Last week I heard a brief, uplifting talk on the importance of being comfortable with your story and the power of sharing your story with others.  

Cyntha Pennington, Senior Vice President of The Change Companies, shared a snippet of her story at a behavioral health conference in California that was attended by four hundred professionals in the field of behavior change.

At the end of her presentation, Cyntha encouraged individuals in her audience to write the first sentence of a meaningful personal story. She gave them slips of lined paper and five minutes. She also offered $1,000 to one lucky storyteller.     

It was no surprise that Cyntha’s story moved many people to hand her the raw beginnings of their own personal story, like Lesleigh whose princess arrived, Georgia summoning her foremothers, Tom who learned the true meaning of love, Nadias the healer and Deborah with a joyful soul.

There could only be one winner, and that was Tekulve Jackson-Vann. Here’s the first sentence of his story:

 As I loaded my everything into the back of the neighbor’s truck, the storm began to roll in, reminding me of the cold, wintry Tuesday evening when, in the midst of another storm, my little Nathalie took her final breath, leaving me empty, alone, and searching for meaning to this storm I call “my life.”

I became so moved by this little exercise that I’m offering you the same opportunity. And I’m willing to throw in $1,000 to the winning participant. Email me the one-sentence start of a meaningful part of your story by Friday, November 6, at noon Pacific Time, and our editing staff will select a winner.

I’m an ardent supporter of journal writing. Putting down on paper the things that count in your life is great daily medicine. And if you’re willing to share it, it may provide a dose of joy and wisdom to others.

Come on. All I’m asking for is a single sentence.