Are you a Magnet of People's LifeStories?
I don't know what it is about me. I seem to be a magnet for people to share their LifeStories...and many of them don't know what I do for a living! Are you a magnet of stories? This evening was a perfect example. I have been on the board of Directors of the ZACH Theatre here in Austin, TX http://www.zachtheatre.org/ for a few years now. This evening was a cocktail party introducing and welcoming the new members of our Board. On more than one instance, I would meet these incredibly accomplished new people for the first time and they would begin sharing their life's stories with me...and I didn't even ask them to! I have been told that I am a magnet in this way. So how do you handle it if you are the chosen one? How do you deal with all these stories that people feel compelled to share with you? In all seriousness, it is a very big responsibility. Why? Because if their stories are truly important to someone else (or society at large), then they should be captured and preserved in some way. The problem is that people don't think about it. It's time to think about it.
Most folks will not admit that their stories are worth anything. Do you remember the last conversation you had with someone in a social setting and you told yourself, "That's the coolest story I've heard in a long time. That's a story that (fill in a name) needs to hear. She could really benefit from meeting this person and knowing that story?" And if it can benefit one person, it can possibly benefit more or even change the lives of millions for the better.
So what do you do with it? Suggest that they record it. Most of us don't realize that it can be done at that moment. If you have an iPhone, you more than likely have an app built into it called "Voice Memos" http://tinyurl.com/27t6rdd . Just whip it out, turn on the app and ask the person to repeat the story. You can later transfer it onto your computer http://tinyurl.com/2fkcffz and then share the story with the people you think it might help!
So now all of you fellow LifeStory magnets out there will know what to do with those stories we hear (and don't want to hear). But be sure to let the teller of the stories know you want to share the story with others! This is one instance where it is better to ask for permission before you must ask for forgiveness!