For some reason, you let other people tell your story. It’s almost like you think they’re right and you’re wrong. Why do you do that?
The main reason you let other people tell your story is because you haven’t taken the time to figure out your own personal narrative. So when your partner starts telling people at the party what you’ve been up to — and basically tells them who you are — you’re not sure what to say. You know what you’re hearing about yourself isn’t quite right, but you’re not sure how to jump in.
This is only one example of how you let other people tell your story, and then get frustrated when they tell it wrong.
What’s your story?
First of all, your story begins in the middle: we enter your story in media res:
In media res: (Latin: “in the midst of things”) the practice of beginning an epic or other narrative by plunging into a crucial situation that is part of a related chain of events; the situation is an extension of previous events and will be developed in later action. The narrative then goes directly forward, and exposition of earlier events is supplied by flashbacks.
You begin in the middle because your story is a first-person account of being you; there is something going on right now that is directly related to what has come before this moment.
Yet there is something crucial missing. It is difficult to identify what this essential existential missing element is, because you are wrapped up in the events of the day you are currently living; but there is some central event or characteristic in your life which has a direct impact on the day you are living today. And even though it is unexpressed, it is the driving force behind your story.
Think of an electrical city train. There are the two rails upon which the train rolls, and there is the “third rail,” whether on the ground or above the train, from which the train gets its power.
You have a third rail like this. It is the part of your story that is propelling you through your day; something which is often unconscious, yet moves you to do what you do — for better or worse.
But you haven’t yet identified your third rail. Which is why when someone else tells your story, you often feel that there is something wrong with the version they are telling, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. You might even begin to feel like you’re wrong trying to tell your own story.
Identify your third rail.
There is some central struggle in your life which is driving everything in your story, behind the scenes.
All stories revolve around how someone solves a single, escalating problem they can’t avoid… [Your] internal struggle is the story’s third rail, the live wire that sparks our interest and drives the story forward. ~Lisa Cron, Story Genius.
Identify your third rail. It is the driver of your story. It is also the secret of what motivates you and what makes you who you are. Once you identify your third rail, you’ll begin to understand your own story — and trust yourself to tell it well.
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I can help you tell your own story with confidence.