The Power of Story

The American novelist Ursula Le Guin said, “Words are events, they do things, change things. Words transform both speaker and hearer; they feed energy back and forth and amplify it.”

I think this is most true when we use words to tell stories. Stories are events. Stories do things and change things. Stories transform both the storyteller and those who are listening.

Stories amplify energy.

I have seen this play out both in public libraries where patient grey-haired librarians read fantastical stories to kids during school holidays and in powerful public dialogue spaces where enemies come to see each other as human beings. I have seen this at our Story Sessions events. Most recently I have had the privilege of witnessing the transformative power of story in organisational spaces.

Stories change things. Storytelling cultivates connection.

What exactly happens when we engage in storytelling?

  • Storytelling connects us to each other and our common humanity. Listening to stories and sharing our stories are both humanising events. Stories break through thin stereotypes and judgmental thinking by painting our humanity in deeper, textured layers.
  • Telling our story can help connect us to our personal values and identity. It invites us to be aware of and thoughtful about the story we are choosing to write with our lives. It provides an opportunity to take ownership of who we are and what we allow to shape our lives.
  • Storytelling is empowering. When we share our story with others in a safe space we feel seen. It can bring immense healing.
  • Stories can also help connect us with collective stories. Storytelling creates opportunities for us to find common values and language with others. This is particularly true when we are working with others toward a specific vision or goal.
  • Stories invite us to connect with uncertainties and the unknown in ways that are imaginative, fun and evoke the sense of possibility, rather than limiting us to the status quo, unhelpful judgments, and dualistic thinking.

Consider for a moment your company or organisation as a space for sharing stories. What stories are you telling and celebrating – what have been the gains? What stories are you paying attention to? What stories have you missed or neglected and what is the cost?

Are there any stories that you have deemed unimportant? How is this serving you, the people you are leading and your business? Creating spaces for storytelling in your life or your organisation may seem like a small and simple step to take, but may be the most powerful decision you make this year.

Keen to know more about how to bring the power of story into your organisation?

We are always interested in having a conversation with you about our Story Session offerings and how it could cultivate connection in your organisation or company. If you are keen to find out more, do not hesitate to get in touch.

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