Sue Knight, an NLP trainer, and one of my mentors, invited me to present a session at her alumni event in the Dordogne, France, this summer.
My session was about story telling. I believe that as we tell our own story, we create our personal founding myth – the reason we are the way we are and why that is important. And that by taking control of this narrative, we can connect ourselves with resourceful states in our past, and create a trajectory that will take us where we want to go in the future.
My personal experience of going through cancer treatment and recovery has had a profound impact on my story, and it has forced me and enabled me to become more resourceful. For example, the chemo drugs I received damaged my hearing, which makes talking with large groups of people difficult for me. So instead, I invited the group to participate in a series of drawing exercises.
1. New beginnings
In this exercise, I gave everyone a sheet of paper with an egg shape already drawn on it and invited them to doodle on the egg to illustrate their own personal new beginning.
2. A pivotal scene from your past
Movie director David Lynch once said that his creative process for telling his stories starts with striking images that come into his mind. And he then weaves a story around them that connects them together. I asked the delegates to illustrate an important and empowering scene from their own past.
3. Past, present & future storyboard
When you plot three points on a chart, you can begin to see if they join up and form a straight line. A trajectory. I gave each delegate a sheet of paper with three frames drawn on it. In the last frame, I asked everyone to draw their desired state – how you want your future to look. In the first box, I asked them to draw a founding moment from their past – part of their foundation myth that gave them the skills and resources they have today. Then, in the middle box, I asked them to draw what must happen now, in the present, to connect the past with the desired state in the future. These three points form a timeline – the trajectory we choose for our lives.
I’d like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who participated in this session. You shared so much passion and creativity – I was really inspired, and I have enjoyed reviewing all of your drawings hugely. I’m sorry if I didn’t document all of your drawings – I tried to capture as many as I could. I hope that by looking back at these drawings now, it will help all of us to anchor those desired states.