The Greatest Story You’ll Ever Tell

BY NANCY HALA

What does it take to rewrite your story? To change not who you are, but who you could be? How do you sharpen your pencil and write the first line of the rest of your life, that unwritten page of your future? What is the greatest story you’ll ever tell?

It’s the one about your biggest dream.

When I moved to Los Angeles from Chicago two years ago, after launching my kids to college and beyond, I wanted to find out what it would look like to make the rest of my dreams come true. I sold my four-bedroom house, purged half of my belongings, and made the trek across the country to a condo by the beach. I moved for a new job, the VP of brand strategy at an advertising agency in Santa Monica. But that’s not the only reason, or even the main reason, that I said goodbye to the city I called home for 25 years for a place I had only visited a handful of times. Why, at 51 years old, did I disrupt everything I had built for the unknown? The easy answer is to say I wanted a change, but the bigger-dream answer is that I wanted a chance.

A chance to tell a completely new story about myself.

At the agency, I had a cool little office overlooking the Santa Monica airport where I watched small planes take off and land all day. I lit candles, made herbal tea, and propped my Jimmy Choo biker boots up on my couch as I wrote brand campaigns on my laptop. I felt very different from that working-mom person I was in the Midwest, but that feeling didn’t last. Pretty soon I was looking around for something even better, or more. I couldn’t quite grasp it. And that’s because here’s the thing about telling your new story: You have to start from the inside out. When I moved to this land of dreamy dreams I expected to be swept up in some kind of creative vortex, some force that would change everything. Now I know that first I had to dream my blue-sky dream and tell myself the story of my own transformation. The story about turning everything inside out. Pulling apart old habits. Walking away from worn-out beliefs. Saying goodbye to people who don’t see me the way I want to be seen.

I’ve since learned that the first step to telling your transformational story is to do a little bit of DreamStorming. Start thinking about the things you want in your life, whatever they might be—a new job, a healthier body, more love, inspiration, passion, adventure—and then dream up the most audacious version of those things. Really swing for the fences. Take the lid off. Imagine your life with no restraints.

My cofounder and I used this practical magic when we conjured our startup, STORY. We asked ourselves, what did we want in a company? After years of running organizations and teams for others, what did the company of our dreams look like?

So we DreamStormed it. After many sessions, we landed on this: We wanted to do what we love (telling stories); we wanted to work with people we enjoy (positive, uplifting, funny, smart); and we wanted to work anytime and anywhere we chose (that’s freedom, my friends). That was our STORY dream. That’s what we decided would make us happy, which was our only real goal.

DreamStorming is learning how to catch the wave of vibrational energy—asking yourself what feels good, what feels right, what excites and thrills you—and then riding that wave to the shore. It’s realizing that the more you tell the story of your biggest dreams, the more that story starts to unfold right before your eyes.

I think telling the greatest story you’ve ever told is the most important thing you’ll ever do. And you’ll do it over and over and over again, because as your story is told, it’s going to change you, and everything around you.

It’s a huge scary risk.

It’s a big dream.

And to make it happen you have to dream big.

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NANCY HALA

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