For sale: Baby shoes, never worn…

A few weeks ago, I got invited by the Apeejay Institute of Mass Communication, to be the chief guest at an international film festival called “we care” on the issues of disability. I nearly ducked the invitation. Let me tell you why.

First, there was the fear of misspeaking. “What do I know about disability”, “Am I qualified to speak on a subject that I don’t have any depth on?” I then started evaluating what I would get out of it. Thinking about it selfishly. These were some barriers that came up immediately. Then another voice said, “Be grateful for the invitation and the opportunity to learn…”

My mantra for navigating this new world we find ourselves in has been “I don’t know, but I will find out.” I needed to practice what I was preaching. So, I said yes and in retrospect, I’m so glad I did. It opened my eyes, ears, and mind to a whole lot of newness. What did I learn? Three things.

Our beliefs create our reality. (The butterfly circus) a short movie I got to see at the film festival that is the story capturing the journey of the ‘freak in a side show’ to the ‘fearless hero’ who is the star attraction. It was a journey of self-discovery catalysed by the circus owner who looked beyond the self-limiting beliefs of the protagonist and helped him see his true abilities.

The power of storytelling. My belief that I don’t know enough nearly stopped me from accepting the invitation. The minute I stopped thinking like that, possibilities emerged. I realised I may not know much about the differently-abled but I do know a little something about storytelling. And this festival was a celebration of both worlds. So, I went in search of a story to share which the group and I found a powerful one written by Ernest Hemingway. Let me share it with you. “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” (A six-word story that’s labelled the worlds shortest novel)

The importance of focusing on the positive. As a life and leadership coach, this is one of the key tenants we are taught. “The client knows best”. “Focus on what’s positive and what’s working”. Helping people see their wholeness, their greatness, and all that is good in their life is a part of the journey. The film festival and all the beautiful art was a reminder to me that in all walks of life it’s so important to focus on what’s working. Build on that. As the butterfly circus so beautifully illustrated, our beliefs create our reality. Sometimes it takes another to help me break down some of the beliefs that are stopping me from growing and becoming the butterfly.

I was also reminded that part of the magic of good storytelling lies in their ability to release oxytocin. Stories help us feel better, they can build empathy and trust. Stories also inspire us to be better and do better. Stories help us to get in touch with our feelings and our abilities and use them to navigate this wonderful world.

I remember that I can choose to focus on my strengths and abilities. To tell me stories that make me stronger. This is the power I hold. My belief system creates who I am and helps me decide where to focus my energies. In doing that my ability to be my best self to make the world a better place emerges. The butterfly effect is set in motion.

Read a good story. Tell a good story. Create the butterfly effect. Go on flap your wings.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Nikhil Dey
Nikhil Dey is Executive Director, Adfactors PR.

A trusted coaching and communications professional, Nikhil Dey is a certified life and leadership coach (International Coach Federation - ICF). Nurturing talent and helping clients achieve their goals is what makes him happy. He loves learning from students of communication, teaching courses and guest lecturing at various educational institutions. When he is not working you will find him on the tennis court or out for long walks with his family and four legged friends.

Previously he has held senior leadership positions at Weber Shandwick and Genesis BCW.

He can be reached on twitter @deydreaming

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