One of my goals for the new year was to add storytelling to my portfolio. I made progress by hosting a nurse storytelling night in March, and standing on stage to introduce the night, as well as tell my own story about the summer I worked as a nurse aide. I applied to tell a story on stage at the local arts festival, and was approved. I also sent an abstract to a Storytelling in Healthcare conference, and that got accepted as well. I’ve learned that once you set the intention, then take one ounce of action, the momentum continues almost without your effort.
But I was only able to do it because I’d been telling stories from one area of my life for over a year.
I had been telling the story of paying off my student loan debt. One year, I set the intention to pay off all $47,554 of it in as little time as possible. I had no idea how I was going to do it, but I did know I wanted to document my journey on a website. I wanted to tell my story in real time. And, once I started telling my story, readers started responding.
I’d been a reader of debt stories for years. I’m not sure why I was surprised. The stories people told about paying off their debt were important to me. They mattered. When I started telling my story, it seemed to matter to others, almost as much as it mattered to me.
Before I started telling my own debt story, I must have read hundreds. Each story gave me clues, they gave me direction, on how to craft my own story. I don’t mean “craft” in the sense of “how to write it.” I mean “craft” in the sense of “how to live it.”
I learned how to be financially healthy from reading stories of financial health.
Even better, by sharing my story, I developed a support system that helped me to get financially healthy, and to stay that way.
At the Stortelling in Healthcare conference, everyone was talking about how much stories matter. Patient stories matter. Doctor stories matter. Nurse stories matter. I found myself nodding in agreement constantly. Yes, yes, stories matter. Stories of health and healthcare matter. Because our whole health matters.
Our financial health is one piece of that pie.
The more we tell the stories of our financial health, and our journey to get healthy, and stay healthy, the more we can help heal others. We provide clues with our stories. We provide direction.
Our stories can heal us. It is one incredible reason why they matter. Yes, yes, stories can heal. Sharing them. Listening to them. But we have to be brave enough to tell them. We have to be brave enough to hear them.
We must tell our stories. We must listen to the stories of others. Our finances depend on it. Our whole health depends on it.