A good story is not only one that captures our attention but doesn’t let it go. It is one where we identify with the character(s) and maybe even the setting or situation. In reading or watching, something special happens when a part of us enters that story. We become emotionally connected and invested in the story, especially if that is the story of our leader.
I help leaders tell their stories and I’m amazed that many leaders have not thought about their story. Over the next several posts we will examine the power of our leadership story. Today, let’s start with a foundational question.
What type of a story moves you?
Over the years I have discovered that I most enjoy biographies of men who have overcome intense challenges to do what many never thought they could do, including themselves. One part of that story is tracing their childhood, their dreams, struggles and victories.
Last night I finished reading “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown. It is a legitimate New York Times Best Seller and the inspiration for the PBS documentary by the same name. The story chronicles 9 college rowers from the University of Washington and their epic quest for Gold in the Hitler hosted 1936 Olympics, the same games that featured Jesse Owens. I enjoyed it because I identified with the main character, Joe Rantz.
The beauty of stories is that someone else will read and identify with it in a different way for a different reason. That beauty is intensified when that book not only entertains us, distracting us from the daily frustrations but when we apply lessons the characters have learned. That is the power of a good story. That is why I love to read – it is all about the story. For me, reading great stories allows me to travel, escape, learn and grow. Reading allows me to live my life at a higher level. Reading helps me write better but more importantly, it helps me write my life story better.
We cannot lead others until we know what it takes to lead ourselves.
Maybe what we need in this contentious time is to engage in a good story. Pick up a book or watch a good movie. Pick one that is uplifting without tearing someone else down. Pick one that lets you write your autobiography with a better ending.
As leaders, we all tell powerful stories.
- What stories do we enjoy?
- What characters do we identify with?
- How do those stories change the lives we lead?
Become the Disruptive Leader
I am Dr. Loren Murfield and I work with aspiring and emerging leaders to become disruptive leaders. One decision I help them make is in writing their weekly blog, articles, white papers, online courses and a book. If that is your desire, contact me today.
Checkout my online leadership platform. Power University
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(c) Murfield International, Inc. 2016
I receive no compensation from Daniel James Brown or anyone else for this blog post.