Monday, April 14, 2008

What's Your Story?

So, of course, since I’ve been writing about story, a Citibank ad grabbed my attention. Their tagline was . . . What’s your story? We’ll help you write it. The ad depicted a woman under a car in the traditional “mechanic’s position” wearing a pair of gorgeous red high heels.

Her story went like this:

“As a little girl, I didn’t play with dolls. I played with carburetors. So when I found a beat-up old classic in the newspaper, I knew what I had really found was a new project. I grabbed my Citi CashReturns card and headed for the auto store.

“I bought a new axle, an engine block and brake pads. And then with the cash I got back, I bought myself some new heels. Because there’s no point fixing up your car if you can’t fix yourself up a little in the process.”

Amazing, isn’t it, how story sells. Truth is, we sell ourselves stories all the time. A colleague is rude to us at work or doesn’t copy us on a group email, and all of a sudden, explanations are required. Explanation is a code word, dear one, for a story. We tell ourselves stories to explain why.

The thing with story is this: story can create either pain or pleasure, and we get to choose which we want. I’ll say it again, we GET TO CHOOSE what stories we tell. Myself, I like the pleasure stories, so I tell myself happy ones most of the time.

What I wonder is: how many of us know we are telling ourselves stories, and if we do know, are we choosing?

I liked the girl mechanic's story. Do you like yours? If you don’t, sit down and tell (and listen to) another one. And those shoes. I wonder if I can find them in my size.

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