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Why We Must Play “Know & Tell” With Our Story

September 3, 2015

By: Kimberly Inskeep
Even on days that seem uneventful, your story is being written. Whether or not your story evolves into the life you’ve always wanted is dependent upon how well you know your story from the past, how you live your story today (yes, TODAY!), and what directs your story for the future. Living a great story is immeasurably important, as we are only given one life—an opportunity of unequalled value.
Mary Oliver asks, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” My life has been committed to helping women confidently answer this question, mastering the art of intentionality in order to live their stories with the passion and purpose for which we were each uniquely created. I have yet to encounter a person who doesn’t deeply long for their life to matter after they’re gone; so why aren’t we more urgently pursuing a big story?
Because the path to living a great story is not without stumbles and falls; it is mired with complications. Firstly, many of us have not directed the insights from our pasts into our present. If we plow forward without regard for past experiences, we create an obstruction between us and true self-awareness, preventing an understanding of what has shaped us—for better and for worse. In contrast, when we process our pasts deeply, we can decide which parts to carry forward, and what to leave behind, free to venture on unencumbered and unquestionably better.
Secondly, we often move through our days in reaction to events, rather than taking charge of them through bold choices. Weeks and years can go by before we realize our lives have not been shaped by us, but rather by the events and people around us. Reactive living eventually creates deep grooves of sameness; no one lives this way and finds they happened to have stumbled on the life of their dreams. It takes bold intentionality to make new grooves on new trails.
Lastly, the hurdles of blazing new trails are impossible to surmount without owning a passionate purpose. Whether we realize it or not, each of us has a purpose knit deep in our hearts, and when we work to surface it, it becomes powerful. Naming our passion gives acuity and fuel to our story’s objective, enabling us to live a better story—a story worth living that is about so much more than just ourselves.
The truth is, your story is evolving, even in this moment. Author it with intentionality. And then tell it: “This is who I am, this is what I’ve been through, and because of that, this is where I am going.” Each time we share our story, it gives us the opportunity to ponder the story we are living. That takes courage.   But find the courage and don’t stop there—invite others to tell their stories. Because in the telling—in the articulation—something transcendent takes place. You not only understand yourself and your friends better, establishing a deeper connection, but your stories get braided together, interconnected in a way that amplifies the meaning of each. We can help one another process our pasts, live proactively in the present, and stay focused on our primary pursuit.
Life is too precious to languorously live our story. So what are you doing TODAY to courageously “know and tell” your story?