My partner, Todd, has led a strange and interesting life. We’re walking down the street and he says, “I want to tell a story on stage, but I don’t HAVE any stories.”
I snort in disbelief, as I was there for most of them.
“No, I really don’t!”
I point bossily (well, to be fair, everything I do all the time is bossy so this is nothing new) at the door of a coffeeshop and we go in and sit down. I get out my notebook and a pen and pass them to Todd. “Make 3 columns,” I say.
“Can I get coffee?” he says.
“LATER. Now: label the first one ‘big emotion’. Label the second one ‘big risk’ and label the third one ‘big change’.”
“Write down times you felt big emotion in the first column.”
“Like what?” he says.
“Any emotion. The biggest happiness, the biggest sadness, the biggest anger, the most love, the greatest fear.”
He starts to write. When that column is finished, I say, “In the second column, write down the times you faced a big risk.”
“And in the third, the big changes in your life.”
“But I don’t have any -”
“Babe, if nothing had ever changed in your life you’d still be sleeping in your childhood bedroom while your parents made you breakfast.”
He grins and starts writing. When he’s finished, we look at the list together. The same event appears in all three columns and the story – becoming the father he wanted, instead of copying the father he had – jumps out at us.
Then I order us coffee.
Want to find your story (and have coffee as a reward)? It’s easy peasy.
1. Make 3 columns.
2. Column 1: times you felt big emotion.
3. Column 2: times you faced big risks.
4. Column 3: times you had big changes.
5. Look at the times that appear in all the lists, look at the times you want to talk about, look at the times that mean the most to you. That’s where your story lives.
6. Now you can order yourself a coffee.
(Learn more about my partner Todd at Serendipity Encouraged.)