storytelling is one of those words that can keep unfolding. Storytelling means so many different things and holds so much power. A well told story can change so much. It has the potential to open up humanity.

Part of starting and running a good business is your ability to tell a well told story. Having worked with hundreds of women, we (and I included myself) often get caught up in thinking that storytelling is if you are a good writer/communicator. It is also easy to think that your story isn’t all that exciting. We all think that, promise, so you can shelf that limiting belief.

A well told story is more about the real truth of the story.

A good story is about digging deep, asking yourself good questions and using imagination to make it come alive. That is what makes it interesting; what makes it connect with others.  I have also learned that your story is continuously developing. Experiences layer and peel back your story and the curiosity to ask the good questions turns into greater wisdom to ask even better questions.

This is what I think Pádraig means when he says,  “it is in the shelter of each other that the people live”. We are most alive when we are connected and when we share our story — our honest, thoughtful, imaginative story, we find moments of shared humanity that bring us closer together. We are all connected somehow, in both tiny and infinite ways.

Once you have crafted and settled on your story, you can then share it more beautifully. Sonder & Tell wrote about good brand storytelling in their latest blog.  They describe how good brand storytelling borrows from fiction writers. Not in terms of fiction, in terms of making someone feel something from the story you are sharing.  The Russian playwright, Chekhov said,

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

Storytelling opens up community and the human experience; we look forward to hearing yours.

By Dani Trudeau