Here’s a story to tell you why I tell my stories.
It’s also meant, of course, to serve a reminder to us all of…
why you must tell your story.
Toward the end of 2012, I was new to a networking group and was given the opportunity to give a 20-minute presentation about my “Let Me Rephrase That” writing services business.
It’s hard to tell my “how I got started in this business” story without mentioning IT–my miscarriage in May, 2008.
The miscarriage experience was a wake-up call to me and a reminder that life is short, life is precious and it is not to be squandered.
Ever since then, I have sought God’s plan for my life and how to best use my gifts and talents to help people and make the world a better place. Sitting in Barnes & Noble one day when my first writing “client” handed me a check for four figures made me realize, “Wow, I can make money with my writing.”
To do what I love and get paid for it makes my heart sing.
I told a room full of 30 people–mostly men–that a miscarriage had prompted me to create my “dream job.”
I almost left the miscarriage part out. It’s kind of…personal. And awkward to talk about with a bunch of business people. Even my dad was there that day. But I just knew I needed to mention it.
Not long after, I had a one-on-one with a female business owner from the group. Toward the end of our meeting, she told me that my mention of my miscarriage during my presentation really touched her, and she appreciated my honesty, and my courage for telling my story. I thought, “Oh, there it is. That’s why I needed to leave it in.”
We became friends after that and have gotten closer over the years since. About a month after we met for that lunch, she asked me to pray for her because she knew that I’d had to have a breast biopsy done during my pregnancy in 2009 (yes, I shared that, too). She had a suspicious spot and needed a biopsy.
It was cancer.
For those who don’t know, my mom is a breast cancer survivor of 18 years.
My mom and I quickly sprung into action, giving her goodies and a”Jesus Calling” devotional book. The three of us had coffee together, too, and my mom shared HER story and gave our friend an angel pin just like our sweet neighbor had given Mom during her treatment back in 1995.
Mom shared a verse with her: Joshua 1:9 ” Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. God will be with you and will never forsake you.”
That was the verse my mom had me read to her over and over again right after her diagnosis. She said she needed to hear it until it sunk in. We tried to encourage our friend over coffee that day (yes, there were tears) and of course we prayed for her as well.
Her surgery date was scheduled for August 8th when I as attending the Global Leadership Summit. Bill Hybels, lead pastor and co-founder of the Willow Creek Association, opened the summit with a talk all about the concept that “Leadership Requires Courage.” The theme verse for the event was Joshua 1:9.
Over the course of the day, the Joshua verse was spoken to and by thousands of people all around the globe–on the very day of my friend’s surgery.
When the greeters at the door handed out these bookmarks, the sentiment wasn’t lost on me.
I thought that was pretty amazing. What are the odds? That day? That verse??
And we may not have bonded–and she may not have known my story or my mom’s story, or have asked me for prayer at all–if I hadn’t shared MY story. Even the gritty, bloody, dark part of my story.
I tell my stories because stories hold power.
In a world where it’s so easy to hide and where so many people are too busy keeping up appearances to show their true and authentic self, I am glad that I took a risk and told my story.
I believe it made a difference in my friend’s life, and in her recovery. And it’s made a big difference in my life, too.
Sometimes I may talk too much. Sometimes I might over-share. But I have never once regretted telling my story. In fact, I plan to do a lot more of it from now on.
Update: our friend’s surgery and recovery went smoothly and she is now completely cancer free!
Do YOU hesitate to tell your story? What’s holding you back?