Believe… a collection of seven letters, a verb that taps into all sorts of stories with emotional charge. Stories of the past. Stories forming in the present. In addition, Stories looming in the future. Stories of certainty where we understand, conclude, and know. Stories of unlikelihood where to believe is to trust, have faith, and to accept. Stories of fantasy where to believe is to imagine, assume and suppose.
Not just at this time of year, but all year long we can tap into our creativity to harness what we know to be true, which events will logically follow another, and what we wish to see happen. In other words, when we believe things happen. Of course, planning, action and coordination have a significant impact on the outcome as well. However, the invisible web surrounding us as we plan, supporting us as we act, and sustaining us throughout, is that we believe in ourselves. Nothing happens without it.
Whether your story involves angels announcing to shepherds the birth of infant King born in a manger, flying reindeer pulling a red sleigh, or a tiny amount of oil burning for eight days, when we believe magic happens.
Believe in your accomplishments.
Believe in your gifts
Believe in your dreams.
Believe in YOU!
This is the time of year we celebrate All Hallows Eve with costumes, candy, and carrying on. Dressing up and pretending doesn’t end with childhood; too often, we make bargains with our ourselves when faced with life’s challenges. Remember that song, “Whistle a Happy Tune,” from The King and I? The lyrics suggest by making others believe you are brave, you become brave. In an attempt to placate somber spirits this year, what about treating yourself to a little attitude adjustment? The trick is to rewrite your story and make yourself the heroine. Is there something you’ve been putting off because you were afraid? Whether the dilemma is personal or professional, nothing will change until you make the first move. Keep it simple and manageable: a phone call, 15-minute internet search, make a list in your journal, make a collage, whisper your dream into the night sky, sort the articles you’ve been collecting, or whatever small increment will get you on the path and past GO.
I recently had a chance to do just that! WNBA-SF hosted an author luncheon featuring Joyce Maynard at Book Passage to celebrate WNBA’s National Reading Group Month. Attendees were able to not only have lunch with Maynard, but also ask questions of the very accomplished author. I was thrilled when WNBA-SF was able to invite Maynard to be our honored guest for this annual event. As a young mother in Minnesota, I looked forward to reading Maynard’s “Domestic Affairs” columns in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. I could relate to the woman who wrote about searching for tiny Barbie shoes in shag carpeting and the small dramas of daily life. It helped me realize I liked that style of writing and wanted to have a column of my own some day. Sitting next to her, I had the chance to hear her talk about the writing process and receive encouragement to keep on the writing path. “I write about people and relationships,” Maynard said enthusiastically, “because that’s where the story is.”
She answered questions about how characters and plots show up and gave us insight into this mysterious world of the written word. Maynard spoke about the importance of making our writing a priority and ignoring e-mail until after we’d put in writing time for the day. She also stressed that even when it sometimes looks like we’re not writing, we’re actually writing because we’re thinking about writing. Writing is both frustrating and fascinating. Maynard’s latest work, “The Good Daughters,” was the end-result of a month-long retreat in Wyoming. The novel explores self-discovery of “birthday sisters” over decades. Writing retreats are wonderful opportunities to break from routine and allow the writer to disengage from distractions, but for day-to-day writing, we need to show up at the page to tell the story no matter what our surroundings.
Who do you admire?
Once upon a time isn’t just the stuff of fairy tales, it is also a means to engage your clients and customers so that they learn about how your business started, what your plans are for the future and why they should be doing business with you right now.
This summer, I moderated a panel about Healthy Living at the Northern California Storybook and Literacy Festival. The authors and their subjects varied but had one common theme, sharing information with the public about living long and healthy lives. The authors each told a story they were passionate about based on their area of expertise and body of knowledge gained from years of study or life experience.
Richard R. Simmons wrote an autobiography, A LONG HARD RIDE, to let others know that there is life after alcohol, to show others who suffer from a disease that they are not alone and possibly give them hope.
Joanne Neft, author of the Placer County real food cookbook, shopped at the local farmers market, and then served a meal with all local, in-season ingredients. No one has written a book using only foods from a local food shed and developed recipes for all 52 weeks of an entire year.
Davis Liu, M.D. is the author of Stay Healthy, Live Longer, Spend Wisely – Making Intelligent Choices in America’s Healthcare System. As a practicing primary care doctor at one of the nation’s top performing health plans, he guides his patients through the clutter and hype.
Jennifer (Jen) Martin in her autobiography Blue Fingers Brass Knuckles writes of the health issues she has faced and how focusing on not only what we’re eating, but what we allow to eat away at us in our thoughts and behaviors.
B. Lynn Goodwin, author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers, offers encouragement, simple instructions, and over 200 sentence starts to help anyone start putting their thoughts on paper.
Your business has a story to tell as well. Letting your clients and customers know who you are on a personal level will help you connect with them on a business level. Yes, technology is wonderful, but you aren’t doing business with technology. You are doing business with human beings. Your clients and customers want to do business with a real person with whom they can build a relationship. Sound old fashioned and simple? You bet! That personal touch strikes the right cord to connect with your clients and customers on a significant level and lead to an on-going relationship beneficial to everyone concerned. Only you can tell your story. You have the details and know the impact of each one.
It’s time to tell your story and I’m here to help in any form you choose: post card, direct mail, press release, blog post, feature article, web site text, or even a book!