We grow out of stories: the ones gifted to us by our family, or imposed upon us by society. These stories shape us, and sometimes we celebrate them, or choose to leave them behind. In many ways we are nothing more than a collection of stories: those we hold within, those we act out, those that we hide away.
I worked with a group yesterday who shared their stories: probably they only used a hundred and fifty words each, and yet, through those stories, i knew them better.
We are not the same story in every space: we have private and public versions of ourselves. Perhaps, somewhere deep inside, is the true story of ‘self’. Or perhaps we are nothing more than a rotating carousel of truths, each held in a different context.
We talk about authenticity in leadership: when you ask people to illustrate it then tend to draw foundations or, more commonly, roots. The notion that ‘authenticity’ is what a story is built upon. But to some extent that requires us to be willing to share: to make ourself vulnerable by unearthing the story of self and making it open to others.
In that sense, perhaps authenticity is a cost to the individual, a risk. Because once we put our story out there, it can fly. The narrative ceases to be under our control.
Some stories we hide because we treasure them: others because they are unsafe to share.
It reminds me of the role of the Social Leader as the Storytelling Leader: sometimes to speak, often to listen, always with humility.