Episode 28: How Our Stories Influence The Stories Of Others
Michelle opens by saying they are going to discuss how the stories we tell ourselves can influence the stories of others.
- She then gives an example of how when you’re driving in a car and one person says they are noticing how every car is red, suddenly everyone is noticing the red cars.
- Ron says he has a similar story from growing up where after his parents bought a new car, he noticed every other same exact car on the road as well.
- He says that this is because we notice the world based on and through the stories that we have in our own heads.
- Ron notes that this is true of any story or philosophy, but until you have that story in your head, you can’t notice it because there’s no story for it.
- He then gives an example of when he moved to Germany and didn’t speak German, and thought everyone was always talking about him, but it’s just because he didn’t speak the language to know that they were all talking about things other than him.
Michelle says she because of events that she has experienced in her life, that she has started purposefully and publicly acknowledging when others have a good idea.
- This allowed others to also take note of that good idea and also acknowledge those ideas.
- She says this is also true of being able to ignore the current stories of a group, i.e. gossip about a person.
- Michelle gives an example about when she was able to ignore the stories of others, and then create a new story not only for herself, but also the group.
- She notes this is how she came up with her stand of noticing people for who they are and not for how others are noticing them, or telling her to notice them through gossip.
Ron says that brought up a memory of when others would have an answer, he would have a story of how smart that person is, and how not smart he is.
- He later realized this is the wrong mentality, and that he just didn’t have that story in his head, or had not been previously exposed to that story.
- Ron gives the example of his old way of thinking which was embodied in his senior year high school yearbook, where his quote was, “better to keep your mouth shut and let everyone think you’re a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”
- Ron says now the story he tells himself is the exact opposite, and that it is better to open your mouth to tell others the stories you have, as well as listen to those stories of others.
- Ron noticed that when he used to judge people for not knowing something or being able to do something, he now realizes that it’s because they don’t have the story in their head, or experience, or the needed background.
Now, Ron says, he likes to focus on ways to get all of those stories out so that others can also see and learn from them, and then asks Michelle how to go about doing that.
- Michelle laughs and says that was going to be her question for Ron.
- Michelle says the revelation she had a while ago is that while she can recraft her own story, she can’t recraft the stories of others.
- Other people have to craft and recraft their own stories, but what she can do to help them is give them the space to be able to do that.
- Michelle says the way she does this is by telling them her story of them, that they are valuable, and have something important to say.
Michelle says that is her way of giving others space to recraft their stories, and then asks Ron what his technique is for doing that.
- Ron gives a metaphor about trying on shoes and finding one that fits, and even double checking that even if it’s the same shoe as last year, the design might have changed slightly, and you find that it might no longer fit you.
- Ron says that at all of their programs, and even at his house, an ethic for him is to give everyone a chance to tell their stories.
- He says that when he gives people that space, they put out stories that he didn’t see or notice at all, and because they put it out there for the rest of the world, other people get to now try those stories on as well.
- Ron then gives an example of a time this happened recently, and how the group reacted.
- Michelle says that what showed up for her is how simple that is to ask one question and listen to the response.
- Ron says the way he crafts it for himself is the simple word “dignity,” both for everyone else, as well as for himself, which makes it easier for everyone to put down their shields.
Michelle asks if Ron starts with himself giving his story, or does he start with others and end with himself.
- Ron says it’s not easy, and that it depends on the group and the story he has made for them in his head.
- He says that if he waits until the end, then you don’t shape what they notice.
- Ron says that for them to be as authentic and real as possible, he tries to avoid going first and shaping the story of what they notice.
- However, he notes that if he has made up the story that the group is petrified, he will start off with something a little more benign.
- Michelle says she agrees, and realizes the intentionality of having leaders speak their story last.
Ron and Michelle close by noting that we always have something to say, and that we need to trust ourselves, that we are enough, and being authentic, and that whatever we say will come out great.
Join us to hear how understanding the idea of “self talk” — and what you can do about it — could change your relationships and life for the better.