I’ve been interviewing inspiring women leaders for my summer tele-summit called Women2Women2Girls, listening to their stories of change, challenge, and success. It’s remarkable to hear such clear themes, while the details are so very different. Every single woman not only has had passion, confidence and courage, but she exudes all three now.

One woman, who knows me through my work, asked “Are you telling your story?” because it’s a remarkable story.  Which stopped me. Who me? Well, of course, my story is one of passion, confidence, and courage. My reaction made me wonder if we tend to discount our own journey, it’s so familiar and maybe not so publishable. Yet, we’ve probably all met considerable challenges and success, no matter what age.

Stories not only give you information about a person, they give you a feeling for that person. Believe it or not, many people love to talk about themselves; and, if you are really interested, they will recognize it. Ask someone this week to tell you a little bit about where they grew up, went to school, and to what they attribute their success. Then really listen.

Whether you are building relationships, hope to be more influential, or are just plain interested in people, seeking and telling stories are a powerful practice.