“Tell me a story.”
An old colleague of mine was famous for this line. At any lull in the conversation, he’d offer it up. Most people’s response?
But each of us has a story ready to go, and it needs no touch of fantasy or fiction. Nor will it ever be duplicated. Because it’s the story of you, and the starting point of your connection to others.
So let me tell you a little story…
Last week I hopped into our Uber driver’s car, headed to the PGA Championship. Frustrated at having to quickly change my purse per the PGA’s size rules, I said the obligatory “Hi” but wasn’t in the mood to chat.
Luckily, my hubby was.
He pulled up the Uber app to show that our driver was from Africa, and this was the start of a fascinating conversation.
Our driver and his family had fled violence in Congo and relocated as refugees in Uganda. He’d come to the states to earn his masters three years ago, but had to leave his family behind.
He said that he misses home, but wouldn’t return until the violence ends. And his favorite part of living here? “Education, food, and infrastructure.” (Wow, do we take that last one for granted.)
I hadn’t expected much from my ride to the golf course, but what I got was a chapter from a unique story and an in-person, human-to-human connection.
These stories are everywhere, held safe within each person you meet. It takes only two steps to release them:
1) Be Curious.
Curiosity helps us see that there is something or someone worth knowing about. Imagine getting a whole day to play in your favorite bookstore, exploring all those topics that interest you. A dream, right?
Well, asking people about their stories is kind of like that. Film and TV producer Brian Grazer calls these “curiosity conversations” in his book A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life. People love to talk about themselves, so just ask.
2) Come from Love.
Have you ever felt someone’s insincere intention through the energy they channel? It’s like being asked a question and sensing that the interviewer’s purpose is to compare lives, hoping to gain points over you.
Grounding your questions in love conveys compassion and genuine interest in the well-being of another. When I asked our driver if he missed his country, the question originated in my heart as a way to say “your story matters and I want to understand.”
Believe me, you can tell the difference.
In this world of unlimited treasures, some of the best finds are the human kind. So be brave enough to connect, vulnerable enough to share a page from your life, and curious enough to say “tell me a story.”
Tell me a story below!