The Power of a Story
- THOMAS WIDEMAN
- May, 22 , 21
On an ordinary day in the month of June in the anything-but-ordinary year of 2020, I opened a box that I had secreted away and pulled out the manuscript that held the story of my life. Nearly a decade before, I had lost my nerve to share my story and quietly tucked it away.
For years, I’d lived with the thought swirling in my mind that sharing my story might make a difference in someone else’s life. But what was it about this moment that gave me the courage to open my locked box and pull out the witness to what my upbringing had been? What changed my mind about sharing the pain and struggles of poverty and dysfunction? Why now was I willing to share my experiences, reflections, and even counsel?
Simply put, it was the year of 2020.
I already had a growing awareness of the number of people gripped by a sense of despair over their circumstances. Added to that, 2020 brought us a global pandemic with far-reaching effects, social unrest that jolted us to the core, and extreme political divisions that destroyed even the strongest of relationships.
The fact that I could leave my home and not return—or that my family could be infected by the virus and not recover—weighed on me.
For years, I’d wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. With so many in need of hope and help, the often-heard whisper became a shout. “It’s time!”
I couldn’t wait any longer to share my story. Not because my story is unique—but because it isn’t. Because there are countless individuals who need to know they’re not alone and there is a way forward in the middle of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. I wanted to help show them the way.
A Long-Awaited Dream Comes True
A decade ago, when fear caused me to box up the story of my life and hide it away, I also hid away a dream. A dream to help people caught in difficult circumstances like I had been. A dream to help people see their value and the gifts inside them. A dream to not just help them see their gifts, but help them develop their gifts and reshape their lives and future.
…you’ve found your way to my blog, and I have the opportunity to introduce you to my book, Welfare Cheese to Fine Caviar.
But I’m most excited about the possibility of being a catalyst to move you to action.
The Power of a S.T.O.R.Y.
Clare Patey, Director of the traveling Empathy Museum, says, “Stories have a transformative power to allow us to see the world in a different way than we do if we just encounter it on our own.”
I believe a person can often see their experiences more clearly when they recognize them in someone's else story.
Here’s how I like to think of the power of a S.T.O.R.Y.
Find Strength. A story has the power to help someone find their inner strength. When they see themselves in your story, they can borrow strength from you until they find their own. They learn how to call it forward from your example.
Embrace the Truth. A story has the power to show someone the difference between the truth and a lie. If we have been long-exposed to demeaning words or verbal battery or an overpowering negativity, we will often believe the lies that are spoken to us. Lies that we’d never want our loved ones to believe about themselves. Recognizing in your story the stark contrast between the truth and the lies can often be a catalyst for change.
Take Ownership. A story has the power to enable someone to take ownership of their choices, of their life, of their future. It can show them the way to abandon any tendency to shift the blame or responsibility onto someone else’s shoulders.
Become Resilient. A story has the power to show someone the way of resilience. It can give them an example to follow.
Say Yes. A story has the power to help someone say “Yes!” to the better story they can write for themselves.
What Can You Do With a Story?
You can tell your story!
Perhaps your upbringing is similar to mine. Have you overcome poverty or a family struggling with dysfunction and addiction? Perhaps the challenges and obstacles to your success were entirely different. Have you told your story in order to encourage someone? Have you been transparent about your past struggles to help someone else see a way forward?
The details of your story may be unique, but the overarching story isn’t. There are people who need to know your story because they need to know someone understands theirs.
I hope you’ll read Welfare Cheese to Fine Caviar, identify the life lessons we have in common, and begin to tell your own story!
I’d love hear your story. You can contact me here.
You can share my story!
Are you connected to someone who’s at a crossroads? Maybe a high school student in challenging life circumstances. A young adult with decisions to make but no strong support system. A thirty-something who can’t seem to find their way.
I hope you’ll read Welfare Cheese to Fine Caviar and share it with a young person who needs a way forward!
Grab the FREE Companion Guide for them!
I’d love to hear about your connections to young people who need to hear my story. You can contact me here.
You can learn from my story!
Do you feel like the cards are stacked against you? Are you uncertain about your future? Do you need help to see the way forward to the future you dream of?
I hope you’ll read Welfare Cheese to Fine Caviar to realize there is a way to find your inner strength and your unique gifts and shape your future.
And PLEASE grab the FREE Companion Guide! I can’t be with you in person, but I can be with you through this guide. We can walk through change together!
Do you have any questions for me? I’d love to hear from you. You can contact me here.
I hope you’ll visit this site often and share it with others! Together, we can improve society one person at a time!
What readers are saying!
“Do yourself a favor and just highlight the entire book. There were no wasted sentences, no passive paragraphs. Every ounce of this book is fuel for advancement and enhancement. This book wasn’t just a purchase. This book was an investment that is already paying off great dividends!” -J Reader
“This book provides structured “life” encouragement to anyone, but particularly to those who may have come from meager beginnings. Thomas does a great job proving that a motivated and honorable individual doesn’t have to perpetuate a culture of poverty and underachievement just because they were born into it. An inspiring and ultimately “feel good” story with true, meaningful strategies for success and personal experiences embedded within.” -Stan Pitts
“I too, can appropriate the suggestions Thomas offers and implement a plan to move in the direction of my own abandoned goals." -Barbara White
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