Last week, a wedding inspired the question of whether and how your "inner" and "outer" stories differ, and what life would be like if you could somehow achieve total alignment between the two.
Your OUTER story is anything you say out loud to others as an answer to the implied question, "what's your story?"
Examples include your bio, résumé, "what do you do?" answer, "about" section, elevator pitch, investor pitch, content strategy, brand identity, marketing campaign, etc.
Many people who seek help with their "story" are looking to develop part of their outer story: they want to learn how to articulate who they are and what they're doing in a way that makes their target audience smack themselves on the forehead and exclaim, "I've been WAITING for someone like you!"
Here is the truth: You can develop the most polished outer story in the world, and your audience might buy it for a while. But if your external story is out of alignment with the one you are living internally, it won't take long before this weak or non-existent foundation starts to make your words ring false, and your story fall flat.
Your INNER story is everything that remains once the mask comes off.
It contains your secret thoughts, beliefs, ambitions, hopes, dreams, doubts, feelings, fears, blind spots, biases, and the intentions you have for your one wild and precious life.
It consists of all the things you tell yourself on repeat about what's true for you, what's possible in life, what purpose you're serving, and whether or not you're living up to your human contract.
It includes the voice of your inner critic and that of your inner coach, as well as all the nuggets of wisdom and patterns of fear you unconsciously absorbed as a young and impressionable person growing up in a confusing world, when you looked to the equally confused adults around you for insight and guidance.
Here's the thing: your inner story is what ultimately determines whether or not you end up living the life of your dreams.
While your outer story is what alerts those around you to the kind of game you're playing, your inner story is what determines the rules of play that govern every aspect of your life; from business, to family and relationships, to your own definitions of wealth, success, meaning and happiness.
Lots of people are walking around with an inner story that directly sabotages the outer story they're trying to sell to others. In fact it's possible to spend your whole life this way without even realizing it, as many people have done and will continue to do.
But once you get your inner story to support and amplify the outer one, that's when things really start to take off. You'll start attracting the right people, resources and opportunities to move forward with creating your highest contribution and living your ideal life.
You can feel when someone is coming from a place of total alignment; their energy is alive and uplifting, their enthusiasm is palpable and contagious, and they can't help but be visibly engaged in their own story and that of those around them.
It is pure joy to talk to a person like this, because on some level we can sense that they are living their truth on all levels. Their deep conviction and transparency naturally resonates with and moves others to greater levels of trust and collaboration. They have a level of self-awareness that is authentic and humbling to behold. These are the people who inspire us to dig deeper and find that alignment within ourselves.
If you're not already operating from this place, you probably know it all too well. You can feel the disconnect, and you may fear (correctly) that others can too.
But take heart! The good news is that both your inner and outer stories are yours to write and re-write as many times as it suits you. The world we live in, this thing we call "reality," is much more malleable than it appears.
Next week, we'll go a little deeper down this incredibly spacious rabbit hole.
For now, I invite you to reflect on this question in the comments below:
Have you ever encountered someone who seemed to come from a place of total alignment? What did you notice about them? How did they make you feel?