An example of ‘story’

Rembrandt, old woman reading

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

The seven building blocks of an inspiring story are:

  • Speak with your own authentic voice
  • Make it relevant for your audience
  • Show there is a problem
  • Define the future state you want to create
  • Relate your message to higher principles, values, or ideals
  • Define the needed steps and show that they are achievable
  • Let people make up their own minds but make sure they choose

As an example, let’s invent one deliberately dull and boring sentence for each of these blocks.

Let’s take extra care to make each sentence on its own tediously dull.

And then let’s see what happens when we combine them to make a story:

“We are facing a difficult situation, unlike anything we have experienced before. But we come from a long line of people who have faced difficult 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 very principles we stand for. We already have all the tools and resources we need. The only question is, are you willing to step up 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 the right ingredients in the right order and the right proportions can create something explosive! Something inspiring!

Story is the best way to combine fact and emotion so that you and other people will feel inspired to want to make your project happen.

The Churning, Inner Leadership is a book about helping you find the right ingredients, the right proportions, and the right order for you. Each is another step to 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? What would happen if you made that story more inspiring?

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

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