Meeting somebody for the first time usually means that you are obliged to quickly bring that person up to speed as to who you are and what it is that you do with your life.
Having done just that the other day - I suddenly became very aware of the story about myself that I chose to give as a representation of who I am.
At that moment I was struck by two things.
The first was just how powerful or disempowering that personal story, that we choose for ourselves, is. It's a quick introduction that either builds trust and an opportunity to create a new bond, or leaves others feeling sceptical and distant.
The second realisation was that in general, people's personal narratives are a synopsis of their history; the school you went to, the university degree you once studied, the job that you bear a title of currently, but started long ago. Our personal stories are made from the past facts of our lives, rather than the intentions we hold for our futures.
When was the last time you meet somebody for the first time who said: "Hi, I'm John and in two years time I will be a Comrades Marathon finisher."
"Hello I'm Kirsten - a bit about me, I'll one day be the future CEO of Discovery Health."
Meeting somebody for the first time who shares this as their personal narrative would probably tell you far more about them than information on what school they attended 30 years ago.
Even if you are not consciously aware of it, you carry with you a personal narrative of your own life that can have a strong influence on your future.
An article published by the BBC, that focuses on research in this area, posed the question, 'if you can revise your life story, such as by considering the positives that came out of negative experiences, would you be able to develop a more robust and healthy personality?:
'Compared with control participants who weren’t prompted in this way, those encouraged to feature more redemptive sequences subsequently showed greater goal persistence, even several weeks later, saying that they tended to finish whatever they started. “Not only do these findings provide evidence that personal narratives can be shaped,” the researchers concluded, “they also suggest that shifting the ways people think and talk about important life events can influence their lives moving forward.”'
The story that you tell others, and yourself, about your life has a powerful affect on your future. Choose it carefully and consciously.