Breaking through the 3 Common Blocks

In a previous article, I gave you three tips to create juicy stories. Here they are again… be personal, be specific, and be inspirational.

But what happens if you get blocked? What happens if you find yourself unable to put your story together so you can tell it?

I have found 3 common blocks that stop people in their tracks as they try to pin down their stories:

1. My stories are personal…

2. My stories are painful…

3. My stories are insignificant…

Let’s go through each one at a time, shall we?

Block #1 My stories are personal

You hesitate to tell your story because you don’t want to share something personal. Your life is a private matter. What happened to you in the past gets stored in your “memory box,” and is not to be shared.

To talk about yourself makes you feel vulnerable. It is true that when you disclose parts of your history, you expose yourself… and, you can never predict what others may think.

I understand you may want to hold back from disclosing personal moments. If you think you have something you would rather hide, then to keep the lid on the “memory box” is safer.

However, if you can open the lid that contains your memories, you have a rich source of treasures… but it does take courage to stand before others, and share your life experiences.

I know it can be risky to reveal the truth as you experienced it. You might be afraid to shine a light on family secrets. You may feel you will betray those who love you.

While your fears are very real, let’s look at what might motivate you to tell a risky or challenging story. Why?

Because a personal story is one way that an audience can get to know and trust you. Listeners want to see, feel, and understand how you encountered and overcame something difficult. What solution did you discover?

To tell your story gives hope to others. When you share how you got through a difficult time, and share how you overcame it, you show people there is a path and you can lead the way… or they know because you overcame the challenge, they can too.

For example…

The stories I tell are about my own fear of public speaking. Believe it or not, I used to be terrified when I had to present in front of a group! In my next email I’ll share the story of walking out of my first presentation because I was so anxious. What I offer now-a-days to those who struggle with speaking anxiety is a solution. My stories illustrate the way to solve stage fright. I offer steps to achieve the confidence to be more real when speaking in public, and less afraid to speak up.

So, what is a problem you have overcome? What would it take for you to be willing to offer your story as guidance for others?

Block #2 My stories are painful

Another reason you might hesitate to share a story about yourself is because it is painful. The moments you remember contain specific, hurtful details.

Because you remember the hurtful details, you distance yourself and don’t want to remember some of the disturbing moments.

You might even forget the time or event. To bury the pain and not remember what cause it is one way to protect yourself from uncovering the unpleasant details.

Of course you don’t want to break down. You don’t want to get emotional and expose your feelings in front of others.

So before you share your story, you may need to process it first. If you write about or talk to others about these painful moments, you can get more perspective. The memories can then become less painful.

Meaning, when you face your painful memories, it is possible to come to terms with your past. You can heal, and you can learn from your life moments. Your story becomes a source of strength rather than pain.

Block #3 My stories are insignificant

Now, even if you learned a life lesson, you might not believe your story has any value to others.

You compare yourself to someone who is “more together.” You think other people have more compelling stories.

If you believe your stories are not worthwhile, it can also mean you have a similar attitude toward yourself. Do you feel you have worth?

I’d like you to look at your own self-perception. Do you put yourself down? Carry around an insecure feeling? Think whatever happens to you is not important?

If so, you may think you are unworthy. But here’s the good news, if you are able to recognize your negative self-talk, you can change the pattern.

Changing the low view of yourself is important. People who listen to your story can sense your negativity… which makes it easier for them to have the same low opinion towards you, even if they don’t know why.

The way you feel about yourself and your stories are the keys to reaching your listeners. When you portray the details of a particular time of life or event, tell why these moments are meaningful.

Remember what I said about juicy stories? Let me remind you.

They need to be personal, specific, and inspirational.

A block that arises when you attempt to retrieve your life stories is an opportunity to challenge yourself. A challenge to become more real, more vulnerable, and more honest.

So, if you have one of the 3 common blocks to telling your story (too personal, too painful, too insignificant), call me. I can help you break down whatever block you have gently, and with a lot of love… so you can have peace and ease when you tell your story.

The first step is to sign up for a free 30 minute “Break Through Your Storytelling Blocks” session. If you’re not clear on your block, I’ll help you identify it and outline the steps you can take to unblock yourself… and if you are clear on your block I’ll walk you through how to remove your block so you can share your life with confidence.

If you want to break through your 3 common blocks in storytelling, contact me directly or if you would like to learn more on courses I offer, click here. 

Doreen Hamilton

About Doreen Hamilton

Doreen Hamilton, Ph.D., is a Clinical Psychologist with over thirty years of experience, the Training Director of Speaking Circles® International, and the founder of Essential Speaking. She specializes in the treatment of anxiety caused by the fear of speaking. In addition to her authentic communication workshops and private coaching, she leads Speaking Circles in Berkeley, CA, along with teleconferences, e-courses and seminars throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.

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