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From the desk of Steve Lowell, Master Speaker and Mentor to those who speak in public.

TELL A COMPELLING STORY

Decide What Stories to Tell

Think about your life for a moment.

What are your core values? What is the one message you would want to share with this world on your death bed? Who are you, really? What do you stand for? For what or for whom would you fight? What wrongs would you right? What truths would you spread or inequities would you rectify?

Ponder these questions, and come up with your own answers. The answers you come up with will form the basis of your story, the story you will bring to life, and this will help you begin your part in making this world better as a result of your existence.

Once you have an idea as to what your core messages are, even if there is only one, then you can decide which stories to tell to support your message.

What events have transpired that make you who you are today? What people have influenced your character, sense of morality, justice or spirituality? What challenges have you overcome? What adversaries have you claimed victory over? What adversaries have claimed victory over you?

These questions will help you to reflect on your life and to extract events from your memory bank that are worth sharing with the world.

No matter how old you are, or how uneventful you believe your life has been, there are events that have unfolded that make you who you really are. Those are the events youíre looking for. Those are the events that can shape the lives of others, because theyíve shaped your life.

When you share significant events from your life, magic often happens. When someone that has heard your presentation is reflecting on the same questions as you did, their encounter with you becomes a transforming event in their life.

Many of us dismiss our past as boring or insignificant, but thatís just not true! Your life is like a string of pearls, consecutive magnificent events that created the person you are today. Explore each one of those pearls and find the magic.

In the spring of 2010, I was reading a post someone had placed on LinkedIn. The post was a comment from someone who had just taken the train from Toronto to Ottawa, a journey of about five hours or so. She noticed that the lady seated directly in front of her did nothing to occupy her time during the entire trip. She didnít read anything and she didnít use a laptop or a blackberry, nor did she listen to music. She had no crossword puzzle or a game of any kind. She just sat and stared out the window for the entire trip.

The person who posted the message simply thought it was weird that anyone could travel for five hours and not have anything to do for the duration of the trip. Her comment was a little judgmental, seeming to express her disapproval of this behavior.

It left me feeling sad that many of us have reached the point where we canít seem to be alone with our own thoughts anymore. We seem to always need some kind of input coursing into our brain in order to pass the time.

When I travel, I rejoice in any alone time I get to sneak in. I get lost in thought; I recall happy memories and hone my creative processes. If I had been on that train, I would have marveled at how this lady just sat there quietly for five hours. Who knows what magnificent ideas and memories were floating around in her brain?

When we constantly pump our brain full of someone elseís creative output, we leave no room for our own.

Iím not suggesting that we never listen to music, or read books, or play games. Iím simply suggesting that unless we learn to be still and reflect on life, we stifle our creativity and we miss precious lessons that the events of our life have taught us.

So, whatís the lesson? Be still, reflect on the events of your life and find your stories in that silence.

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