Recently, I had a discussion with several colleagues where I was asked to explain the difference between “story” and “message.” I know that the terms have often been used interchangeably with little or no distinction between them. Both refer to content being delivered in an interesting manner to persuade, uplift, educate and entertain.
I believe that your message is the essence of your story. They are intimately connected and difficult to separate. Just the way the make-up of your DNA determines the color of your eyes, the color of your hair, whether you are right-handed or left-handed, or have an allergy. I believe the message you are here to deliver is as individual as you are, and every one of your messages is impacted by your unique story…the story of your childhood and youth…the story of your awakening to our life’s purpose…the story yet to be written and the story you write each new day.
Every story starts with Once upon a time. The story sets the stage for your reader…it conveys setting, circumstances and invites your reader to be there with you. Not everyone is going to run a marathon or climb mountain peaks, but we get it when we see the images and read the words, “Just do it.” The message is to go for it in life wherever you are. Your story keeps changing because that is what life is all about.
My story includes the facts that I was never encouraged to be passionate about doing anything outside the box or beyond the boundaries of safe and known outcomes. Along my path as a wife and a mother, I grasped opportunities to pursue the dreams I couldn’t let go of…the dreams I wouldn’t let die.
- While waiting for our name to move to the top on the adoption list, I achieved my dream of a college degree.
- While coping with the challenges of finding my way during job changes and creating nurturing living spaces because the job changes included moving across the country…twice, I honed my skills as a leader and compassionate listener.
- While reinventing myself after two breast cancer episodes, I claimed the mantle of writer.
These are some of the parts of my story. My message and my mission is to motivate the writer in you to unleash your story because your story matters and you are the only one who can tell it from your perspective.
To answer the question I began this blog with…you are BOTH sharing a story and delivering your message.
Do you think there’s a difference between your story and your message? Hop over to my Facebook page and please share.
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