September 23, 2013

I want to know your story

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living, I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.”  –The Invitation by Oriah

There are 7 billion stories in the world. I don’t care what you do or what you own. I just want to know who you are. I want to know your uniqueness, the experiences you’ve had and the learning you’ve gained. I want to know your story.

What is your story? Everyone has one. No two stories are the same. There are over 7 billion people in this world and none are like you. You are unique. Your entire life’s journey including your upbringing, challenges, your hard learned lessons, your experiences, achievements and gifts, are all a series of footprints that have brought you to this very moment in time as you read these words.

Every person you walk or drive past on the street has their own story. Every person in front of you in line at the grocery store has their own story. Every friend and work colleague in your life has their own story.

The old man who lives up the street and wanders past my house each day has his own story. The girl on the bus who has tears in her eyes, she has her own story. The boy in the library who never stops laughing, even when his mother constantly asks him to be quiet, he has his own story too.

Think about the millions of moments, the series of events that leads each person to cross your path. Who are they really underneath that exterior? Where did they come from? What do they long for? What makes them tick?

Life is a tapestry of people weaving in and out of your life, people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Everyone has something to offer and share with you. Imagine treating every person you encounter, no matter how fleeting, as an intriguing story waiting to be told. But the story can only be told if someone asks to hear it. Will you ask? That person you see standing before you, no matter who they are, young or old, rich or poor, angry or kind, is like a blockbuster movie ready to enthrall you. But, first you have to buy a ticket.

Cocktail Conversations

As I stood in a room full of people at a cocktail party once, I realized that every opening conversation was dominated by this question, “What do you do?”

We seek to understand and define people by their ‘doing’ in the world. For some reason we categorize and rank people’s worth in this world by what they “do.”

Does what you do matter more than who you are? No. What you do is only a small part of who you are.

Do we care about each other enough, and are we interested enough in what we can learn from each other, to stop asking “What do you do?” and start asking “Who are you? What is your story?”

So, I’d love to ask you something, and I’m not asking a rhetorical question. I really want to know…

What is your story?
  • Where were you born?
  • Where do you live now?
  • What makes you smile?
  • What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?
  • What is your deepest fear?
  • What is your greatest dream for your life?
  • Who are you?

Normalizing the Question

There is only one way that we can normalize this “What is your story?” question in our society. And that is by starting to ask it, and by each of us individually being willing to answer it wholeheartedly, knowing that the person asking it genuinely wants to know.

Superficial chit chat about what we “do” and what we “own” doesn’t have to dominate our interactions with those closest to us or with complete strangers.

I don’t know most of the 2,000 or so subscribers to my blog at all. Most of you are complete strangers. But I genuinely want to know your answers.

I’ll go first…

Here’s my story. I invite you to respond with your answers, supporting a movement to normalize caring more about who people are, than what they do and own.

  • I was born in Ohio.
  • I’m currently staying in Bowie, Maryland, just west of Annapolis, I’m thinking about making Bali the next stop on my life’s adventure.
  • My grandchildren playing and loudly laughing their little hearts out is what makes me smile the most.
  • The best lesson I’ve learned in recent years is that being exactly who I am is always more than enough, and comparing myself to others only robs the world of my uniqueness.
  • My deepest fear is risking everything to follow my dream and then failing in the process.
  • My greatest dream for my life is to move with an open mind, traveling and meeting as many people as possible, questioning and discovering as much about the world and life as I can, and continuing to write to share those learnings.
  • I’m a spark of divinity, here having a life altering experience, as I believe we all are.

Your turn…

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