Last night I watched a tearjerker movie about a guy just getting out of prison after falling asleep at the wheel and accidentally killing an older couple in a car crash eight years prior. As he struggles to forgive himself, he also faces stiff centure from the small cowboy town where he lives. Ultimately, he finds love and a fresh start for his life. The depth of his struggle eventually yields to the joy of his redemption.
How many movies are made with essentially the same plot line? Thousands.
Why do they keep making them? Because struggle and redemption is our story too! Life is story.
Before ancient civilizations ever discovered a way to write their stories, they told them. From one generation to the next. Their stories gave them a powerful sense of history, identity, and destiny. Thousands of years and unimaginable technological advancements later, it still just boils down to more creative ways to tell the timeless stories.
Hollywood makes billions by retelling our stories in fresh ways. The great literature of the world, both fiction and non, is great precisely because of the enduring quality of its stories. Every family defines and affirms its unique tribal values through their stories--sometimes told over and over and over... Even the Bible, before it is anything else, is most powerfully a story. The story.
And then there's you and your story.
We are constantly writing, editing, and revising the story of our lives. A few actually write theirs into a book, but all of us write our story in our consciousness and in our relationships. Story is far more than the facts and events of our years; it is the meaning. It is the becoming. When we lose our story line, we begin to lose ourselves.
Our best friends are the ones who help us understand our stories, laugh and cry as we interpret them, and remember them well.
Why do I love coaching? Because coaching is story management.
- Coaches listen to our stories. Just being truly heard is a priceless gift in itself.
- Coaches help us find the story behind the story, the significance of the plot line.
- Coaches help us change the plot line when we recognize the need.
- Coaches help with "character development"--who we meant to be as a result of the story.
Life is story. Who is telling yours? Who is listening?