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Most of You Are Sitting on Stories That, If You Shared Them, Could Change Your Entire Life

by | Feb 26, 2024 | Writing

Her personality outshone even Jesus.

She always had this ray of light that followed her everywhere she went. I was her manager. She saw me writing a bit on LinkedIn and said she was going to do the same.

Shortly after I got fired.

We stayed in touch. Within 6 months I found out the cancer she’d had years ago had come back to haunt her. She faced cancer with a Mike Tyson fight in her.

But the cancer won.

She died.

I never got to see her write anything. All the wisdom she had inside her is lost forever. I have no way to remember her. When I google her name nothing comes up.

I share this because many of you reading this are sitting on stories that, if you shared them, could change your life. Or better yet, change the lives of others.

Don’t let your stories go to the grave with you like my friend’s did.

The uncommon approach to sharing your stories

Many people think their stories have no value.

Like they’re too boring or simple. But often the best stories aren’t featured in a Ted Talk or made into a Hollywood movie. No.

The stories that move us are relatable. They’re simple.

Yes, the takeaways might seem cliche, but that’s because we don’t need new advice or lessons — we need reminders. Simple stories from normal people fulfill that huge need.

The best way to start sharing stories is to just set up a social media account on whatever platform you want and publish a few things. Tell no one. Don’t become some sleazy, self-promotional internet marketer.

Just focus on hitting publish. Do it for yourself in the beginning.

The stories that change your life

Big claim, right? Let’s unpack it.

I’ve written online for 10 years. I don’t write anything fancy and I haven’t won any snobby literary awards or kissed Hemingway on the d*ck.

I just share stories I find online or encounter in real life. I mix in whatever weird stuff is happening in my life at the time. Sometimes it’s a creepy pedophile hanging outside my house trying to intimidate me.

Other times it’s less spicy scenarios, like an afternoon at my kid’s daycare singing Sesame Street songs with a bunch of crying babies.

Throughout my time writing, there have been a few stories that have changed my life. They’ve all had one commonality: vulnerability.

Before I hit publish on each story of these vulnerable stories, I almost didn’t. I felt afraid. Terrified of the backlash. Petrified of what a boss might think. Afraid to get canceled. Yet I hit publish anyway.

These are the stories people bizarrely remember.

They carry perceived risk which people seem to appreciate. So the lesson here for you is publish the stories you’re scared sh*tless of publishing.

A great example is when Tim Ferriss shared the story of being raped by another boy as a child. It had the potential to destroy his cool guy 4-hour workweek image.

What it did, though, was save many people’s lives. He spoke to people who’d also been abused and made them feel seen. Many of them didn’t take their lives as a result.

The biggest trap with sharing your stories

There are stacks of gurus parroting this same “share your stories” advice.

The problem is they tell you to share your stories so you can build a personal brand as if you’re Coca-Cola.

Stories that are shared to build a personal brand are inherently selfish. People can pick up on the hidden motive, and they hate it, so they don’t read the story or ignore it.

Stay away from this bear trap.

Sharing your stories isn’t about you. The greatest gift you can give is to use stories from your life to help others. To ease a little suffering in the world.

As soon as you become some selfish influencer, all the storytelling magic is lost and you die at 25 with a selfie stick in your hand.

Why don’t more people share their stories?

There are many reasons.

Most of the time it’s fear. We’re afraid of what people might think. We’re trapped by the notion that cancel culture can hunt us down and kill us like Jack the Ripper.

There’s also this false idea you need to be an expert. The university industrial complex spread this lie so we’d pay 6-figures for their degrees and make them rich.

Stories wrapped in credentials are often so full of garbage and complexity that they never get read (or shared).

Storytelling without ego is the real superpower.

Writing stories is free therapy

When bad stuff happens it’s easy to become lost.

Writing about things that happen to you helps you process all sorts of pain and trauma. It secretly reframes the pain as wisdom for a stranger.

When you join the dots between experiences, it helps make sense of the mess in our heads. Your thinking becomes clearer and you’re able to draw meaning from seemingly meaningless adventure.

I’ve found writing has helped me speak better in public too. It gives you a quiet confidence and can even make you more assertive (the power of knowing what you want, thanks to writing).

The message here is to stop sitting on your stories. Don’t let them die with you. Instead, write your stories down and dare to publish them online. If you feel scared to do it, then start by writing under a pen name.

Now you’re free to write. Go free and do it.

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