Everyone has a story. That is a line straight from my college lectures, my courses on interviewing and in my outplacement coaching practice. It is important how you tell your story, the effectiveness in how you communicate your value, that counts.
I always thought that I really understood the concept of peoples’ stories until I visited the 9/11 Museum and Memorial in lower Manhattan last Thursday. Inside this amazing place there is a dark, square room, a contemplative space created to honor and hear the histories of the 2,983 victims killed in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and Feb 26, 1993. In this dark square room, photos and audio tell their stories. For me it was stunning. As I sat and listened to the narrator and family members and friends share insights and anecdotes about loved ones, I was profoundly struck at how important our stories are and how quickly our lives can change. This room and the stories it holds will stay with me for the rest of my life.
As you move down into what was the basement of the World Trade Center, visitors are confronted with a 60-foot long inscription, with 15-inch letters made of steel from the twin towers. The quote, from Book Nine of The Aeneid by the Roman poet Virgil, is a fitting memorial:
“No day shall erase you from the memory of time.”
We should lead our lives with that sentiment in mind. What we do, say and how we treat our family, friends and team members can have a lasting effect. If you left for work one day never to return, how would you be remembered? What value would your story communicate?
© 2021 John Gregory Self