Friday, June 26, 2009

Guideline for Working with a Group's Stories - Part 3 of 9

3. Be willing to be vulnerable with a group

Stories are not for the faint of heart. Stories open the space between us and others. They are a scared tool for deeper reflection and insight. We have to let go of our need to control the thoughts, reflections, and learning processes of others. In their truest sense, stories are not a behavioral tool for hitting the right button in others to produce a desired, predictable outcome. The experiential nature of story demands vulnerability. Are we willing to learn in front of others? Can we remove the artificial boundaries that we erect in learning environments to protect our authority? Stories broaden our awareness before they focus it. Imagine an hour glass. The top of the glass is wide. The sand drops down through a narrow crack before it falls into a wide basin below. Stories are similar in this respect. As we explore the interconnections between our stories and their relationship to other people’s experiences the learning environment might feel scattered and chaotic. People might ask, “Where is this going?” Inevitably you will ask yourself the same question. Until suddenly the story drops through the narrow hole of analytical discourse and opens into a new vista of insight and meaning. The story has been a catalyst for learning and is a new buoy for anchoring future ones. None of this is possible if we do not make ourselves vulnerable with a group. Sharing a personal story is a wonderful way of softening a group and modeling the openness stories require to work their magic.

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Thank You!
Adding your stories and thoughts to this conversation is enriching for everyone.