Thursday, September 10, 2015

Telling A New Story About Yourself

I listen to a line by Jennifer Aaker, professor of Marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in her Leadership and Management video called, "Harnessing the Power of Stories." A few years ago, I wrote a post about this same line. 

The line? 

This: "First, which stories might you want to stop telling? They're not useful to you anymore. The second is, what are new stories you need to cultivate?" 

Maybe there's a story you should stop telling. 

Maybe there's one you must now tell. 

I remember the line today because so many of us keep telling the same story about our lives that maybe we need to stop telling because it's a toxic narrative, an unproductive tale of woe, or a shadow narrative that the enemy of our soul traps us in. I've spent years chained to certain stories of rejection, loss, or bitter memories. I didn't know how to let my life tell a different story. 

Aaker challenges us to "populate" our portfolios with new, great stories that showcase who we are, what we value, and how others change from our narratives. The stories I began to tell of Neighborhood Fitness and the Walk to School Campaign, my "Go Early" model of community building and classroom name games, and my journey of being seated with Christ changed me and empowered others. 

They are new stories of hope and vision and victory. Even this blog was a way to populate my life with new stories each day. 

I think that Aaker's advice helped me break free from telling stories that don't, somehow, heal and empower others. When I feel trapped again in some kind of negative, hopeless narrative, I can give myself permission to tell this story differently or tell a different story entirely.

And really, these new stories are all the same theme of once this, now this. 

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