The back story is where the story begins. We often forget this when moving forward with the next chapter; whether that be for your blogging, your business, or your brand.
As some of you know, we’re in the midst of revamping the Get Storied website. It will soon launch with a new design and structure that better reflects the scope and vision of our evolving story. The blog content will be better organized into easier to navigate categories and will begin to include guest contributors and more voices from around the world (Want to contribute? email me) The new site will also do a better job of helping the Get Storied community plug into all the various resources, programs, and happenings that we’re putting together.
So while I’m in the midst of this process, I’ve been experiencing some real angst around my own story. See, I’ve outgrown the old container, but I haven’t yet emerged stepped into the new story, and emerge on the other side into the promised land. I can sense its just around the corner, yet I’m not quite there yet. I’m in what you can call “no man’s land”. Buddhists call it the Bardo, the netherworlds. It sucks to be in this place. You’re not quite here or there. I turn into the brooding artist. I eat lots of chocolate and turn into a hermit.
I’ve learned a few things when I’m in this place. One, make sure I’m stocked up on lots of chocolate. Two, be kind to myself. And Three, look backwards in order to find the path forward. That’s a lesson from the West African parable Sankofa, which I discuss in my storytelling manifesto Believe Me. Sankofa is often depicted as a bird flying forward yet looking backwards. The lesson from this mythic tale is the following: in order to overcome the biggest trials — you often have to backtrack and reclaim something you previously discarded (thinking it no longer was important). That old part of yourself unlocks the secret to completing the quest. Sounds like the game of Zelda, right?
The same goes with each of our storied paths. We usually have to reclaim or remember a part of ourselves in order to become who we truly are. Not only is that law of the mythic life, that’s been a driving theme of my 12-week course on social media storytelling. So many incredibly talented and passionate souls enrolled in this course! And yet, when it comes to social media – we face all sorts of fear and resistance about putting ourselves out there. We’ve been discussing these issues, and developing strategies for breakthrough the places of resistance. It really helps when you’re clear about your back story.
Here are seven questions to support you in the process:
- What happened earlier in life or career that has led you down this path?
- What are you trying to resolve, reconcile, or finally find the answers to?
- What are your defining moments that shaped and defined who you are?
- What do you know by the very nature and experiences of who you are?
- What have you learned through hard work, growth, and/or pain?
- Where do you possess the deepest passion and curiosities?
- What is yours to do (not somebody else’s)?
Answer these questions, deeply and honestly, and I promise you will have a better sense of your own path forward. When you reclaim your story, it becomes a whole lot easier to put yourself out there. The clarity and conviction that comes with knowing the truth of who you are becomes a contagious experience. Others will start to perceive and see you from the new story too.
Give it a try and share your experience in the comments below.