I am no psychologist, neurologist, scientist or academic of any kind or calibre, but what I have learned in nearly twenty years of meditation, is that imagination is what happens when we let our minds relax, and open to nothing. It is the opposite of striving for an answer or forcing a solution, and more about allowing the mind to coalesce images out of clouds of swirling nothing and everything.Read More
The second way we are called to draw on emotional courage in storytelling is in the double step act of facing our experiences, again, all the emotions that came with them at the time, processing them so we can then share them, making sense of them so we can bring an audience to a place of peace, hope or resolution around them. This is huge. This is the work of a lifetime.Read More
Emotional courage in personal storytelling is almost a tautology because the word courage is derived from the latin word ‘heart’ and it originally meant "To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart." - A particularly apt description for personal storytelling.
Emotional courage may also be described in modern parlance by referring to the word vulnerability, made specific by the work of Brene Brown. In her work she argues that we cannot have courage without vulnerability. She defines vulnerability as any situation where we face uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.
Vulnerability and therefore courage are required in storytelling in two ways, and this post is about the first and more obvious way.
The very act of standing and telling a story, any story, is an act requiring courage, exposing us to vulnerability, because we don’t know how it’s is going to go, how well we’ll do, how the listeners will respond - it is an uncertainty. There is a risk that we will fail and fail publicly, there is also a risk that we will be judged negatively, that others will not accept us and how we have told the story.
And if we are nervous, which we often are, there is added risk: we are dancing along the knife edge of our fear being seen - sweating, shaking, freezing, going blank; the fear of the fear changing how we reveal ourselves - we might come across as arrogant, or wooden and dull, because we are stiff with this fear, and this fear is undermining our confidence, and in the ultimate viscous cycle the fear of failure feeds our inner critic which can make failure more likely. All of this is why public speaking is sometimes rated worse than dying as a fear.
So we need to draw on our emotional fortitude in any of the multitude of ways available, and take heart that the more we do it the easier it gets, that the road is paved with many who have felt and faced the same terror and they have not only lived but grown from the experience.
In order to begin the journey of becoming a storyteller, it helps to understand and gather to the front of your mind the qualities that will enable you to learn, practise, grow and perform from deep within your heart, with a strong and clear voice. These keys will enable you to play the story like the strings of a guitar, feeling into the heart, challenging the mind and landing with deep satisfaction the gift of story.Read More
The internal journey, meaning making and reflection on what it means to be human, are the essential ingredients to a good personal story.
Crafting a personal story reminds me a little of dream work, but easier. Dreams are set in a coded language that can be hard to crack.Read More
Worker disengagement is at extraordinary levels - in Australia, according to Gallup, over 75% of the workforce is disengaged, worldwide the figure is 87%.
While the causes and solutions for this epidemic in lack of workplace engagement are no doubt many, varied and complex, I want to suggest one cause/solution for this problem, relating to emotions.Read More
Call me idealistic, but it’s always been one of my great desires to work in an effective, supportive team, where I feel I belong, its fun, I can contribute and we are making a difference in the world.
And there have been many times I have experienced this.Read More
I think we tell stories in two ways. The first is raw, natural, not consciously shaped or crafted. We tell stories this way to share our experiences, to be seen and heard, to connect to have others bear witness and to try to integrate our emotions and thoughts and actions.Read More
For some reason we persist in believing in power over other people. Even those of us who fight for social justice, for an end to discrimination that puts white men above all other social classes, even we settle into hierarchies for work and accept the ladder of importance.Read More
Recently we went to the beach for a week's holiday. We hired a house that turned out to be right next to open parkland and my 13 year old son, who has been keen to take up golf, had a golf ball with him but no golf clubs.Read More
It's one of those high school debating topics 'That the ends do not justify the means’, and it invites an endless conundrum of situations where the ends might justify the means, like when peace justifies war, or you need to be cruel to be kind.Read More
Confidence in telling our story, in standing up in front of others and speaking, is one of those cart before the horse, or chicken and egg situations, where you need confidence to do it, and doing it gives you confidence.Read More
So you’re just a little bit terrified of public speaking, and just the thought of telling a story, your story in public has your blood run cold. Welcome to a very large club that most people stay in their whole lives even though the door is there with a handle that just needs turning.
So I’ve got a new program, yep, in a bright red, enchanted portal to a parallel universe, still with that old-made-new program smell, like fresh sandalwood, is a world of voice, expression, drama, connection and story.Read More
Sometimes people make glib comments about personal storytelling being indulgent, self serving and self absorbed. This can be taken on by some of the people I work with who say, even as they are drawn to personal storytelling, that they feel too self conscious or feel it is too self-centred, to share their stories.Read More
The first step in learning to tell stories is to begin to understand story. I say 'begin' because like many things, Story has a small front door that conceals an enormous world behind it. Once you have the key to open the door, to see and understand the basic structures and elements of most stories, you can explore more deeply (if that appeals).
The final step in learning to tell your story is to tell it with heart and presence, which is easy to say, but is actually a subtle and unique mixture of art, craft, confidence, groundedness, practice, faith and service, and it takes all the other steps before it to fall into place.Read More
So you're curious about storytelling. This is good, this is the next step after we move over our fear in our journey to telling stories.
There's certainly a lot of hype about 'story', with it being bandied about as the answer to everything from how to be trusted to how to mow your lawn (no, sorry that part is just rubbish).Read More
Self awareness is a nebulous concept but it seems to be generally agreed that it correlates with a few desirable aspects of life.
For example Daniel Goleman sees self awareness as the key cornerstone to emotional intelligence, because without an awareness of what you are feeling andRead More