Your Story as a Portal to Personal Power


Purpose is power. Knowing what you’re meant to do and who you’re meant to become is powerful. You move through life with more confidence and certainty when you know each step has greater meaning. And if you’re anything like me, then you may have felt disconnected from your purpose recently, or maybe you’re still on the journey to find it. How do you find your purpose? Is it possible that you’ve always known, and the hints are in your story? 

by Kendra Williams

Tradition of Storytelling

Storytelling is an ancient tradition of many cultures around the globe. In Africa, whole villages have gathered to listen to storytellers share history, spiritual lessons, beliefs, and values, often accompanied by music and dancing. Stories of their ancestors, heroes, and gods are passed down to children around a roaring fire. Oceans away, a testimonio, or “witness account” in Spanish, refers to a narrative research approach with roots in Latin American history as a result of social and political unrest in the 1950s. First-person accounts of someone who experienced oppression or marginalization help to frame the narrative of historical events. In narrative practice, it’s through sharing personal stories with others that one is able to process and reframe the negative thoughts and beliefs developed over time to positive ones. 

What if the same power, harnessed by generations before, is also available to you now?

Share Your Past

At the height of the pandemic, I felt lost in my career, my relationships, and even in my body. That’s why I took time to be alone and reconnected with things I used to love when I was younger – reading, music, and art. I began to remember how I felt all those years ago, doing what I loved, and memories came flooding back.

I loved telling stories through songs I’d written, pictures I’d drawn, and poems I’d written. I began to share parts of my story with people around me, and they filled gaps I couldn’t recall. Inevitably, I hit painful moments from my past as my story took form. In therapy, I found myself uncovering emotion that I’d been carrying from events in my formative years, and how they impact me today. Through sharing my past, I was able to separate myself from my experiences, understand them more objectively, and forgive myself for the mistakes I’d made.

Accept Your Present

Knowing my past helped me understand who I am right now and why. How I dealt with painful moments became patterns I carried with me well into adulthood. Some still serve me to this day, while I’ve been unlearning the others that held me back. One practice that I find beneficial is journaling. In The Artist’s Way, author Julia Cameron recommends writing three pages in the morning soon after waking every day. She encourages readers (artists or not) to write whatever comes to their minds, without judgment or concern for structure, grammar, spelling, or other “rules.” I’m not perfect about completing my pages every single day, but I can still attest to their power in my life. Pouring my thoughts into writing led me to identify behaviors and decisions necessary for Little Kendra, but not the Kendra I am today.

It’s also through the honesty that I’ve had in those pages that I learned my purpose – sharing my story, creating space for others to do the same, and supporting collective healing in my community. Thus, Black & Brown In The Middle was born.

Write Your Future

As you learn more about who you are today, the more open possibilities for the future become to you. Imagining who you will be tomorrow is more accessible, and the confidence in yourself to get there gets stronger. I regularly take out my journal and check in with myself by asking,“how do I want to feel one year, 5 years, 10 years from now?” The one answer I have across the board is that I want to continue healing and helping others to do the same. Storytelling means so much to me as a vehicle for healing and finding my purpose.

I’ve found a path that will bring it all together in my career. Last year, I founded Black & Brown In The Middle, a media production company that features experiences of everyday Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. We’re producing a documentary series in which they’ll tell their stories on their own terms.

This is the future I’m writing for myself. I sit down with my pen, and I describe what my life will look like. It brings clarity, helping me focus and protect myself from distractions that don’t align with this purpose.

Your story is your legacy, your unique purpose, and the source of your personal power. You develop the narrative of your life, drawing from the past and imagining your future. So, what will be the story history tells about you? You decide, so I invite you to get your pen and get to writing!

About the author

Kendra is a storyteller & founder of a production company that supports healing and self-discovery through storytelling.


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