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Story-telling and the power of vulnerability

I always really liked the phrase 'unity conscious'. It describes the way we can all learn from one another, and need to learn from one another, in order to evolve and grow as individuals. As we do so, the collective grows in its consciousness too, which is important for the success and health of our social groupings - our families, the teams we are a part of, the friendship groups we belong to.

Which is why storytelling is so important. We learn from our own experience, and that of others. I have learnt many a valuable lesson from those around me, and I’m sure you have too. We watch their successes and mistakes and want to emulate or avoid them in our own unique way. We learn by observing. But… the issue with just watching and observing, and drawing our own conclusions, is that we can often miss the gold of what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. We project our own experiences, values and feelings onto a situation, and in doing so we limit our opportunity to grow - we miss the opportunity to learn from another and consequently get stuck in a loop of what we know so far, and not what we could know to be true, by listening to the experiences of others.

When we get curious, and take the time to hear from others - what is it like for them, what did they learn, what did it mean for them to lose that contract or rupture that friendship, or experience hardship from a young age - we learn empathy, and we have our own perspectives stretched out and challenged, our horizons expanded.

When you share your own fears and vulnerabilities, you pay it forward. You give others unconscious permission, the courage, to share their own fears and vulnerabilities in turn.

Not everyone is comfortable with their own vulnerability - we often hear when someone has made a success of something, they proactively share the good news via social media or in conversation - but how often do we hear when they have messed up, or experienced pain? Rarely. And so we miss a valuable opportunity. We miss valuable opportunities to listen, to hear what they define as their mistakes and what they have learnt from them. Which, in the process, would release us from our own shame as their stories resonate with us and we seek solace in the healing power of connecting with another and realising that there is more that binds us than sets us apart.

So, how do we change this pattern? Well, we all know you can’t force someone else to share their story. What you can do however, is take the time to share your own vulnerabilities, your own experiences, your own pain, in turn giving you the opportunity to start to heal your own fear of your own vulnerability. The chance to be ‘met’ by another also offers the chance for a shared connection, and for someone else to see more of you than just the facade you’re willing to show the world.

Perhaps most importantly, when you share your own fears and vulnerabilities, you pay it forward. You give others unconscious permission, the courage, to share their own fears and vulnerabilities in turn. It may not be that day or that week, but instead in time when they’re ready, and that’s more than good enough. Lifting up the collective consciousness of those around you is a powerful gift.

You learn something from everyone - whether that be what to do, or what not to do. So not only is storytelling so important, but it’s particularly vital in organisations, where people are often trained to be silent about their own personal truths and what makes them, well, them. By being more conscious of the importance of sharing your own lived experience, you can help speed up your organisation or team’s consciousness in the process - leading to happier and healthier groups, as well as helping to live the leadership values of the future. For gone are the days where our employers encourage us to separate our personal and work personas. These days, and largely thanks to the pandemic and forward thinking leaders, these boundaries are a lot more blurred. Consequently, we have been afforded a great opportunity to make the most of the circumstances we found ourselves in, and continue these new habits into the future long after lockdowns become a thing of the past.

If you have a story to share, but need to make sense of it in a safe, private space first, please do get in touch with me today to arrange a consultation.

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