Survival Stories

People often tell me stories. In my job, I listen to many of my clients’ stories about their professional and even personal life. And in my own personal life, I love stories – so I’ve developed many skills to make sure I get to hear more of them. I’m genuinely interested, I’m an active listener, and I’m an encouraging audience. (Seriously, even if we don’t know each other, tell me a story! I want to hear it!)

Often people tell me these stories and I’ll ask: “If you didn’t tell me that directly, is there any way I could have discovered it?” I’m asking if the story exists anywhere else but in the brain of the storyteller. Most of the time, the answer is “no.”

Every story you tell has wisdom and inspiration in it. In fact, they are your wisdom, they are your inspiration. There what make you who you are, and they’re the intricate jigsaw-puzzle-piece-pattern around you that puts you into the world.

Someday, the body that carries around all of those stories will expire. But the stories don’t have to. Do everything you can to make sure that your stories outlive you, that they survive the expiration of the bag of bones holding them up right now.

When I’m with my clan, we often share and re-share stories of our departed members. We tell them to those younger in order to fill them with wonder, those that never met these legends in person. In the same way, I’ve been told stories of the legends before me. I never met my paternal grandfather – he passed a few years before I was born. But I’ve been told so many stories about him – stories that, in turn, I’ve shared with many others – that I feel like I do know him, that I have met him. Certainly, I “grew up” with him as a presence in my life.

This makes him immortal. We are the combination of the stories we’ve lived – the blood and bones carrying those things around is so, so unimportant in comparison. Live for stories. And then, in time, let them live for you.

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