Hélène Clabecq

Founder at Lives / Disrupted

With an influx of stories constantly coming from every direction and ever-growing list of media outlets, we often hear the same stories over and over again. Newspapers, magazines, books, TV shows, blogs, social media platforms all start to look similar. Only certain memorable stories stick with you.

If you are a storyteller, this idea is nothing new. How do you make your story stand out? It is hard to find the unique angle. The untold stories are buried. How do you find them?

What is your background and what inspired you to create Lives / Disrupted? What is it about and what makes it unique?

I have a background in Marketing & Communication. Funny enough, I figured out what I wanted to communicate about when I moved to California. Strangers were approaching me on a daily basis, telling me about their lives, and their different ways of getting “unstuck” from unhappy situations to finally follow their passion.

Aside to that, I’d meet friends who would complain about their career, relationship or anything else they had committed to. I realized that sharing stories of transitions and turning points would help others to do the same.

You tell the untold stories. What is the process of collecting these stories like? How do you decide who to talk to and which stories to feature?

So far, I have been blessed as the stories always came to me. I think it is an energy attraction. I would sit in an Uber, stand in line at the bakery or wait for the bus, and strangers would approach me and literally open up.

Because I am fascinated by stories and people in general, no matter who they are or where they come from, I’d listen with genuine care and they would start telling me their deepest secrets that they had never shared with anyone, not even their closest friends or family. Listening without an ounce of judgment is empowering for people who have the courage of being vulnerable.

The only criteria for my stories is that the persons I’ll feature need to have had a breaking point in their life. I can tell whether they’ve had one, are on the edge of having one, or whether it’s too fresh for them to discuss and take learnings from it.

What do you hope to express to readers? What do you want them to feel or know after reading or listening to Lives / Disrupted?

The purpose of the blog is to inspire anyone to follow their passion. To realize that you can make anything of your life. That you do not have to stay stuck in a toxic situation.

Apart from that, I believe that those stories help create empathy in the sense that you can relate to anyone and learn from anyone, no matter if they live on the other side of the globe, are 30 years younger than you or have a completely different lifestyle or even religious or political view.

What is the key to storytelling?

I believe that it’s important to let your personality show through your storytelling so that readers can recognize your touch. I’d define my style as raw honest. I also use my French roots as an advantage rather than a weakness – I express myself differently than a native English speaker, and it sets me apart as a story teller.

What makes a story stand out to you or to your followers?

I love to hear stories of major turning points, that create contrast. For instance, an accountant turned rock-star, a criminal promoting kindness or a model encouraging inner beauty.

Regarding my followers, I’ve noticed that they enjoy most the stories involving people taking on challenges to step outside of their comfort zone. Probably because it provided concrete steps to take to fight fears.

What advice do you have for people who are looking to follow a passion just as you did?

In the end, we already are who we want to be. But sometimes, for the wrong reasons. Peer pressure, money, fear of failure…

The question is, if you are lucky enough to know what your true passion is, set triggers. Gentle reminders which, added up, will push you to eventually take action. Before moving to California, I was typing the password “dreamofLA” for months on my computer, and had the picture of a palm tree on my vision board. I talked to people who had moved there. I searched for jobs… Until I finally made it happen!

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