Storytelling Can Be a Superpower

by Laura Roselle, PhD

Story Power for FNP

Many people are interested in sharing their stories. These may be personal stories about their own life and lessons. These might be family stories that have been shared through generations.

One of the challenges in sharing our stories is that we often don’t know how to tell them so that our audience will remember and value them.

What you don't want is this:

What you do want is sharing, engagement, and connection.

But how do you get that?

Researchers know a lot about what effects stories can have. For example, there are certain ways that you can structure your stories that will increase your listeners' engagement. In addition, certain storytelling techniques can even increase resilience, security, and general mental health in yourself and in your audience.

WOW! I think that is amazing. Looking deeply at your stories and learning ways to tell them more effectively can change people's responses to those stories.

Stories can help spread good in the world.

Your stories can be powerful.

That’s why I am bringing you information on what researchers have found and exercises that will help you claim your Story Power!

My weekly blog posts will be about how the power of stories can be used for good.

For the good of yourself, your family, and the world.

I am not interested in how stories can be spun to “win” an argument or to set someone else up for failure.

I am not interested in how words can be used to alienate, hurt, scare or humiliate.

It is time that we choose to empower ourselves through our stories of resilience, compassion and caring.

And there is lots of research out there that shows us how to do this.

Now more than ever it’s time to hear personal, family and community stories. In the midst of these difficult times, connection is more important than ever.

Understanding the research on storytelling can help you enhance your relationships and lessen the angst of living in the world today.

Sharing effective ways to tell your stories is what these blog posts are all about.

This information is important for people who are already engaged in sharing family stories and those who would like to be doing more. It’s for people who want to know what kinds of stories help build up people. It’s for people who want to reclaim their own sense of history and for communities whose stories have been hidden. And it’s for people who want to hear the stories of their neighbors, co-workers and friends. I believe that we can be enriched by many stories - some easy to hear and some difficult to confront.

So let’s start with one short exercise for you to engage with.

From years of teaching I’ve learned that thoughtful writing is one of the best ways to dig into a topic. The best way to do this for most people is writing by hand in a journal of your choice. (You know yourself best, so if you want to record your thoughts and answers in a different way, absolutely do so.)

In your journal or on your computer, answer the following question:

Who inspires you and why?

Choose a person associated with your family who inspires you.

(This person may be someone in your family or someone that is connected to your family.)

You don’t have to have all the details or even know if everything in the story is true.

Write the story of this person.

You can go back and do research to fill things in later if you would like.

After you have written the story, take a careful look at it.

What exactly is inspiring about this person?

Write that down as well.

This activity will help you give thanks for inspiring people.

It asks you to identify what is inspiring which gives you insight into your values.

It asks you to look more deeply at the characteristics that are important to you.

Now you can tell the story of this person to someone else and you can include your thoughts on what makes this person inspiring to you.

That's a gift for you and your listener. It gets at why the story is important and shows what you value.

Happy storytelling.

***If you would like a free resource on Story Power, click here.

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