When I Googled “tell your story,” I got 166 million search results.  It seems the world is hungry for stories…your story.  Ears are everywhere, waiting to hear, it seems.

Of course there are all the ones who want to teach you how to tell your story and others who want to tell you why you should, especially if you are a business.  And there are the other ones as well.

Every kind of organization – for-profit and not, religious and not, beneficial and (perhaps) not — are listed in the search.

  • There are support groups who collect stories to show other people with similar issues and problems that they are not alone. Often they are working on using the anecdotes they collect to help you and fellow sufferers heal.
  • There are folks who collect stories as part of an effort to help preserve a culture or to build a consensual sense of history.
  • And then, of course, there are the folks who basically seem to be bent on listening their way into your wallet.

Telling your story is generally agreed to be a good thing.


Sometimes telling your story helps to ground you and helps to start your healing.

This YouTube video by spoken-word poet Jon Jorgenson is called “Tell Your Story.”  In it, Jorgenson tells what happened when he opened up before a group of interested, well-intentioned Christians.


Sometimes telling your story becomes an exploration and an uncovering of a passion that sustains you and connects you to the world.

In this 2012 TEDx talk given at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, “Maka Maoli:  Storytelling On a Screen Beyond Stereotypes,” independent filmmaker and hula dancer Lisette Flanary tells how she began creating her award-winning documentary films that celebrate a modern renaissance of the hula and Hawaiian culture.  It helped her to re-connect with her roots.


Sometimes you can use your stories and ideas to make something new that resonates with the world.  In this YouTube video, filmmaker Zach King recounts how he began his YouTube channel FinalCutKing after his application to film school was rejected.

He posted video editing tutorials on the thing and more than 400,000 subscribers tuned in to his channel.  Even after he was accepted into film school, King continued playing and exploring his video-making habits.

In 2013 King launched a Vine account that attracted an audience of nearly a million fans in a remarkably short time.

King points out that he did all this with just a computer and a digital camera, assorted everyday props (including pets and stray people) as well as a cadre of computer geek collaborator-friends.

While he had to give up his fantasy of directing a major blockbuster and collaborating with Steven Spielberg, he was also able to bypass the estimated twelve-plus years of industrial dues-paying and the incessant fundraising that’s an inevitable part of producing “real” films.

In this YouTube video of a TEDxPortland talk, The Storyteller In All of Us, he tells his tale.

He does look like he’s having a good time….


My own favorite share-a-story place is The Moth, an organization whose mission is “to promote the art and craft of storytelling and to honor and celebrate the diversity and commonality of human experience.”

Each Moth show is built around a theme, some aspect of the human experience.  Every Moth storyteller tells a true story live, in front of standing-room-only crowds with no notes.

Since its inception in 1997, the group has become international.  In more than 25 cities around the world, The Moth currently produces more than 500 live shows each year.  Through their Education and Community outreach programs they conduct workshops to teach high school kids and adults how to tell their stories.

The Moth podcasts are downloaded over 30 million times a year and each week the Moth Radio Hour is heard on 400 radio stations worldwide.  This radio show won the Peabody Award which recognizes when the telling of “stories that matter” is done well in electronic media.

The Moth’s first book, THE MOTH:  50 True Stories was a New York Times bestseller in 2013.  There are others as well.


What if you’re not really ready to tell your own story?  What if it disturbs your sense of privacy?

Well, there’s always listening to the stories all of these other people are telling theirs.  That’s a lot of fun too and, as a bonus, you might even learn something….

Here’s a poem:


Come, come, come….

Come tell me your story.


I promise you:  I WILL listen.


I will listen for

the heartsong

that beats through

every halting word.


I will listen through

the heated flames of anger,

the coldest wind of bitterest gall,

the piquant and the sour words

falling from your mouth,

the salt of an alkali desert

pouring from your lips.


I will listen for the sweetness,

the soft notes of redemption

from the shining songbird that settles

in that gnarly old tree

growing in the wasteland of you.


I will listen until

you can hear your own story,

until you know you will endure,




Your story is very much

like my own, you know.


Thank you for sharing

By Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:  Tell Your Story stencil by Acid Midget via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]



(Click on each of the post titles below and see where it takes you…)


Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below.

22 thoughts on “TELL YOUR STORY…

  1. Hello Netta,
    I love this site and the tell your story page is great. I especially like the spoken-word guy who was telling his story. I am so into the art of spoken-word. I will, someday go to an open-mic night and share my story:)
    It is great the freedom of expression and the fact people can do that is great!!!! I have to get over my fear of letting people hear or read my words. For so long I have kept my writing to myself and hopefully one day I will have an e-book to share my life story!!!

  2. Hey Carol: It is a very hard thing to stand up in front of other people and just say your say. A good thing to do is to practice on pets (including stuffed animals), friends, and other beings of good will. If you can find (or start) a small group of friendlies, you might be able to get past the shakes better. You might start off just opening your mouth at meetings or something. Or maybe you might want to do a video thing?

    I used to freeze up every time I got in front of a crowd of more than three people. A friend of mine conned me into doing a reading of one of my poems and then she just harassed me while I waited for my turn to get up in front of a whole theater full of folks so I couldn’t start making catastrophe scenarios in my head. I wanted to kill her, but afterwards I was so proud that I’d done it. It got a heck of a lot easier after that.

    Thanks for your visit and your comments. Please do come again….

  3. Hi Netta, beautiful site.Really inspiring.
    How long have you been working on your site for?
    I really connected with the Walk Your Talk post. There is so much great content here. The videos are great too.
    What does wealth mean to me is another great post. Wishing you all the best….

    1. Hey Luke:

      Thanks for the visit. I think I’ve been working on this site all my life! My poems and all the philosophical musings have been pretty much a regular thing for the past 19 years. I started doing Life-Built Poems (the site) in July of this year.

      Thanks for looking around. I’m glad you liked it. Please do come again….

  4. I guess hearing and reading about other people’s life story can somewhat be a source of inspiration to many. Especially hearing about people’s struggles and worries and how they overcome them.

    It’s cool how Zach King was able to develop a strong following online by actually teaching other people about film editing, eventhough he didn’t get into his dream film school. That’s just really inspiring for me.

    Thanks for the article!

    1. Thanks for your visit and your comment, Farhan. Please do come again.

  5. I like to write poetry because it helps me to tell my story. I came across your website while looking for something to inspire me. So I could tell the readers what my desires be.

    At first glance, it appeared to come off as a little boring to see. I’m a fair kind of person I hope you’ll agree because I had to one do a thing before I could leave.

    Nette, you tricked me into staying on your site, I believe. What a good location for a video feed, I watched it two, wait, make that three times before I could continue to read.

    Let me give you my scoop about the Hula video. It’s bright the way she handles the stereotype, created a film to show them. so they would know what’s wrong and wht’s right. She put the hoop in the poop and made the Hula a little cooler.

    Technology, if I spelled it wrong, my apology. I was checking my phone and watching tihs15 minute video feed, was it that long?

    You know what I found cool? The way he schooled us. Your camera, the phone, the Internet also, Oh, don’t forget about the computers.

    All this technology right at out finger tips, got us attached at the hips. They keep us engaging. What were the only two things King used? It sounded amazing.

    Is it Nette as in net like the kind that you cast? Or is it more like those fly nets. No. I’m sorry I take it all back, I got something better than that, you deserve much better respect.

    I think it great that God has made you Nette. This website is full of grace, piped in from up above and full of love. Nette, you’re full of faith, take a bow and celebrate. It’s getting late, gotta take a break.

    LeNard Simmons

    1. Hey LeNard…Thanks for your visit and for your comments. I am very pleased that you found the article engaging. Please do come again.

      My name’s Netta…with an ‘a’ at the end.

      1. Thanks for correcting me, I should have proofread that before I sending. see you later Netta.

  6. Hi Netta – I love your poem, it’s so beautiful. I’m an introvert, so I naturally have a really hard time telling my stories to people. However, I absolutely love listening to other people’s stories. I think it really helps you gain a better understanding of other people and the lives they have lived. You start to become more empathetic toward others, and at the same time become more grateful for everything in your own life.

    The hardest part of getting in front of others for me is the fear of being judged by them, and I have a hard time getting ride of those thoughts. I’m so much better at the written word and can tell my story easier by writing it.

    Your site is very inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hey Jen:

      The coolest thing about introverts is that, often, they can make the very best of listeners. Believe me, NOBODY complains about somebody who listens heartfully!

      For the meetings of our poet’s group in Makawao, I made a “talking stick” using a piece of driftwood and assorted doo-dads that served as metaphors for communication and connection. We pass around the stick from one speaker to the next as we do our rounds of poetry-reading.

      I told the group that the stick honored the power of the audience. It was a promise that we, the audience, would listen with respect to the speaker. It went over real big!

      It’s also helped a lot of people who were very shy about talking before a group stand up and read their own poetry. One person said the stick reminded her that she had our “permission” to do it. A cool thing!

      (Writing out your story counts too! I’m basically a loud introvert my own self and writing helped me get my mouth working better.)

      Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts. Please do come again….

  7. Telling a story provides you to connect whoever is telling his experience on what he ever accomplish or what journey he stumbles, maybe struggles on his way to do what he really wanted or her. This is an important factor while targeting an audience because they want to know who you are and why should I listen to you, you might be an inspiration after all.

    1. Hey Erick:

      Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  It is a truth:  Every time you tell anybody anything there is that reaction:  “Ummm…and who are YOU?”  Stories help bridge that divide.

      Please do come again.

  8. You’d be surprised how inspiring a story from just an average person can be. I know I’ve read a few, just in comments on things like social media posts and the like, that have really left me with a life-changing impression. I’m a big reader, so I’m always reading biographies of people I admire and such. I guess that’s probably why I unconsciously seek that sort of thing out whenever I’m talking with people or interacting online. I pretty much look everywhere for stories, whether it’s a Ted Talk, YouTube, Facebook, private websites, TV, etc… Stories are everywhere. And yes, poetry, too! Those are some of the best ones. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Mark.  I do appreciate it.  

      You are right…stories are everywhere.  All you need to do is notice.

      Please do come again.

  9. Pentrental says:

    The Moth sounds like a great place to share a story. It sounds as though there is a lot of impromptu involved as the speaker does not have access to any written material or notes, a la stand up comedy. This type of situation can call for the utmost creativity. I like that you have the ability to listen as well. This place intrigues me and I have bookmarked your post, thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I think one of the things about “impromptu” speaking that’s sort of overlooked is that the people who are good at it spend a heck of a lot of time rehearsing and trying to make their own stories as good and as entertaining as they can without turning the thing into a speech-in-a-can.  The good ones sure do make it look effortless.

      Listening is, as you say, an important part of story.  There’s no point to telling your story if nobody listens.

      Please do come again….

  10. Anastazja says:

    What a great article about a great concept.  

    I have been doing some blogging, but I have an idea for story telling that has been percolating for some time.  My problem is that I am not confident in terms of the technology needed to share on the internet.  I have no problem in front of a crowd, but the tech stuff gets to me.  

    I appreciate your article because it does let me know that what I am thinking is possible with a bit of patience and a lot of perseverance.  Thanks.

    1. Anastazja, thanks for your visit and for sharing your story.  I am pleased that the post helped to affirm your potentials and possibilities.  (My work is done!  Hee!)

      Please keep on reaching for the knowledge and skills you need to bring your stories to the rest of us.  We are waiting to hear you!

      Please do come again.

  11. There are certainly a lot of people who will tell you that you have to tell your story. Maybe not even your story, but they stress the importance at being good at storytelling to build the like, know and trust factor.  I have heard this from all of my business coaches and mentors and have become better at it.

    Telling my story has become more important to me over this last year, and a major reason why I started a new blog. I share my stories with hopes to inspire, motivate, or help others live an easy gluten-free lifestyle. It’s amazing how many people think this is impossible! Thanks for this inspiring post. 

    1. Keish, I am pleased you resonated with this post.  You and your mentors and coaches are right.  Telling your story helps you connect with other people in many good ways.

      Please do come again….

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