The Backstory

We all love a good story. What is your backstory?

I was working with my co-author David yesterday on the book we’re writing about co-active leadership. It’s getting fun now as the book is really getting a strong shape and structure to it and the skeleton is nearly done. Because this book is an amalgam of fiction and non-fiction we have to flesh it out with fully drawn characters and engaging plot in addition to making sure our points and theories are being developed fully. Yesterday we started exploring the backstory on our characters. Where did they come from, what they did, and who they were in connection with prior to their arrival in the story. What brought these people to this point in time where this story is unfolding. The bones of our story are solid with what happens to them once in our story but how much richness shows up when we bring in where they came from. As we do this the reader starts to care about them and either identify with them or find them a curious and engaging human being that they want to know more about. The book then becomes a vortex into which all these stories arrive and swirl together and then get bumped out the other end into new stories all together.

Isn’t that what transformation is all about?

We go through our lives developing our story, our beliefs, our emotional truths, our philosophies, our justifications and compensations for why we are the way we are. We reach a point in that story where our eyes open a bit and we see that much of our story no longer works for us and we start scrambling around “trying” to make it work, because this is our story after all. Many of us then create a new story all about “trying”. Others of us create stories about giving up, or hiding out, or pushing and forcing the world to change in some way to support this story that no longer works for us. At some point some of us, who knows maybe many of us, reach a point where we are exposed to ourselves completely and know that this story must change, this story is so filled with limiting beliefs and suppressing structures, with ancient horrors and terrors that are still determining the plot of our story.

At that point a transformation is needed, a metamorphosis, a jump from one story to another, an inclusion or healing of the old story and the magical manifestation of the new one. This transformation can be an all at once experience that forever changes the hero or the heroines life story or it can be a series of mini transformations over a period of time with each mini transformation feeling, at the time, like stepping into an entirely different world.

The backstories are what engages us, the reader or the audience, the struggles, the limiting beliefs, the dark times and the pain of the hero pulls us into the story. Once we are in the story we stay to see how the hero or heroine transforms and evolves from those places to where the bigger story is taking them. We need to know our own backstories and be entertained by them with out believing them. We need to remember that they are stories, they are perspectives and the stories can always be either rewritten or they can move in new and surprising ways.

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2 responses to “The Backstory

  1. Pingback: The Backstory : Coaches Training Institute : Transforum

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