Saturday, April 22, 2023

Standing by Your Story?

Listening to a mentor-partner this past week, I wondered about statements that this person was making -- not whether they were true or not, but whether he was distinguishing between facts and assumptions.  He ended with "That's my story!"  Over the next few minutes, we explored this "story":

  • What was known or assumed.
  • What was observed or shared by others.
  • If any biases or filters may have distorted what happened.
  • How he was piecing together the situation that concerned him.

Understanding that we all "fill in the blanks" and we all "create stories" is a starting point for curiosity:  Am I interested in finding out what really happened?

What story do you remember?
~~ Click on image to enlarge ~~
(Photo credit:  Far Side, Gary Larson, 01/30/91)

This lesson hit home when I was watching a YouTube video, "Creating Perspective Art Using Paper Cups."  (Click on link to watch this 3-minute video.)
At one point in the video, it says "[The] Key is getting the proportions just right."
How true with the stories that we tell: balancing the perspectives of fact, fiction, assumptions, and truth!  We have collected all these disparate pieces of information, but we may have arranged them incorrectly or placed more emphasis on one aspect of the story than another.

How do you piece together the information you receive?
(Photo credit:  Creating Perspective Art Using Paper Cups,
Insider Art, YouTube)

Spending time with another mentor-partner, I heard her describe what seemed like two different stories:  her supervisor said one thing and a work colleague said another.  Having met with the supervisor and work colleague separately the week before, I could see that BOTH stories were correct!  It was a matter of the timeline:  WHEN something had happened.
Yes, the stories were different -- and confusing -- to the mentor-partner who had received information from the supervisor and work colleague... but as potential options were being discussed, people's input had changed the story's outcome.  Both stories were true... at the time WHEN they were told.

Does your story provide perspective?
(Photo credit:  Creating Perspective Art Using Paper Cups,
Insider Art, YouTube)

The lessons for me?  Being able to:
  • Keep an open mind about the information I receive;
  • Realize that each perspective might be true -- at the time it happened; and,
  • See the importance of getting the proportions just right.

That is, learning to balance what I hear with the assumptions and stories that I tell myself.  Rather than "Standing by my story," I must be willing to listen and become curious by asking questions about timeline (when), intentions (why), participants present (who), and checking out the facts (how).

May we become creative in the art of perspective!

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)

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