August 7

The Backstory Initiative


The Backstory Initiative

By Deborah Johnson

August 7, 2022

backstory, backstory initiative, Chatter, Donald Miller, Earned Life, empathy, Ethan Kross, forgiveness, Marshall Goldsmith, Michael Hudson, podcast, roundabout, self talk, Storybrand, trauma, victim

Backstory Initiative

Dr. Michael Hudson started his Backstory Initiative because he had unresolved trauma in his past. This not only included abuse, but fear for his life. He decided to start sharing his story when he saw how others who were struggling could benefit from his experience. His mission became to interview 100 people and learn from the lessons they learned in their journey to build upon the principles he shares.

Michael had to get beyond his own fear, not only of speaking out about his experience, but of possible rejection. This wasn’t about a pity party. He had to be brave enough to step out beyond his hesitancy and resistance. His story of getting beyond his past doesn’t just apply to those who have experienced abuse and trauma. The principles he gained and subsequently shares are universal.

No matter your situation or background, you may be feeling stuck, circling endlessly. The three main principles we share here may help you get beyond your fear to unlock the freedom for your future, especially if you have trauma in your past. Those three principles are: Doing the work, unlocking the lessons and moving on.

Women at Halftime by Deborah Johnson The Backstory Initiative with Michael Hudson 9-6-22
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Doing the Work

There is no getting around doing the work it takes to uncover your history, with or without trauma. Many try to discount their story, as it may seem uninteresting, revengeful or even bring up details that have been shoved away in the back corners of a memory. However, your story matters not only to you but to others. There is freedom in acceptance of the past and doing the work to get beyond it. There are lessons to be learned and mindsets to face. Doing the work opens the door for your future.

The unfortunate truth is that there are those who wait until they are on their deathbed to finally reach out to tell a family member or others, I love you or I forgive you. One phrase can release a lifetime of bitterness, anger and resentment. But it takes work and initiative.

I speak often of journaling and taking the time to reflect. Writing down a thought, even if it’s ugly and difficult, helps to pinpoint the feeling. Many times, that feeling frees up the process of healing. The stories within the Backstory Initiative will be of those who have gotten beyond their fear to tell their stories with lessons that can now be passed along to others.

Unlocking the Lessons

Hidden stories shoved deep down and repressed, sometimes for many years, can be extremely painful to accept. Listening to others’ stories usually helps you share and accept your own. Unless you can release your own story fully to yourself first, you limit your freedom to move on. That story can stay repressed, festering to cause stress, medical and mental issues and even build in an imaginary scope of impenetrable obstacles.

Hudson is not a therapist but a former college instructor and coach. However, he knows the power of telling stories is universal. Most anyone can learn something from others as they share their journey. This works in reverse as well for you never know what someone else can learn from your story.

Moving On

Find Inspiration

After doing the work, journaling and learning from others, at some point you have to be willing to move on. Victims attract other victims and if you find yourself in the victim cycle, victimology becomes a never-ending circle of trauma-telling, pity and feeling trapped. Surrounding yourself with those who are positive and taking steps for growth and learning will not only add encouragement to your life, but help you move toward your goal more quickly. I talk about defining your close circle of relationships in the book Women at Halftime.

There are many things we cannot control, but what we can control is our mindset, the initiative to learn from others, then the application to move forward in our lives. Michael had attended one of  Donald Miller’s events, author of Building a Storybrand. I’m going to simplify and expand on one of the processes that helped him. Taking a sheet of paper, draw a line down the center of the paper, top to bottom, landscape layout. Then, draw a line across the middle so you have a large cross.

On the left side, write the date you were born, then the current date at the right. Now divide the sheet horizontally into six sections of your life so far. Write a negative event that happened in each of those sections below the line and above, the positive lesson(s) you learned. This exercise may help you define and even move beyond events in your past that you may have pushed aside.

Your Story Matters

As you work through your life, you may not only be helping yourself, but your experience could also really help someone else. The book Chatter by acclaimed psychologist Ethan Kross talks about the hidden power of our inner voices. The conversation we have with ourselves could be the most important conversation we have each day.

You may never know the number of people impacted from by your story. The Earned Life by Marshall Goldsmith speaks of living the earned life, unbound by regret. Accepting and moving on from your past will help you see with greater definition the purpose and possibilities for your future.

Just for fun, watch our video Victim Mentality - in Six Easy Steps!

- about michael hudson

Michael Hudson is the founder of The Backstory Initiative — a project aimed at helping people unlock the lessons they have earned from their life's journey. Michael is a former college professor, turned speaker, consultant, and coach. When he's not helping people he can be found in his backyard BBQ pavilion creating meals for family and friends. You can contact him here on his LinkedIn Page.

There is no getting around doing the work it takes to uncover your history, with or without trauma.

deborah johnson

Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author

If you are interested in growing and learning, check out our online courses here: Online Learning

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Deborah Johnson

About the author

DEBORAH JOHNSON, M.A., creator of Hero Mountain® and former president of Los Angeles National Speakers Association, is an international award-winning music artist, author, speaker and National Media Commentator. She also hosts the popular podcast "Women at Halftime." Deborah provides tools to create your ideal lifestyle and work at mid-career or during the halftime of life, getting unstuck. You can live your second half fulfilled, focused and free! Up for multiple GRAMMY Awards and spending over 20 years in the entertainment industry, she's an expert on how to constantly reinvent yourself in a gig-economy. She is also the recipient of the Women's Economic Forum Exceptional Women of Excellence Award. Deborah is the author of multiple books, over twenty albums and musicals and speaks and performs in both live and virtual events.

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