You are a soul and you have a story

Sometimes stories cry out to be told in such loud voices that you write them just to shut them up. —Stephen King

You think in stories, and so do I.

From the earliest of times, we’ve retold our history through the spoken word, not the written one. Born into a story, you’re naturally an expert storyteller whether you recognize it or not.

Your storytelling began with your first breath and won’t stop until your heart does. As a child you told yourself stories when you heard a noise at night.

I see glowing eyes in my closet.

Something is under my bed.

A monster wants to eat me.

Your parent or guardian responded with other stories to help calm you down.

There are no such things as monsters.

It was just the wind.

I will protect you.

Your knack for storytelling sticks with you well into adulthood. Consciously and subconsciously, you tell yourself thousands of mini narratives every day.

You tell stories about:

  • Why the store didn’t have it in stock.
  • Why the waitress seemed rude.
  • Why the client came early.
  • Why the mail came late.

Despite our love for stories, I’ve realized:

Most of us forget we ARE a soul and that we HAVE a story. (Share on TwitterFacebook |Google+ |LinkedIn)

After coaching hundreds of clients, I’ve discovered we respond to our own story in 1 of 3 ways:

1. Defer your Story

The majority of people postpone their stories for another day. Their motive? They believe indecision has its advantages because choosing a side requires work and risk.

Reminds me of a scene from The Matrix. Neo visits a woman named the Oracle to find out if he’s “the One.” If she identifies him as such then he is accountable for saving the world. If she tells him he’s not “the One,” then he’s off the hook.

Oracle: “Do you think you are the One?”

Neo: “Honestly, I don’t know.”

Neo refuses to take a position or exert any action. He feels comfortable deferring and making others do the tough work for him. However, the Oracle refused to play his game. She makes him pick a side.

Oracle: “OK, now I’m supposed to say, ‘Hmm, that’s interesting, but . . .’ then you say . . .”

Neo:        “. . . but what?”

Oracle: “But . . . you already know what I’m going to tell you.”

Neo:        “I’m not the One.”

Oracle: “Sorry, kid. You got the gift, but it looks like you’re waiting for something.”

Neo:        “What?”

Oracle: “Your next life, maybe. Who knows? That’s the way these things go.”

The Oracle simply acted as a mirror, reflecting Neo’s unbelief right back at him. She never said he wasn’t “the One,” but she let him know he was waiting for something. She made it clear he was putting off his story.

Maya Angelou observed:

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Putting off your story doesn’t solve your problem; it only prolongs your pain.

2. Destroy Your Story

Live long enough and you realize it’s simpler to break something than to build it—including yourself. Tragically, many people destroy their own stories intentionally. Take your pick: sports, entertainment, or music—every week somebody else puts down their own story through negative action.

We saw this destruction in sports with Brett Favre, entertainment with Lindsay Lohan, and music with Kurt Cobain.

For those unfamiliar with Kurt Cobain, he functioned as the lead singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter of the grunge band Nirvana. Rolling Stone magazine identified Nirvana as “the flagship band” of Generation X and Cobain was hailed as “the spokesman of a generation.”

Selling over fifty million albums, few other bands ever reached such a high level of popularity and success. But instead of enjoying his story, Cobain destroyed it.

On April 8, 1994, at age twenty-seven, Cobain was found dead at his home in Seattle. His death was officially ruled a suicide, resulting from a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head. His suicide letter invites you into his story.

I haven’t felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music along with reading and writing for too many years now. I feel guilty beyond words about these things. For example when we’re backstage and the lights go out and the manic roar of the crowd begins, it doesn’t affect me the way in which it did for Freddie Mercury, who seemed to love, relish in the love and adoration from the crowd, which is something I totally admire and envy.

The fact is, I can’t fool you, any one of you. It simply isn’t fair to you or me. The worst crime I can think of would be to rip people off by faking it and pretending as if I’m having 100% fun. Sometimes I feel as if I should have a punch-in time clock before I walk out on stage. I’ve tried everything within my power to appreciate it.

. . . I appreciate the fact that I and we have affected and entertained a lot of people. I need to be slightly numb in order to regain the enthusiasm I once had as a child . . . I can’t stand the thought of Frances (daughter) becoming the miserable, self-destructive, death rocker that I’ve become. I have it good, very good, and I’m grateful.

. . . I don’t have the passion anymore, and so remember, it’s better to burn out than to fade away.

Peace, love, empathy,

Kurt Cobain

Frances and Courtney (wife), I’ll be at your altar.

Please keep going Courtney, for Frances.

For her life, which will be so much happier without me.

Just a troubled soul? Maybe.  But maybe Cobain isn’t much different from you and I. He may have literally pulled the trigger, but how many people are already dead?

What’s better? To die instantly? Or to die slowly throughout your life?

To lose your life with one action? Or to lose your heart with a thousand tiny compromises?

Ivan Klíma observed:

“To destroy is easier than to create . . . but what would they say if one asked them what they wanted instead?”

Putting down your story doesn’t help your cause; it only hurts your legacy.

3. Design Your Story

To become a soul on fire you must DESIGN YOUR STORY. Forget deferring or destroying—that’s for dead people. Until you can tell your own story with clarity, you’ll find it difficult to:

  • Communicate your value to clients. 
  • Lead people through their own pain and problems.
  • Connect with people on a truly deep level.
  • Step into the potential God has for you.

Designing your story is both an art and a science. On November 14-15 at the Igniting Souls Conference I’m investing 2 days helping a small group of people become expert storytellers. They’ll discover how to become masters of their own story. The crazy thing is this is the story that should come easiest. Unfortunately, for many it’s the story we struggle with telling the most.

If you want to discover how to tell your story in a way that truly moves others join the Igniting Souls Tribe at the Igniting Souls Conference. (Details about session 1 of 9 below.)

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Igniting Souls Conference 

8:30 AM – Session 1 :  I AM A SOUL AND I HAVE A STORY

You don’t have a soul; you are a soul. And because of this you’re infinitely valuable. You didn’t arrive on the scene. But you’ve been placed within an epic adventure. The sooner you wake-up, the closer you are to discovering your story.

Full schedule here. Early bird tickets available. Subscribers use IGNITER100 at check-out to get an additional $100 off for a limited time.