What’s Your Story?
A Solo Episode with Blue Russ
This is an unedited transcript:
Welcome to a path of her own. I’m Blue Russ And I’m sitting down with women who are building success on their own terms, asking questions to get at the raw truth of the ups and downs of their journey. I hope that today’s interview sparked something within you. Welcome to another round another month, of a path of her own. This month, we are talking about story. And I think any podcast is telling some kind of story. So what I want to invite you to do this month is to really notice the way in which stories are told who is at the center of the story? What is the conclusion of the story? What are the elements that strike you along the way? In that story? My other invitation for you this month is to notice the stories that you tell. And notice some similar things, who is at the center? What is the conclusion? What are some of the highlights? Just notice. And as far as the power of story, which next week, we’ll be talking with death car about the way that story has power in business. It has power in all elements of our lives. Humans, we are storytellers we are story receivers. Before we had the written word before we had the printing press. We had stories orally told generation to generation. And this was the way that we learned about the world at any age. And it continues to be a really important way that we learn that we listen. Have you noticed when you’re reading a book, or when you’re hearing a topic when you’re learning about something, if there’s a story involved, then it’s much easier to engage.
I’ve definitely noticed this. And I love a good story. I want to share a couple of things with you today just about the power of story of story in your own life, and how to leverage that one way to leverage that in your own life. Before I do that, I do feel the need to share one little story with you, which is I have just recovered from COVID. So you might hear my voice is a little bit different. It’s not back to normal yet. I’m hoping that I’m pretty well done coughing. But that may happen. And so if that does, I’m going to try my best to mute myself so that I’m not doing that in your ear. But here I am. I thought about waiting until I am totally back to sort of normal. And then you know, I just feel like it’s important to show up whenever we’re inspired to show up and share. So here I am with my COVID voice and all. So bear with me. Okay, so back to storytelling. There are so many troubles, traumas challenges happening in the world, collectively and personally. Right like me having COVID Right now, having had just had it i that is like a collective experience, right, as well as my own personal challenge within that. And I’m sure you have many of your own parallels in that way. I mean, I’m not going to try to list them all here, you know, what’s going on in the world. There’s a lot of really intense trauma and friction. And I want you also to notice those stories. Where are you hearing them? These collective events? Who’s telling the story who’s highlighted in the story. And this is just a noticing, right there isn’t a really right or wrong way to tell a story or to receive a story. But just notice what is the intent of the storyteller and what is useful and not useful to you in any given moment. So it may be useful to you to be informed About a Supreme Court ruling or a shooting, or a an anniversary of an event. Right or the result of a trial. There may be some use in being informed. But at what point do the stories paralyze you traumatize you, affect you in your personal life in ways that may not be as useful for you as as an agent of change for you as a person who has the ability to contribute to a better world. Is it debilitating to you to continue to hear stories and what kind of stories? So quick example for me. Video stories about violence. debilitate me, I usually can’t sleep for days, I’m super hypersensitive to those things. And so although I want to know what’s going on, I don’t want to be my head in the sand, have my head in the sand, about the realities of what’s happening in our society. I also don’t want to get buried so deeply in my own grief and despair, that I give up. That I stopped being a positive force in the world, that I feel so powerless, that I am no good to myself or anyone in my community. And I definitely do not want that. And I imagine if you’re listening to this, that’s not what you want, either. So for me the boundary is, I will read the news and not watch it.
Another boundary for me is to notice where am I getting my news, right. So I don’t want to just read memes that were shared, or sort of go down the rabbit hole of the internet. And what it suggests, might grip my eyeballs Next, I want to really intentionally drop in and pull out as needed to breathe to recenter. I don’t I’m not proposing to have this down perfectly. Of course, I get into rabbit holes, but I do my best to avoid them. So when it comes to telling a story, sharing a story, I want to invite you to imagine as I’m describing this, I want you to imagine your own story. And you might pause as we go along and actually write down a story or say it out loud, I think there is something really powerful about articulating your story. And what I mean by story is, any experience that you are having is a story. That’s your story, the way that you are experiencing it, the steps that you are taking the interactions you’re having along the way. That’s your story. And your story might be really brief about one particular reason thing, you could have a whole life story, right, you could have a larger arc theme idea about who you are. That’s based around a story of your life. I invite you right now as we’re going along, just play with this with a simple version, write a small story, maybe your recent event that doesn’t have too much weight to it. And then you can apply this to larger stories, including your very identity, perhaps you might examine through this lens and just see what opens up. Be interesting. Okay, so there’s two components to this. And again, no wrong way to tell the story. The first piece is simply recognition. And this is where it’s just a raw story. I often invite people at my retreats to share a story about something that’s been hard to help process in our minds in our spirits, what that event has meant, how it has impacted us and to get really real about that. It’s easy to ignore, gloss over deny our feelings about a thing. And that only harms us more. Right that I think traps that in our system until we’re ready to work through it. And if we keep avoiding it, it’s just gets harder to do. So you’ve probably been in Please write and, and it’s okay. Again, I want to keep this simple just for the example today. So it doesn’t have to be the most raw, terrible thing. But I do want you to think about just something that’s been a bit of a challenge recently. And just recognize fully recognize in this moment, what that experience was like for you and tell that story. Again, you can pause, tell it out loud, write it down, or you can just kind of think about this and come back to it when you’re ready. Ready is also a key piece here. Sometimes we’re not ready to recognize we’re not ready for that recognition story. And that is okay, too. So simple recognition might look something like okay, for me, I just had COVID. So we’ll go with that. So the recognition is, oh, I have been trying so hard being so diligent, diligent in wearing my mask and taking precautions, and oh, it’s just really demoralizing to get that positive results. Last week, right. So you’re listening to this at a point where maybe it’s been more into the future, but in this moment, it was early last week. Now I got the positive result. And oh, I really felt disappointed. I felt. Not I mean, I felt physically
ill. Which led me to take the test, I got into a swirl of worry about backtracking who might I have exposed? What does this mean for my children as they finish the school year? What does this mean for my work? And my plans? And what else could I have done? Right? So I’m really I’m feeling all the, the guilt of the things that won’t get done, or what else I could have done to avoid contracting this virus. So there’s just a recognition, right? I might also recognize the way that I was feeling achy, tired, throat hurting, maybe my worries about symptoms getting worse. That kind of thing. So just recognizing, yeah, that was really hard. Okay, the next piece, the next storytelling piece, that I invite you to do now is to tell the same events, the same story, but with a reframe. And what I mean by reframe, is to tell the story from a little different perspective. And one really useful perspective is from kind of a hero’s stance, a hero or a helper, an empowered space. So anytime there is a crisis, anything that’s going on, there are always heroes and helpers. I think Mr. Rogers is one I’ve heard it from where he said, you know, what, if something is going on, look for the helpers. That’s not his exact quote, but something like that. So you can go ahead and pause now and consider your same story from this reframing heroic helper perspective. And if I were to tell the story of having COVID From that perspective, I might say I did. Obviously the fact is still I contracted COVID. And thank goodness, I had a test available and I had healthy food and supplements and the weather is nice. So I was able to keep all my windows open, to keep fresh air flowing through my home. Thank goodness that I have a home, to be in to safely spend time and the flexibility to rearrange things. There’s a collective understanding of what it is to have this virus so didn’t take a lot of explaining to reschedule things, doesn’t take a lot of explaining why children are going to miss school. Right, there’s a, there’s an understanding, there’s a compassion, there’s a collective concern around this virus, so we had that going for us. And my symptoms in the big picture were really mild. I never worried that I was going to die of the virus, I didn’t have to go to the hospital. I got either a version of the virus or my immune system is strong, or combination of them both, where I overcame it. And now my system is even stronger. And along the way, I got to receive support, I got to be the friend whose soup got delivered to I got to be on the end of someone else. supporting me taking over roles that I didn’t have the energy to do. In inside my home, inside my business, there are people I can lean on, and oh my goodness, I’m so additionally grateful for each and every one of them. In fact, if I could even go so far as to brag a little bit, I turned away some help specifically around food because I had so much food and little appetite.
So I actually turned away some offers to bring food because I 100% didn’t have any more room in my refrigerator. How amazing is that? Both of these stories, both versions of the story are important. And I could even tell the story in other ways, too. So again, I want to loop back to you. There’s no wrong way to tell your story. But just notice what’s useful at any given moment. And I would argue for me anyway, in this example, it’s helpful to me to share what’s hard first, you know, what was really challenging and awful about having this virus. But I don’t want to stay there. I don’t want to stay stuck in being a victim in that way. I want to acknowledge it. Certainly. It’s something that happened. And there it felt bad. So denying that is not helpful, right. That’s not reality. It’s not going to help me process what occurred. And if that’s the only story I tell, then I feel kind of stuck in that. I like it was all just bad news. Instead, telling this next version of the story, as I’m ready to do that, of course helps me to see another perspective to see my way forward to have some energy to move on. You probably have you’re really listening heard a different tone in my voice, even as I’m telling story number one versus number two. So that energy is helping me propel forward helping me to reclaim what’s good and positive and supportive for me in the future. All right. So I in full transparency, I had planned to tell a different story. But this one is so fresh. And I wanted to encourage you to also just experiment with a story that is fresh and maybe haven’t told before just to really see how this feels and this lands. And then of course you can bring some of this recognition and reframing to your future stories. Both the stories that you receive, you might do this with and the stories that you tell. So continue to notice those stories and see. See what you get notice are some stories, one or the other. Are they something else? And what are you receiving from them be an interesting kind of scavenger hunt And I suppose All right, so coming up in future episodes, like I said, we’re going to apply this to business. And even the word branding, which I’m not a fan of, it still makes me cringe to hear that word, even though I know lots of people in the branding space who are doing really positive, wonderful things, approaching branding in a wonderful way. Beth Carr being one of those people, I think you’re gonna really like her, she is delightful and funny. And we recorded this a while back. So my voice is also in a better place. So that’ll be the next week. And then we’ll have a bonus episode with a little more practical pieces for your business. If you have one, or even just things that might apply to you as you are working with businesses, right? Like, we’re always interacting with marketing, with branding, whether we’re aware of it or not. And a lot of it has to do with our own personal expression of self,
which is, in some ways, has a lot of parallels to branding of businesses. So whether or not you run a business, I think you’ll find that conversation really interesting. We also talked about just navigating a pandemic. And what that has been like as a woman of color in business freshly out of corporate at the start of it all. You can imagine some stories will be shared there. And and then we’ll have a coaching session to round out the month. So stay tuned. Thank you for listening to my stories, and sharing your stories. Thank you for joining us today. If you enjoyed this episode, I invite you to subscribe to my podcast to make sure you get access to all the episodes. While you’re there, I would so appreciate you leaving a review as well.