“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you” – Maya Angelou 

Everyone has a story. Most people feel it’s not special. They’ve never seen the Loch Ness monster, won Wimbledon, or competed at the Olympics. So, what value do stories have?   

When packing up for our upcoming house move, I discovered an old Jimmy Connors Wilson steel tennis racket I bought 45 years ago. According to eBay, these racquets are fetching around £250 if in good condition. Just imagine if it had been owned or used by Jimmy Connors? What would it be worth then? The importance of connection to a story or previous owners adds value. Here are some staggering examples of how a story can dramatically affect what others will pay to own such items.  

Michael Jackson’s Thriller video features him wearing a red and black leather jacket. You can buy these same jackets hand made in Italy for £225. However, if you wanted the original garment worn by Michael Jackson you would have to pay $1.5m, as someone did at auction. Why? It came with a story attached. 

Paul Newman, actor, philanthropist and racing driver, liked and collected watches; Rolex Cosmographs which became known as Rolex Daytonas. You can buy a new Rolex Cosmograph Daytona for around £40,000. One of Paul Newman’s Daytona chronographs was sold for $5.475m. Another watch, which he left to his daughter’s boyfriend James Cox fetched $17.8m at a charity auction in October 2017. It has been described as the most iconic Rolex you could ever imagine. It was bought for Paul Newman by his wife Joanne Woodward in the late 60’s and she had “Drive Carefully Me” inscribed on the back. The huge premium is not for the watch, it was for the story behind it and the players involved. 

Stories bring an emotional premium to any item. I enjoy watching The Repair Shop where items of any kind, age, repair, and size can be brought in to be put back into working order. The first question asked is, “What’s the story behind the clock, model steam engine, teddy bear… whatever”. As people come back to collect their items you see them relive key moments with others who have often past on. It gets incredibly emotional for many. It’s so much more than the return of a repaired item, it’s the connection to cherished memories it brings back.  

When we meet our clients for the first time, we get to hear their story. We don’t just gather information, we have the privilege of uncovering their values, purpose, experiences, and hopes for the future. We get to have the honour of participating and helping plan the provision that will ensure future chapters are written. We embed the family DNA at the heart of our thinking, design, and construction of the family plan. 

We sometimes refer to the plan as a mirror. If we’ve done our job well, clients should recognise themselves as they look at the plan. They should see it as personal, reflecting their experiences, their purpose, and ambition to provide for their family. We look forward to our regular reviews as we get an insight into the still unfolding story.  

To watch as someone progresses toward their goal and purpose in life is one of the most rewarding experiences anyone can have. Everyone has a story. We are more than simply faces in the crowd. Everyone has something of value to share, even if they are the last ones to realise it.  

“Not everyone will make sense of your journey. That’s fine. It’s not their journey to make sense of. It’s yours.” – Zero Dean