Yesterday I had an awesome meeting with Hank Kaminsky, a beloved local artist, and ModThink. We talked about all the basics. You know: energy exchange, triads, Pinterest, and accurately representing your own story. ;) There are some exciting projects in the works! I wanted to write a bit about one thing I walked away ruminating on. Hank Kaminsky is the kind of person that, once in his presence, you find yourself inspired in all sorts of ways. He was simply explaining one of his pieces of art to me and I found myself tearing up. I think when any individual has that much compassion and creativity wrapped into their soul, it is nearly impossible to not be drawn in.
Sure, we were talking social media, analytics, amplification, and engagement but something else was being talked about as well.
The power of a story.
The thing about brands, businesses, and even people is that many of us are not telling OUR stories. We are telling the stories of other people, we are lost in their narrative and playing roles of characters we were never meant to be. This is true when a company tries to adopt a certain form of marketing or social media because it is "hip". This is true when a small business attends this or that fair or conference because that is what other successful people are doing. This is, especially true, when each of us allow others to define us in a plot line we never wrote. Maybe you are playing the villian in someone's story or the hero. Are those things okay with you? Is that who you want to be? If not- step back, pull out the pen and paper and determine who you want to be. Stop engaging that storyline. This is identity formation and it is the act of establishing YOUR voice and YOUR story. So what that other artists use this format or other companies are a part of that group. So what that the other person is making friends a different way than you. Where is YOUR story going? This is what matters most. I think we often use being distracted with other people's stories as a way to avoid our own inner turmoil. If we can fixate on how awesome that brand is doing and how we wish we could be like them we have a reason to stay in our mediocre space. If we focus on how outgoing and wonderful that other person is we don't have to look at our own self loathing and learn to embrace ourselves in graciousness.
Brené Brown makes the most powerful point: "If we own our own story we get to write the ending." The intersection where we start allowing external forces to dictate our own stories and give up our power is where we lose sight of center and spiral out of control. Jealousy, comparison, fear, and ego driven competition all power the vehicle of ejecting ourselves from our own stories. What if I don't make the sales I need? What if I don't have a brand voice, what if I am not worthy as person. No matter where we are in the world or what positions or relationships we occupy we can find ourselves in this battle. When we find ourselves in this battle, I think the best thing we can do is gather people to help us be our best versions of ourselves, stop looking outward, and start looking inward to fine tune (or start writing) our own story.
What is keeping you from writing your own story, from fine tuning your story, or keeping you distracted? What emotions do you experience when you find you've embraced a story that doesn't work for you and have to go back to the drawing board? Do you see this dynamic play out in your personal AND professional life?