What’s Your Story?

Via Mateusz Stachowski
Via Mateusz Stachowski

Last year I went to a meeting in Chicago where a group of executives from far-flung divisions of a major company went around the table introducing themselves to the group. They each followed a similar pattern: basically reciting their CVs.

“I was head of blah-blah, then I moved over the to the blah-blah division, then was promoted to regional blah-blah with blah-blah, where I was in charge of blah-blah. Blah.”

All of that could have been handled with an exchange of resumes. It occurred to me then that this was an excellent case study for the book in what NOT to do.

We all know stories are critical. Our brains are hardwired for them. We subconsciously expect a certain rhythm and structure to movies and books and even life events, and we are disappointed when the pattern is disrupted.

We are the characters at the center of our own story. In talking about ourselves, we need to find the story arc of our life or career. A framework to hang all the data on, that gives it meaning and makes it memorable.

“I went to school to become a teacher but thought it was impractical and pursued law instead. Now after 20 years in legal practice, here I am teaching.” Irony!

“I started out just answering phones. When things needed doing, I did them. I got interested in accounting, got a degree at the local community college and now I’m finance manager.” Rags to riches!

Or, “I was a high flyer on Wall Street, then I was indicted, imprisoned and paroled. Now I’m a greeter at Walmart.” Fall from grace!

It may take some digging and a little shaping, but everyone’s got a story. What’s yours?

Photo: Turning pages by MattoxSome rights reserved.