I spend a lot of time in stories.
From the deep dive of novels to the crystalline focus of screenplay, from the ether of poetry to the immediacy of song, all of it story.
I talk about story. I write about story.
Consciously and sub-consciously, story has been my life’s work.
I worked in a major corporation for 20 years, on both sides of the Atlantic ocean. I had job titles. I had a career path. I had a talent profile. I had performance documents. I had direct reports. I had resources to manage. I had internal politics to wade through. I had crappy days. I had great days.
Even with all that, story was my life.
Or, more accurately, maybe it should be my life was a story.
It was about a guy who… did that.
[and three years ago, I started telling a different story – I’m now a guy who does… this!]
In my corporate career, I interviewed thousands of people for jobs – not just passing conversations, either; at least an hour of a candidate’s background, motivations, values, aims and aspirations.
I heard their stories.
[these are the voices in my head when I write]
And I remain convinced that everyone – you included – is living out a story in each moment.
A story about a guy or gal who…
[forgive me, I’m not writing a legal document, so I’ll use guy/he from here on, though there’s nothing gender specific to this]
When I coach people, or counsel them on career change, or on life in general, I listen for their story, where it finds friction, where it finds alignment. Who is this guy, who does he believe he is, and who does he expect to be next?
Is he a victim, railing against misfortune?
Is he a plucky upstart out to prove ‘the man’ wrong?
Is he a dangerous firecracker in a box of dry tinder?
Is he a searcher for some ultimate, hidden truth?
These and many other archetypes play out in movies, television and books all the time and, like it or not, thanks to mirror neurons, we mimic what we see others doing. We absorb these archetypes into ourselves, and organize our lives to become one of these stories.
So, who is this guy?
Is he the spouse who believes he can get away with an illicit affair?
Is he the under-performer, distrustful of management and determined to screw the company over? The over-achiever picking up the slack from that under-performer?
Is he the guilty child, still suffering from toxic parents decades after that influence should have waned?
We are all stories. Stories about a guy who…
So, what’s your story?
Who’s the guy who’s you?
Because, once you can see your story
[and research estimates that only 15-25% of the population have the self-awareness to be able to do so without help]
you can tell a different story. How different? Well, that depends on you and, yes, on your story. But have no doubt, story-telling is the rocket fuel of personal growth and professional development.
It’s why so many companies get it wrong by prescribing paths and defining jobs – when we cede our story to the company, we lose our identity. Is it any wonder so many people feel lost in their day-to-day, disempowered and floating aimless?
What’s your story?
Who’s the guy who’s you?
Who’s the guy who you’d like to be?
Drop me a line if you’d like me to help you answer those questions and start telling a different story.