#109 - How to Make a Story
A Challenge of Sorts for You in Life
A friend of mine told me once about her mother-in-law who instead of saying “make toast,” she says “make a toast,” for breakfast or a snack. There’s something about the phrasing there that made it stay with me, I think about it all the time, especially every time I make toast for myself or anyone else. It is both lyrical and directive. And the fact that, grammatically, its incorrect makes the impact of the unique phrase that much stronger on my psyche. It’s wrong, but right. Like so many things in life. I love a broken rule in language, that’s when the most interesting ideas and phrases come to life. Why make toast when you can make one?
I saw a similar structure around the idea of stories recently and it too held me captive (and made me think of my friend’s mother-in-law). Make a story. It was written in a way meant to inspire people to live their lives fully, but there’s a particular beauty and urgency that sits within that phrase that I wanted to share with you.
We are all storytellers. I think I’ve said that phrase enough that anyone still listening knows I truly believe it. But where do our stories come from? Life. Our stories are born of life. Living it, being present in it, and holding on to those moments that matter. I call them moments of meaning in my work with clients, you can think of them as plot points. But the true point is, to share stories we need to first make them.
So even when it’s hard and things feel messy or hopeless or the challenges insurmountable, we are making stories. When things are amazing and we overcome a challenge or achieve a goal—whether it’s birthing a baby or a book—we are making stories. Every moment of our lives lived fully is us deep in the process of making beautiful unique stories.
It's almost a challenge or a dare: make a story. Break the rules, try something different, or just dive more deeply into what you’re already doing and see what comes of it.
As many of you know, I spend a lot of my life managing my anxiety and my mood. The thing for me lately is daily movement and that movement has gotten me so in touch with my body and the world around me in new ways. It’s helped me see my moments with greater clarity and hold onto them a bit more securely. Because even when I’m in the depths of anxiety OR on the other side seeing life in technicolour, I am making my own story. And I’m glad for the beauty and perspective created by both experiences.
And while not every moment is a moment of meaning—sometimes we spend Tuesday night watching Netflix and that's okay—every moment and choice we make is leading to that next big moment so they matter too.
So I guess what I’m saying is in your life, each day, as best you can make a story. Make your story. And when you’re ready know that so many of us will be here and eager to listen when you share. Because in your story, in your life is a lesson, but that’s a topic for another day. In the meantime ask yourself, and maybe share in the comments, what are you doing to make a story?
A Story Well Told
Three words: Serena Jameka Williams
Serena Williams on the Cover of Time Magazine 2022
The tennis legend retired after playing one final U.S. Open tournament this past weekend. Nike put together an homage to her career and status as one of the greatest athletes of all time. It was a moment for a lot of people.
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