We all hear stories daily. You are hard pressed to find a person not on Facebook or another form of media, or seeing others talking and catching up on life events. Through social interaction you find out information, sometimes learn something new, and more importantly, you are building personal experiences. Why are personal experiences so important?
As you are thrust into new situations, you find you rely on what you know from personal experiences to get you through the new experience. Without prior knowledge or advice, you feel less secure in achieving what is placed in front of you. The simple security of knowing someone who has been on the same path or close to it seems to lessen the fear. Now the question is how do we learn quality experiences from others to make situations more palatable? The answer is simple, you ask and listen.
Hearing someone’s story is a look into how they arrived at where they are today. As a student working through college, the next big step seems overwhelming. As a professional trying to get to the career of choice, the next step seems too large to take. However, by asking and listening to a journey, you can gain insight into how to transcend the information to achieve your goals. Now not all stories you hear will 100% apply to the possible route for you to learn from, but the more you hear, the more themes will emerge and make the next life step seem less fearful. Stories are all around you every day and it is up to you to listen and ask if you want to know more. Take a chance and hear someone talk at an event and really listen. I guarantee you will walk away with at least one take away.
This past weekend I was privileged to meet Billie Jean King in person. For those who are too young to remember, she was the face of women’s tennis in the late 60’s and 70’s. The founding of the Women’s Tennis Association (1973) was simply one of the advancements she made in women’s tennis to start taking it to the level Serena Williams enjoys today. Although I am not a big tennis fan, the thought of meeting her in person and hearing her story interested me. After the presentation, I walked away in complete awe of the number of achievements she has made in her lifetime and will never forget her parting words. As you move through life, you have the ability to leave a positive mark on anyone you encounter. You may never know the impact specifically, but everyone you meet takes something away with them. You see, Billie Jean King still spoke of her grade school teachers, a schoolmate that asked her to play tennis for the first time, and many other people along the way that at the time had no idea of the impact made on her life. Remember, we all leave marks on others, so make it a positive one.