Today, inspired by a tweet from Angela Smith (who I met at SXSW earlier this year), I signed up for something called The Reinvention Summit: A Summit on the Future of Storytelling. The summit appeals me to me for a few reasons:
- First, it’s virtual, and by registering as a “producer,” I have on-demand access to video of every panel, so I can participate on my time.
- Second, and more importantly, I’m interested in exploring the idea of storytelling as a driver of reinvention.
I’m a big believer that the stories we tell define who we are. The stories we tell about ourselves reinforce a particular self-image; so do the stories we tell about other people. On another level, the stories we tell illustrate where we place our attention — and where we place our attention defines our reality. A big part of therapy is learning to be more mindful about these stories – become more attentive to which stories we tell, and why, and to what effect.
Lately I’ve been thinking that my own story needs rewiring. I’m tired of being a “digital media consultant.” That description doesn’t capture my unique talent, or convey the core value I bring to my clients. Even more, I want to integrate all the parts of myself into a cohesive story about who I am in this world — a story, not just a list: consultant, writer, performer/improviser, studying to become a yoga teacher, etc. What are the core values and talents and desires that course through all of these core interests? How can I present myself by telling a compelling story, instead of a list of skills and interests?
Of course, in asking this question, I’m really asking, “Who am I? How do all these disparate parts of myself fit into a whole?”
Back in DC, my favorite yoga studio was Tranquil Space – a business fueled by story. For Tranquil Space, the story was how its founder, Kimberly Wilson, started the studio in her living room, posting fliers around her Dupont Circle neighborhood and welcoming students with homemade chai tea. Eventually she started renting space in a local church, and then finally opened her own studio space…. This story makes you like Tranquil Space (it makes me like them, at least), makes me feel a connection to them that I wouldn’t feel if they were “just” a place to take yoga classes. The story makes me root for Kimberly, and it makes me feel like I’m contributing to her story by becoming part of her studio community.
Anyway, I encourage you to check out the conference (full disclosure: if you register by following a link from my site, I get 30% of your registration fee!), and I’ll certainly share what I learn. In the meantime, I’m curious – how do you tell your story, and how do you think your story helps or hurts your place in the world?