An example of ‘Story’

In a time of change, the best way to get people to do something new is by inspiring them. The best way to do that is with story.

Any inspiring story has seven basic building blocks:

As an example of the power of this approach, let’s invent one deliberately dull and boring sentence for each building block.

And let’s take extra care to make sure that each sentence on its own is tediously lifeless. Let’s say things like “We are facing a difficult situation.” Or, “We have all the tools we need.”

Now let’s see what happens when we put all these building blocks together in a way that creates a Story:

“We are facing a difficult situation, unlike anything we have experienced before. But we come from a line of people who have faced similar situations and overcome them. We can’t stay as we are, or go back to where we were: we have to move forward. If we go in the direction I am suggesting then we have the opportunity to build something very special together. Following this path will uphold the most important principles we stand for. We already have all the tools and resources we need. The only question is, will you join us and play your part for those who will come after?”

Each of these sentences on its own is dull, flat, and lifeless. But like your mother’s cooking or the recipe for gunpowder, combining them in the right proportions and the right order can create something inspiring!

And if this can happen with the deliberately dull sentences I have chosen, just imagine what you could create!

Story is the best way to combine fact and emotion so that the listener turns the story into their own idea and experience. Story is the best way to inspire yourself and other people to long to make your project happen.

This is another step towards becoming antifragile.

What is the story you are currently telling yourself and the people around you about where you are going, why, and how you are going to get there? Is it inspiring you? What would happen if you created a more inspiring story?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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