The Box Was Empty

Advice Column

Think of an impactful event in your life.

What pithy title would you use to tease that story?

“She said yes.”

“I was brave.”

“The box was empty.”

Those are just a few answers I heard at a recent workshop where we did this exercise.

Sharing a story from your life, or hearing about an important moment in someone else’s, is a direct path to deeper connection. 

Try this process alone to reflect on your life, or do the exercise with your family or work team to grow closer. 

Step 1 – Brainstorm 

Reflect for three minutes, scribbling down words that represent anything and everything that is meaningful to you. Don’t censor yourself; just keep your pen moving. You don’t have to justify why a word popped into your head, just record it.

Step 2 – Expand

Take five minutes to choose a word on your list that resonates strongly with you. Then write down three very short (1 sentence) memories that relate to that word. Stories might begin with phrases like, “I remember when…”, “The time I…” or “The time someone…”.

Step 3 – Name it

Give yourself two minutes to circle one of the three memories you recorded and then choose a short title for that story.

If you are in a group, invite people to share the title of their stories and what they represent. Or as an ice-breaker, you can have guests place their phrases on their name tags and discuss them with one another as they mingle.

The tagline to my story is “He pushed in the cassette tape.” If you’d be willing, please reply and share yours because I’d love to hear it! 

You are living a beautiful life with POWERFUL stories. I hope you feel that! 


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