Your Story Defines You. So, What's Yours?
Updated: Mar 13
If I was to gauge the relative importance of all the assets in any business, I would put the stories they tell at number one — ahead of their cash flow, customers or staff.
I know: that’s a bold claim. But hear me out.
What gets you through your day? What keeps you personally motivated to keep going in life and work?
I would guess that your answer is something like: To prove I’m right. Or, I have the answer, Or, people need what I’ve got. Or, I need money. Or, I’m still trying to figure that out.
All of these thoughts are narratives. They are stories we tell ourselves — and sometimes others.
Unfortunately, they aren’t particularly powerful narratives — not ones that are genuinely going to impress many people. And that’s where the problem lies: narratives can make or break a business’ or initiative’s chances of success.
If the narrative is wrong — if the focus is on the wrong thing — wrong things will happen. Just look at those businesses that told stories no one wanted to listen to.
People love stories. And if you don’t believe me, just turn around and ask someone to tell you the last story they read, saw or heard.
Multi-billion-dollar businesses are built on stories — think Hollywood, the Marvel franchise. Harry Potter. Lord of the Rings. (Add your favourite stories here.) The list goes on and on.
But just as when the focus is on the wrong thing, wrong things will happen, the converse is true. If the focus is on the right thing, right things will happen.
And the right thing is stories — stories that inspire, that show the business or initiative is righteous, is fighting the good fight, and believes in something that is worth believing in.
A business or initiative without stories — without believing in something — is no business or initiative at all — it’s just an asset sheet of cash flow, customers and staff.
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