I am passionate about story, and what I call the power of “me too”—there is healing both in sharing and in having someone connect to your experience; in them saying “Yes, me too.” I believe that when we share our stories, we heal ourselves, we build empathy, and we connect as community. And I have worked for many years to not only share my stories, but to help other women share theirs, too.
As a mentor for WriteGirl, a creative writing and mentoring program in Los Angeles, I share stories every week with my talented, creative mentee. As a copywriter for women entrepreneurs, I have worked with hundreds of smart, ambitious women. And as a daughter and a sister and a friend, I have shared coffee dates and “Girls’ Nights” and deep conversations with women of all ages. And every single one of us still struggles with the stories we tell ourselves that often boil down to: I’m not smart enough. I’m not good enough. I’m just not enough.
We all tell them. But I know these stories aren’t true—and after hearing this refrain from all of the women (and many men) in my life, I want to help them rewrite those stories. I want to share how I did it—and continue to do it every day—and I want to show them how they can, too.
“A true storyteller, Jenna’s talk at TEDxPasadenaWomen blew us away. Her story was vulnerable, engaging, poignant, relatable, and often funny, too! And she was incredible behind-the-scenes, too—meeting our deadlines, showing up to practice sessions, incorporating feedback, and responding immediately to every email. I so admired her prose and her poise while she was up on stage, and her professionalism and positivity throughout the entire process. It was an honor to get to know her and work alongside of her!” Heather Heimerl Brunold, Executive Director, TEDxPasadenaWomen
Because these are the stories that make meaning of our lives and make sense of our world. They are the scripts that run our lives, for better or for worse. But we have the power to rewrite our stories—to control our internal narratives and direct the course of our lives.
I realize now that storytelling isn’t just about connection, stories are not just about the communion that comes from “me too!” – though that’s important, too.
They’re also about me . . . and you, and women everywhere who can only step into their power and begin changing the world once they start telling themselves the right story, the true story—the story that they can change the world.
In October 2016, I had the honor to speak about exactly this at TEDxPasadenaWomen. You can watch my talk, Change Your Story, Change Your Life, below.
I am available to speak to audiences, large and small (and everywhere in between) on the power of story and re-writing the negative stories we tell ourselves to transform our lives.
Jenna Arak is a soulful storyteller, who loves personal and professional tales with heart and truth. Her mission is to encourage women to follow their dreams; build upon their strengths; encourage deeper connections; and bring new, interesting, and innovative ideas into the world through storytelling.
She shows women how to use the written word to share their story: to teach, to connect, to have an impact on the people who need to read about who they are, what they’ve done, and what they do—because through reading one another’s stories, all of our lives will be changed for the better.
Jenna is also a storytelling teacher, a proud mentor with WriteGirl, and a denizen of any bookstore’s self-help section. Her writing has been featured on Salon, Thought Catalog, The Everygirl, The Muse, Darling Magazine, The Girl Who Knows, Career Contessa, and more. She lives and writes in Pasadena.