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  • James McPartland

Access Point: Narrative

"With a narrative firmly in hand that holds the power to unlock your genius, you can go into the world and do the legendary things you were put on this earth to do!" — James McPartland

CEO putting business card in his pocket that says "My Story" on it
Photo: Михаил Петров

Storytelling is an intrinsic part of being human. Our unique abilities to create and imagine are what sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. From childhood, we learn best through stories as we craft fantastical scenarios in our minds. By imagining these worlds and characters, we develop a sense of ourselves, of others, and about how we can empathize and learn to relate to the world.

Our connection to storytelling continues throughout our lives. Whether we are fully conscious of it or not, we create in our minds a unique narrative that becomes our life story. We assign meanings to events, labels to people, and edit out things that don't seem to fit well. While this is a normal human process, we must be mindful of the stories we tell ourselves. It is not so much our past events that shape us, but our interpretation of them and the narrative that we create which, in turn, shapes who we become.

Our identity is another version of our story, the sum total of what we identify with and an imagined self that translates into a small but persistent voice. This voice reminds us of who we are, what we can and cannot do, and is responsible for the person we evolve into. Further, this voice informs us about others and makes assumptions about what we think we see and understand. In reality, the people around us have unique inner lives that we know little about. If people often act in a way that surprises us, the truth is that the surprise comes from them not meeting the expectation of "who" we have labeled them to be.

Every so often, it’s worthwhile to proofread the current version of your story. Questions allow us to freeze-frame our narrative, to see if the story we are telling ourselves is truly serving us:

  • Are you living the life you have imagined you would be at this stage of the journey? How is it similar? How is it different?

  • In what way are you defending your story?

  • What would become possible for you if you told your story in a different way?

  • What is at stake if you don't modify your story?

  • Is there a story you tell yourself about who you are that is different from the story you tell others about who you are?

  • What is the courageous and compelling story that you would truly love to live into?

From the insights you gain, or even if you are stuck, consider these points:

  • Awareness is a superpower… Until you make the unconscious conscious, you will see your story as your destiny.

  • Harvest the energy trapped inside of whatever you are avoiding - as whatever you distinguish can no longer rule you.

  • Stories are self-fulfilling prophecies… What you see and what you say is what you get.

  • Stories are interpretations of the facts, and facts don't cause stress… It's the stories we make up about the facts that cause stress.

  • The tighter we cling to our stories, the harder it is to grow beyond them.

  • People can only see as far as their stories will take them and only act as far as their stories will back them.

We will always try and make sense of our lives through a narrative and have an inner story that is continuously being written and edited. It is useful to remember that our lives are not a novel with a tidy beginning, middle, and end. Our identity is not binary, and neither is anyone else's. Above all, be mindful of the story you are telling yourself. Your past does not determine your future; however, your interpretation of the past will influence your future decisions. Stay open to new possibilities. Try things you thought you couldn't do. Script a future completely different from your past that will not allow you to be confined by what you think you are meant to do and who you are meant to be.

Write yourself into a story that unlocks your genius - the unique gift that only you possess - the magic that resides within you by your birthright.

Without this story firmly in hand, how can you go into the world and do the legendary things that you were put on this earth to do?


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