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Let them see you

William Storr’s book The Science of Storytelling says that what runs a story is a character flaw.

“What you're trying to get to is a flaw that's specified and precise enough that you can then imagine your character behaving in any particular situation.”

Can you take this advice and apply it to how you tell the story of who you are?

How can you be precise enough without using clichés? How can you be so precise that people can actually see you?

This is how Michelle Obama, in her book Becoming, describes how she felt living at the White House:

" The White House is where our two girls played ball in the hallways and climbed trees on the South Lawn. It’s where Barack sat up late at night, poring over briefings and drafts of speeches in the Treaty Room, and where Sunny, one of our dogs, sometimes pooped on the rug. I could stand on the Truman Balcony and watch the tourists posing with their selfie sticks and peering through the iron fence, trying to guess at what went on inside. There were days when I felt suffocated by the fact that our windows had to be kept shut for security, that I couldn’t get some fresh air without causing a fuss. There were other times when I’d be awestruck by the white magnolias blooming outside, the everyday bustle of government business, the majesty of a military welcome. There were days, weeks, and months when I hated politics. And there were moments when the beauty of this country and its people so overwhelmed me that I couldn’t speak."

Can you see her? Can you imagine her feeling asphyxiated in a house where windows could not be opened? Can you see her hating politics, feeling fed up with being the First Lady?

Does it sound real to you? Is this relatable?

There is no unnecessary drama in being vulnerable when you tell a story. Your job when you talk about who you are is to be specific enough to let people see you.

If people can see you they can relate to you, and if they can relate to you, they can connect to your story. Action doesn’t drive the story: character does. The deeper you go, the more you’ll connect.


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