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I stand on the sidewalk in front of my house, chat with Sylvie, my gardener from Quebec. Sylvie tells me of the life challenges her teenage grand-daughter Jordana is facing. Sylvie ends with a sigh.

There’s a story behind every door, she says. Another sigh.

The slogan in the television ad for ancestry.com, the discover-your-roots website: Discover your story.

My friend Tom Asacker, branding advisor and best-selling author, affirms that we all become the stories we tell ourselves.

In Georgia, my neighbor Steve Kavanaugh explains, we say why tell the truth when a lie would be just as good.

These are the outposts in the landscape of personal connection. Connection to ourselves. Connection to others. The stories we tell ourselves frequently limit how we experience others. How we view ourselves. They can also, when shared, become the conduit to richer connections.

Every leader I have coached so far this year has on her or his personal-goal-list the desire to better connect with their team.

Thanks to the writings of Brené Brown, we consider vulnerability and imperfection an asset rather than a liability.

Yes, we all become the stories we tell ourselves. The stories we tell ourselves become the stories we tell others. In words. In action.

When we don’t tell our stories, our relationships run the danger of becoming purely transactional. We become uninspired. We become un-inspirational. We become invisible.

We do not connect where it matters most – and that is, in the end, always the heart.

You want to inspire colleagues and friends? Take a risk. Start telling a story or two. The ones you don’t normally tell.

What is the story behind your door? Tell it. And know when to listen to another’s story. Because that is when we connect.

In the US we celebrate Labor Day next week-end. A day to do nothing.  A day to – YES – shamelessly tell stories. Labor Day also signals the end of summer and the slide into fall season. For me, always a new beginning.

Why not fall into fall with a new story or two? The stories you haven’t told. The stories you have yet to consider.

Consider them. Tell them. 

They will become your fall.