The Surgical Tools Looked Bright and Scary . . .

, | Colin Dawson

I imagined that the doctor really enjoyed this.

His face had lit up when he discovered the lump on my shoulder blade the previous week.

“We’ll cut it out” he said.

The days leading up to the surgery were stressful.  Was it cancer?

The day came, I couldn’t see what they were doing, only imagined the scalpel cutting into my flesh.

Very soon it was all over.  The lump was gone.  The problem solved.

I should have felt relieved.  But the stress was still there.

So, I remind myself that life’s not a race.  I’ll heal at my own pace.

A way to shape your personal narrative

In today’s online world, readers are in a hurry.

There’s an endless number of social media updates and blog posts to read or scan.

Who has time for a long story?

To engage our learners, it’s often wise to keep our stories short.  But we know too much.  We remember every single detail of our experience.  What happened.  What we saw.  What we heard.  How we felt.

So, how do you choose what to include and what to leave out?

You can shape and shorten your story in three ways.

  1. Focus on one transformation
  2. Jump straight into the drama
  3. Choose details with care.

Focus on one transformation:

I think my story is about poor communication.  The doctor did not tell me what was going on.  No explanation.

I wanted to explain this doctor’s imaginary transformation:

How a more respectful manner would have reduced my stress (fear of the scalpel) and help me stay connected to my body.

But I realised the real story was the story I was ashamed to tell. The story of my fragility.  The story of not knowing what the lump was.  The story of struggling to heal, of not knowing what had gone on where I couldn’t see.

And how the doctor’s communication could have helped destress the whole operation.

His positive assurances could have made the whole process easier for me.

Next week we’ll look at jumping into the drama and choose details with care.

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