Telling our Story
Story telling is so important in our world. When we greet each other the first moments of conversation are filled with the who, what, when, where and why of life. “Where do you live?” “What do you do for a living?” “do you have children?” Yes, the list of questions can go on and on because we are hungry to know a bit about other people. We tell a story with our life, and that story is meant to encourage, and inspire others.
While in grad school i was challenged by a professor to think through my life and recall those people who just pop out as exceptional to me. The challenge was to determine what made those people stand out. What did they do, and how was it that in some cases several decades had passed yet words discussed, concepts taught, memories shared remain memorable, clear and fresh in my mind.
I remember spending a weekend tasked with journaling my thoughts. The full assignment was to present in a 5 minute speech those people that came to mind, and what made them so significant. It was a long and cold fall weekend, and my journal lay exposing blank pages for what seemed like all of friday evening, and half of saturday.
Then the flood gates opened.
Memories of my early years and those “girls stay up late” talks with my mom and her sisters were among the first to come to mind. My mom grew up in a small town near Pittsburgh, but married my dad and moved to Cleveland in the 1950s. When we went to visit them in Pennsylvania it was a treat for mom… and an opportunity to tell their story to me. Story telling was an important part of the vocabulary of Mom and her family. They wanted me to understand who they are, and what they had been through. And yes, they had a story that was wonderful, encouraging ,and brought great hope that the American Dream is possible, and attainable. Stories from the dark days of the great depression, and the palpable sense of struggle and challenge, giving way to an age of prosperity, growth, jobs, and renewed hope in life itself. It is a story that began to peek under the veneer and see the true character of these hearty women to endure, innovate, and thrive on so little.
One memory was of young childhood, and church kids choir. The choir director was an immigrent from Russia with a very thick accent and spoke a blend of russian and english that we oddly understood. He shared his compelling passion for freedom, and his complete thanks for being able to live in a free country. His story was one of struggle, and life threatening moments, filled with emotional lows and highs, The immigration process, and the assimilation into American culture was another facet… but he told his story.
Memories turn to my third grade teacher, who was the first teacher to really bring life and fresh approach to learning. She taught through a kind of story telling, working through the required work, while allowing us to hear glimpses of her story. She loved people, she loved her life, and she loved to share the nuggets of encouragement she found.
And there was the 7th grade art teacher who reminded us that anything is possible if you try hard enough, and believe in yourself. And it was her story that clarified how these values were a core of her life. Again, she loved being there, loved her classroom, her students, and poured into each of us in great ways. She was able to tell you her story. Stories create curiosity and interest, both of which are strong tools in attracting us. She made me eager to try different media of art, keep pressing my skills, trying different media until i discovered what spoke to me, matched my skills, and blessed others.
My journal was filling with names, memories, thoughts. And though there were many different thoughts one thread of commonality shined through. They tell their story in ways that are winsome, encouraging, enticing, attractive. I wanted to live their life, know their adventure, be in their shoes.
The time came and I did present my 5 minute talk to my grad school class. I was the first of the group to speak. I was the ice breaker. Either I got it right or I missed it completely. ((deep breath)) As i sat down there was a hush in our small room. I think the other 19 grad students wondered what was coming next. Tension was high in that room. The professor looked at me and said “Exactly! Tell your story. Your story is the best marketing plan you can have. Keep it sincere, transparent, honest, and make your story windsome, attractive, and exciting.”
Storytelling has become a large part of our Images in Bloom marketing plan. We embrace our story as a vital component of our products. and we value the opportunity to tell our story to encourage other people. Storytelling, is all about finding your voice, expression and something to share. In blogging, storytelling is about sharing experiences, your mistakes, your journey, your accomplishments or anyone else’s for that matter.