One of the essential elements of the Community starter study is the exercise of having everyone share their life story.  However, for some, if not many in your group, this can be daunting, scary, unknown territory.  Below are a number of tips and additional helps in walking you/them through this.

1. Do it!

You may be inclined to skip this exercise, but don’t!!  Push through whatever reservation you/they may have.  It will be worth it, I promise!

2. Don’t rush into it.

If your group is still open and you’re actively trying to add more participants to the group, don’t start the stories yet.  It’s very important that everyone is present for the stories.   If that means delaying the start of the story sharing, that’s okay.  We can give you some suggestions on what to do in the meantime while you continue to fill out the group.  Maybe your group is full, but already know one or more members won’t be present during some of the weeks you’ll be doing stories–plan not to share stories those weeks.  Again, it’s crucial that everyone is present both to share and to hear other’s stories.  Emphasize the importance of having everyone present.

3. Go first and model transparency.

The members of your group will probably only be as open and transparent when they tell their stories as you are when you tell yours. You’re going to set the standard.  Read Telling Your Story: Go There.  Then, use the Life Map Exercise to help you formulate what to share.

To better understand the importance and process of sharing stories within the group, check out these quick reads from PV group leaders and others:

Transparent Leadership: The Power of Sharing Stories Pt.1

Transparent Leadership: The Power of Sharing Stories Pt.2

Experience Speaks: How Sharing Stories Changed Our Group! 

What’s Your Story?

Using the Power of Story to Build Community