Category Archives: Stories

Have you changed your narrative lately?

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As I wander through cities, one of the things I look for is evidence of fresh construction. Cities are living, breathing, pulsating organisms, and a great indicator of change is the number of cranes you can see dotting the skyline. In San Francisco, new construction emerges when the lack of residential units becomes absurd; in my new neighborhood in Brooklyn, new housing developments are popping up on vacant lots every few months.

Everything is always changing, even if we aren't looking for it.

You have trillions of cells in your body, one of my yoga teachers reminds me. And your cells live, grow, and die and replace themselves every seven years. Every seven years we become an entirely new collection of cells. And in our personal and professional lives, metamorphoses happen even quicker. Your narrative changes every two, three, four years. You were a college student—then you weren't. You were responsible for only yourself—and then you became a parent.

Every seven years our physical bodies completely regenerate. How often do we renew our stories of self?

Your narrative is always changing.

It's easy to cling to a story, even if it doesn't serve us anymore. It's harder to shed the layers of past selves and emerge into a new narrative. The transition can be awkward, abrupt, or bumpy.

As things move and shift, you’re learning, iterating, growing, changing. You’re new to twitter and then, months later … you’re not. No one is listening to your blog, and then, some time later, people are listening. You're embedded in the flush of a new job, thrilled to be working on your project, and then, a few years later, you're tired. Ready for the next project, story, or idea.

Don’t cling too hard to your old narratives. Instead, build new ones. Grow into future ones.

When you're a new employee, the biggest thing you don't know yet is that you’re only in the entry level category for a short time before new faces come along and you've got to hand your bag of tricks over to the new staff. That management you're secretly griping about? That's you, really soon. Trying your best to do better, and learning the reasons why it's so tough to implement your ideals. At the end of my twenties, just a brush away from my thirties, I realized with somewhat of a start that I graduated from college 9 years ago –

What? NINE years ago? 

People were asking me questions that I had answers to — and many that I didn't. I knew a lot, and yet there was so much more I wanted to learn.

You are, until you aren’t.

You aren't, and then you are.

In my work with storytellers, educators, corporate leaders, and innovators, one of the things we do is unearth their current narratives — and watch people rebuild. Michael Margolis reminds me that "as you tell your story, your story moves." When we take pen to paper, when we sit with friends, when we convene and collect and talk about what we're doing — our story changes.

The act of expressing your story helps set your past narratives free. The act of imagining your future narrative helps you grow and transition into your next iteration of who you are.

We grow through story, and we grow into our story. Your narrative is changing.

What stories can you retire?

Who are you becoming next?


 

Writing exercise: get out a sheet of paper and write down as many stories and scripts that you carry around with you. Your age, what you believe in, how you explain who you are and what you do. Are there any that can be changed? Anything new emerging? Write down stories of your next, wiser, growing self. Who are you becoming? 

PS: For everyone who's interested in working on their writing and storytelling, I've got a surprise coming out in the next few weeks — if you're on my mailing list, I'll send you a note when my big surprise goes live! 

The man at the grocery store.

The man in the grocery store is in love with me. I can tell by the way that his eyes watch me, and the way he smiles at me from behind the counter. I pull my basket up around the edge of the aisle, glancing briefly at the pop tart magazines. Mmm… chocolate. I grabContinue Reading

The Writer’s Workshop is now open for our summer session! Join us for the next class—and kickstart your writing into high gear.

It’s baaaaack! The Writer’s Workshop will open up again this summer for a brand-new six-week session beginning June 30th. The Writer’s Workshop is a live course focused on improving your storytelling, writing, and narrative abilities through eight masterful lectures and exercises — together with a community of co-writers to share the journey. We interview experts across the industry inContinue Reading

Want to be a better storyteller? Two new online workshops, April 24th and 29th.

Humans are born storytellers. The way we tell and share our stories about who we are, what we do, and what we want affects who sees us, hears about us, and whether or not the right people connect with us. If you want to learn how to describe yourself or your business (or both), joinContinue Reading

How do you talk about who you are?

Cue the scene. I’m standing in a big house party, feeling eerily like I’m in an episode of Animal House, red solo cups in hand, loud music,  glittery females and dapper gentlemen draped over surfaces. My toes point inwards and my hips clench together a bit. My insides are crawling. Apparently my inner Extrovert refused to comeContinue Reading

When your ego starts yelling at you… remember this:

Ever have those voices in your head, while you’re working or trying something new? That ego. The voice that tells you, whispers softly, cruelly inside of your mind: “You aren’t good enough. This wasn’t very good. Why did you bother? You’re not in shape enough. You should go to yoga class, but it’s not goingContinue Reading

What’s one big thing you can do to improve your business and your life?

“Writing doesn’t just communicate ideas; it generates them. If you’re bad at writing and don’t like to do it, you’ll miss out on most of the ideas writing would have generated.” -Paul Graham Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired magazine, wrote that “the new economy is about communication, deep and wide… Communication is the foundation of society, ofContinue Reading

Desire, feelings, and inner softness: why is it so hard to feel good?

1. A confession. The first time I picked up my copy of Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map I could hardly finish it. I watched as social posts flickered in my online vision, people talking about its brilliance and I wondered why I couldn’t handle it. Personally, I wanted to throw it against the wall. It tookContinue Reading

What’s in the trunk? A mysterious tunnel inside the house… and some of the things I’m so grateful for.

What’s in the trunk?   My dad just moved to Colorado and I’m here for the week, visiting for the first time. The cold, snowy mountains outside of Denver are filled with deer, elk, and other creatures that wander up to the backyard and say hello. (There’s also a new dog in the family that’sContinue Reading

The hidden power of doing interviews (and how to get better at them).

I used to hate interviews. I stammered, I inserted words such as “like” and “um” a whole bunch, and my voice pitched up at the end of nearly every sentence. I sounded exactly like what I was—a young 20-something female with insecurity about my ideas. Then I started listening to the interviews and analyzing them.Continue Reading