Human Stories are a process that help you as an individual, or as part of a larger group, to work with the symbolic connections that you make, consciously and unconsciously, between your inner and outer worlds as you share stories and create conversations. Human beings have always been storytellers and you share your stories as a way of making sense of your inner and outer worlds and the connections that you make between them. The stories that you tell enable you to imagine your life in a wider context that goes beyond a merely sequential narrative and allow you to see your situation not just as it is, but how it could be. It can be easy to stay in known and familiar stories where you are always talking about what could be, but the most powerful stories that you can tell and live out are those where you engage with the tensions that emerge as you put your imagination into action.
Tension and Drama
The most powerful connections that you can make between your inner and outer worlds are those that involve the most tension along the boundaries between them. In our stories, we describe these tensions, knowingly or unknowingly, as dramas. The more dramatic that a story is, the more potential that it has for helping us to powerfully resolve a fundamental tension between our inner and outer worlds. The purpose of all the stories that we share and tell is to help us make sense of these dramatic tensions so that we can healthily resolve them, however big or small the dramas seem to us. We naturally engage with the dramatic tension of a story because it helps us to understand how to work with our own tensions when we encounter the unknown and unfamiliar. The most powerful stories are not just those that keep us on the edge of our seats but also take us to the edge of our experience
The stories that we tell are brought to life by a range of characters that we use to symbolically reflect our own spoken and unspoken characteristics. By understanding the qualities that we ascribe to the different characters, we can understand more about the tensions around who we feel we are in our stories and who we would like to become. Although you may feel that you have a single corporate identity in the workplace, you are constantly playing out a range of characters, consciously and unconsciously. These characters symbolically connect you to your characteristic behaviours and by understanding more about the characters and the tensions between them, you can understand more about how to resolve any tensions that may emerge from your characteristic behaviour patterns.
The characters that you use to symbolically connect your inner world characteristics to your characteristic behaviour in the outer world are often identified by the actions that you take. In an Human Story, the actions that you take to connect your imaginal inner world to the reality of the outer world are described as deeds. Your characters are known by their deeds, and when we work with the tensions between our inner and outer worlds, however minor or hugely dramatic they may seem, our deeds tend to follow a natural human pattern as we resolve the tension., This pattern of deeds usually begins with an emerging tension that calls us out of our comfort zone and move us towards making a difficult decision that will enable us to rise to the challenge of resolving that tension so we can move beyond it. This pattern forms the basis of our most powerful stories, both inside and outside the workplace.
You use the characters in the stories that you tell to symbolically connect your inner and outer worlds, and the deeds that they do to resolve the tensions that you encounter between your worlds. Your characters and their deeds are always located in contexts that resonate with meaningful aspects of your inner landscape. These locations provide you with a contextual awareness that help you to understand where you currently are in your story and how you can make progress towards where you need to be. As you become more aware of how you locate yourself in your inner landscape and show up in your outer landscape, you give yourself the ability to healthily change your perspective, so that you can work with any tensions that emerge from your characteristic behaviours and habitual actions.
As you naturally work to resolve any tensions that you may encounter along the boundaries between your inner and outer worlds, the symbolic connections that may be most familiar to you are often the tools and physical resources that you use. The objects that you use to navigate tension often have a deeper significance that goes beyond ordinary utility and you may often imbue them with meaning beyond the physical qualities, so that they become artefacts that give your work a deeper significance. The artefacts that your characters use in your stories, to perform their deeds and progress from location to location, don’t actually contain any innate meaning or purpose. What makes an artefact significant to you is how it reflects your inner resourcefulness and enables you to functionally connect your inner and outer worlds, so you can healthily resolve any tension between them.
Human Inside, Human Outside
As we naturally connect our inner and outer worlds, we instinctively build up the symbolic connections that we use into more complex patterns. These patterns are one of the fundamental processes that we employ to explain our world and understand ourselves, and we call them stories. The stories that you tell yourself in your inner world will naturally emerge into the stories that you live out in your outer world. By understanding more about the stories that you create and how you use them to navigate tensions between your inner and outer worlds, you can create better and more powerful stories for yourself and the people that you connect to. Instead of just imagining the stories in your inner world and thinking about what could happen, working with an Human Story helps you to naturally understand patterns that may be difficult to make sense of rationally, and encourages you to step into the unknown and unfamiliar, connecting beyond the boundaries of what you know and are familiar with. What happens inside, happens outside.