The role of stories in our lives

Bearing an untold story

inspirational quote highlighting the role of stories in our lives

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you” Maya Angelou

When I first came across this quote it really made me stop and think about the role of stories in our lives. It caught my attention as it’s a powerful story in itself, gently probing to search if you are harbouring any untold stories, whilst describing the immense sense of burden of leaving that story untold.

In my professional design and consultancy work storytelling is fundamental to the entire brand process. It’s about telling your story as a brand through every detail to:

  • help inspire others
  • to resonate with your ideal client
  • to make a difference in your clients lives

The process also gives my clients a solid foundation to build their brand messaging on. Your brand story provides strategy and focus.

The agony of the untold story

Our lives are made of stories. It’s the things we remember, it’s our personal perspectives and experiences, how we understand and make sense of the world. We’re complicated, wonderful beings. Events, decisions, feelings, experiences, hopes and dreams can be extremely personal. Some of these drive us to be the person we want to be, others strengthen us, whilst some can completely hurt us.

The positive aspects help you move forward.

The negative aspects hold you back in an attempt to ‘protect’ you from further hurt, shame, or appearing weak. This can be changed.

The agony of an untold story is that you are facing the issue alone. You can feel like you are the only one in the world facing this challenge. The feelings it nurtures in the dark grow over time holding you captive. It continues to present its own perspective. It impacts your wellbeing by not allowing you to see the horizon and alternative routes.

[Side note: If you are holding onto a personal and painful untold story I’d encourage you to talk to someone you trust or write it down (you don’t have to share it with anyone, but the process of writing will help you to start to release some of its claim over you) helping you to find fresh perspective.]

The power of stories

The stories you have within you are what make you unique. They enable people to connect and relate with your story through shared values and experiences. They move, empower and inspire your ideal clients to enable them to make a change. Stories have the power, especially when those untold stories are flipped on their heads and used for good, to help other people going through a similar situation, ultimately providing hope and a real sense that they are not alone.

“…we respond to stories because they cultivate emotion and a sense of togetherness – connection” Joshua VanDeBrake

How do you communicate those tough stories?

Charities have to deal with some horrendous stories as part of their day to day work, however their role in that story is to be there to help, ultimately to improve and restore lives.

The way these stories are shared and retold has changed over the years from the hard hitting impact and horror of war torn lives, poverty, malnutrition, disease and abuse, to shifting the focus towards empathy and hope. A human connection.

Presenting the negative without the positive paints a gloomy, overwhelming, hopeless picture.

So instead, by adding a glimmer of hope charities completely transform the picture and reframe the messaging. They don’t back away from the tough stories, they show what is possible. This can be achieved by authentically highlighting why you believe change can happen and what needs to be done. For instance;

  • how the situation is being tackled
  • results achieved so far
  • what you need
  • good news stories
  • case studies
  • how you are working towards your vision for the future
  • how can others join and help make a difference

What role have stories played in your life?

Think about what stories you can share that are integral to your brand story to powerfully shape how your organisation is understood and effectively communicate your vision for a better world.

Design to tell your story. Contact Becks today.

Becks Neale is a Dorset Designer & Brand Consultant, working alongside charities, community initiatives and purpose-led organisations to achieve a brand they love and live, by distilling their brand story.

Design to tell your story.

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