Story

I love the stories of the people who have influenced my life. The person who most often comes to mind is Steve Jobs. We have all in some way been influenced by Apple, their computers, their phones, their design, their software. Whether we are appreciate the influence or not, our lives have been impacted.

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I love the story behind his life. Generally speaking, this orphaned immigrant’s son who started out headstrong and not making a lot of friends. To when he bottoms out and loses the company he built and is left to rebuild his life and a new company. Then finally, he has rebuilt his company and was aqui-hired to lead his company back to success.

And when he returned he was now this good person who had learned from his mistakes and become a new man and was no longer plagued by the un-relatable man who he was before.

This new man who people wanted to be around who was seen as a value and saw others as valuable. Through the story of his life, he became a different person who other people wanted to model their lives after and wanted to be around.

Are you be a person who others model their lives after? Are you a person who other people want to be around? Who do you want to be around? Who do you model your life after? What steps or change do you need to make to be more like your model?

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In My Head

In my head, I compare myself to other people.

I compare myself to people, and I tell myself they are more fit and athletic than I am.

I compare myself to people, and I tell myself they are smarter than I am.

I compare myself to people, and I tell myself they are more successful than I am.

I compare myself to people, and I tell myself a lie. I tell myself an assumption.

A fictional story about who they are, how they got where they are, and why they are better than I am.

What stories are you telling yourself?

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Story Time

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You have lived so much life. It has passed you by, day by day and has come and gone. The memories you have of trips, adventures, and daydreams from childhood. The experiences you have from the time you spent doing chores, working odd jobs, learning new skills, and how you learned to drive.

These are yours. You had to be there. You can share them and express them. Discuss the nitty gritty and share what it was like to be there when you were there. People listen and share too. They commiserate about the bad and celebrate the good. The neurotic self absorbed narcissist is more rare than common.

Sharing your story is healing to past hurts and soothing to the soul where there is turmoil.

Listening to someone else’s story also has strong qualities. Hearing where they’ve been. What they’ve learned. How they have dealt with a very different life than yours, or maybe their life has too many uncanny similarities to be real.

Either way, you get to hear them, learn them, and share with them. Hearing their stories you can bond your souls and share in all the twists and turns and ups and downs and look forward to what comes next.

Who’s story do you need to hear next? Who do you need to tell your story to? How often do you really listen to other people’s stories? How often are you putting yourself in a situation to hear other people’s stories? How often are you putting yourself in a situation to tell your story?

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Fact Finding

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What is your story? Where does it start?

What happens in the middle? Where does it go wrong? What does it look like on the other side?

When was the last time you asked someone else about their story?

Are you actually getting their story or are you fact finding about how they succeeded and failed? Are you really digging into their lives? Are you waiting for your turn to talk?

I have yet to find someone who does not want to tell their story. Truly listening to someone else tell their story takes more than just showing up. You have to listen too.

Who’s story are you listening to?

–JT

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Expectations

Stress is too common in my life. The stress comes from inside me and outside of me. Sometimes the stress is real and other times the stress if fictional. However, stress still affects steals years of my life far too easily. The worst kind of stress is the kind originating from inside of me. The worst kind of stress is the kind of stress spawning from assumptions I have made about a situation or assumptions I have made about other people.

This stress is built on me assuming it is my responsibility to fulfill the unspoken needs and expectations of other people. But there-in lies the problem. The needs are unspoken and assumed. First, I am making assumptions I know other people as well as I know myself. Second, I am guessing what their expectations are for me, which means I am putting myself into shoes I have never walked in and under hats I have never worn. Third I am then trying to fulfill these imaginary expectations and they have never spoken a word about any of it.

Quite literally, I have started telling complete stories and fictions about what they are thinking about me and what they want from me. All they are doing is trying to have a conversation with me.

It is so funny how quickly it went from trying to have a friendly conversation in a group or one on one, to me being solely responsible for keeping the conversation going. The whole thing ends up with me being underneath a pile of imaginary stresses that all started inside my head and ended by shaving years off my life. How different it could have been if I had stopped, took a deep breath, and asked about the expectations? How different could I be to set said the expectations and focus on the value of the person across from me?
What stresses do you have in your life? Where do they originate from? Have you recently asked others about these stresses? What do they think about your stresses?
Relaxed,
–JT
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Storytelling

The life I live has a story. It has a flow. My life is a flexible story. Sometimes I am the protagonist and sometimes I am the antagonist. At times I am making great decisions and the hypothetical audience is watching and clapping as they see these scenes of good decisions. Other times I am making the wrong decisions and the audience cringes. Either way, my life is a story. My story is a story about whether or not I am willing to grow past my hurts and fears and insecurities. 

Likewise, most stories have a moral. The idea dictating the meaning of the story based on the challenges the characters face. Some stories are simple, like The Little Engine That Could by Platt & Monk. A children’s story delivering the value of overcoming challenges and the power of positive thinking. Other stories are complex with lots of different little morals along the way as different characters continue to grow and evolve over the course of the story. You might consider the original Star Wars trilogy or the Lord of the Rings trilogy as stories where different characters grow and mature over the course of the story and there is not one primary moral but many different morals as the characters mature.

The brilliant part about my story is I get to decide what the moral of my story is. I get to choose whether or not overcoming fear is going to be the moral of my story. I choose by deciding whether or not to face my fears. And, there will be a challenge after I face down my fears. There will be another challenge trying to hijack my story. When the next challenge arrives. I get to choose whether or not to allow it to control my story as well.

What is the moral of your story? Did you choose it or is it hijacking your story?

Storytelling,

–JT

Conflict

I have, previously, never dealt with conflict well. I would get hurt. Emotional. And finish it all with a nice dose of justified anger, I highly doubt those two words actually ever go together. Since I have had time to reflect and analyze this cycle inside myself, I have been able to see it. I have been able to sift it, and I have been able to realize and catch these triggers before they can hurt other people. 

I have been intrigued by this cycle I have. Most of the time I am a peaceful person when it comes to being hurt. However, I am peaceful because I came to learn that I take on the victim's mentality. The mentality that says, "Everyone is going to hurt me and I just need to buck up and take it like a man." Unfortunately, I do not have a clear picture of what it means to take it like a man. What it means to deal with inner anger, madness, and sadness well. I have movies where there is an archetype I relate to. I have fictional books where I can see a relatable character I cling to. I do not have a real life, clear as day, human being I have been able to see walk through this well (that I know of.) 

These facts are not a cause an effect. These are two tandem realities that work together to cause issues. The connecting cord between these ideas is whether or not we talk about it as we walk through situations where we are upset. Whether or not we share how we are actually doing. Whether or not we are willing to share our lives with people around us (not to say we have to share our story with all people, healthy and unhealthy). 

Sharing our story is past tense to telling the story I lived last week, last month, last year, or last decade. 

Sharing my story is also present tense in telling the story I am living today.

Who are you sharing your present tense story with? Who are you sharing your past tense story with?

Story

I am so intrigued by what happens when I tell my story. When I open up with people and tell them what has happened in my life. Where I have been. Who I have been. What I have done wrong and what I have done right. 

My story can range. It can range from the last decade to the last few months. My story could be all 29 years. My story could be this last week. When I sit down and talk to someone and I tell them my story. 

I have been making bonds. 

I have made bonds intentionally and unintentionally. I have made bonds to people I never expected to make bonds to. They are interested in my health and I am interested in their health. We are connected to one another. This last week I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to someone who I had told my story to. I did not realize how impactful it was to tell my story to him. 

When we sat down, he told me his story. 

His story hurts right now. Right now I get to walk through his story with him. Right now I get to be a part of his story. 

I never would have had this opportunity if I did not tell him my story. 

When will you tell someone your story?

Storytelling,

–JT

Listening & Asking

When I talk to people, I am work hard to hear what they have to say. I am also trying to figuring out how to drive people to a place where they need to go to find answers. We sit down, start talking, I kick into listening, analyzing, and problem solving and before long, I have an answer for the person. 

Then I stop listening and start convincing. 

Presenting arguments. Synthesizing answers. Preparing my discussion points. 

I do these things till they either agree with me or I can accurately believe I have thoroughly presented my point to them, they understand my point, and they simply disagree with me. At which point I either resume listening mode, rinse and repeat. Or, I walk away, in a friendly manner and allow them to go on their way without me. 

I think my method is sensible. And why would I not? I came up with it. However, my method makes a highly influential assumption. My method believes I have the answer and my answer is right, best, better, or most accurate. For me, my answer is right. My answer does not address the possibility of my answer being wrong for the person I am talking to. My answer is based on my experiences in my story. My answer does not address the experiences of the person I am talking to in their story. 

To say this in the simplest way, “My perspective is not their perspective.”

Ultimately, I need to start listening to people and ask them questions about themselves and let them do the work. It is not my job to do the heavy lifting, steering, driving, or answering. It is my job to ride along, ask questions, and be good company. 

When was the last time you sat down with someone who needed to talk and let them drive the car while you asked questions about the adventure?

Asking about the adventure,

–JT

Putting the 'Mas' Back in Christmas

You now see why I can make a case for Christ-Mas being a hispanic holiday. 

Though it is not actually a hispanic holiday, it is Christmas day. Todays origins are in a manger in Bethlehem, Israel. There is a stable where a man named Joseph, a woman named Mary, had a son and named him Jesus. This man and woman allowed their son to be the man he was meant to be. They did not stifle his story or inhibit him so that they might push their agenda. They told his story and did not hide the truth of his story from their friends.

Here I am. Today, it is my goal to tell my story. When people start trying to get to know me or asking me about the last year. When they ask about what I’ve been doing, where I’ve been, what I’ve been up to etc. I am going to tell them all about the last month of self reflection and learning. I’m not going to bounce from one awkwardly shallow conversation to another. I need to tell people about my life. I don’t think my life is super important, interesting, or a bastion of light for other lives to be lived; but, I do think my life has a story. And my life wouldn’t be what it is if people weren’t willing to share their lives and stories with me. 

It is time to reciprocate. 

When I am scared of reactions. 

Afraid of judgement.

I need to speak out and tell my story and trust in the person standing across from me. They have a story too. They have value. They need to know that I struggle just as much as they do. Today I tell my story. 

Will you take the time and trust someone else today? Will you tell your story and not hide the details?

Telling my story,

–JT