What is your story? (Pause)
What was the first response that came to mind?
Was it a pivotal event in your life? Was it a descriptor like wife, mother, friend, or aunt? Was the first thing that came to mind a tragic, life-changing event? Or was the first thing that came to mind a joyous occurrence? Is your story one of sadness, fear, anguish or stress? Is your story filled with chapters of life events resulting in lessons learned and self-growth? Are you the hero in your story, the victim or some combination of both?
India Hicks was in town this past week and I had a chance to spend some time with her. When she gathered a small group of us for a tea and champagne, she went around the intimate table asking each of us how we found the India Hicks business. What was our story? I quietly listened to each woman share a piece of herself with India and the group. I heard stories of sadness, of life-changing events, of milestones and, in almost every story shared, the India Hicks business had found THEM. Each story was so honest and each woman, for that brief moment, was so transparent.
But the business piece wasn’t really her point at all. You see, India’s belief is that life is a storybook…her products each have fun stories as to how they were named, her life story is one of adventure, challenge and interesting chapters and the women she surrounds herself with each have inspiring stories. Some of them are truly extraordinary.
This little exercise of “What’s your story” is one of the reasons that I love, even after 10 years, my Women in Business program and the incredible women who participate in it here in Dallas. The WIB events are about bringing entrepreneurial women together monthly to network. But the truth is, so few women tap into their entrepreneurial self without a story of life happening not exactly as they expected, resulting in them founding their business. Stories of heartache or of loss or of some other life event that changes their course – a course that now includes stories of being fearless, stories of triumph and stories of adventure.
Those of you who know me and know my series of life challenges and changes might be surprised at my answer to, “What’s your story?”
My story is this: you can’t judge a book by its cover. Some might think that my life tragedies and challenges are “hidden” behind my broad smile. The truth is, my story is one of transparency. My story is one of finding my fearlessness. My story is one of happiness, not in spite of bad times but BECAUSE OF bad times. My smile tells my story; my desire for others to do well and be well tells my story. My transparency tells my story. My story has the good, the bad and the ugly, but I am the SHE that I am because of that story.
Here’s a good exercise for you, SHE friends: take a piece of paper and fold it in half. On one half, list every joyous life event you can fit; on the other half, list the not-so-great, challenging, even heartbreaking events in your life. Now review the entire page. There it is – a sum of the parts. Your story is every one of those events, every one of those people, every one of those emotions and reactions…all playing a part in the essence of YOU, the essence of SHE.
The best part? Your story is far from over, so what is the next chapter going to be?
I am choosing adventure, kindness, offers of support and fearlessness. I am choosing to live out loud. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
Note from the SHE Files: Live your SHE-story out loud