In my last article, you read my version of a two-minute story. This is a story that I use to tell people why I do what I do.” Telling people “why” you do what you do seems to be all the rage in the business world now.
The biggest challenge I see is most people really don’t know how to effectively craft the story that tells their root “why”. The purpose of this article is to help you begin the process of crafting your own two-minute story.
When I went through this process of creating my two-minute “Why” story, I struggled – and I’m a speaking and storytelling coach! The gentleman who was mentoring me through this process, Jeff Bloomfield, gave me insightful feedback.
He was tough, because I needed him to be. The first story that I gave him actually centered around one of my first speaking coaches, Darren LaCroix. It was filled with life lessons that Darren had reminded me of (for example, “don’t stay down when you fall down,” or, “done is better than perfect”) When I shared this story with Jeff he said, “This is good but Darren’s not the origin of these lesson. He was a reminder.”
Jeff sent me back to the drawing board. I came back with a new story about my mom, and how she spent the first few years of her life in France during World War II. He liked that story. But then when I shared it with my fiancee, she said, “Yeah, it’s a great story honey.” She said, “But I’m not feeling the real reason that you do what you do.” So I had to go back and rewrite, and through a series of questions that Linda asked me, I got to the story about my dad.
What I’m all about – the reason I do business – is I want to help people achieve at a much higher level. I also want them to see the traits and gifts they have that they may be blind to. I believe we everyone has great talents they sometimes don’t see.
When I thought about where that came from, I realized it was my Dad. He’s a very patient person; he’s level headed; he’s optimistic. Dad was also a dedicated and inspirational teacher because he sees the gifts and benefits in others that sometimes they can’t see.
I do my best to exhibit these characteristics because they feel like the right way to conduct business.
As you develop your “why” story, think about the earliest lessons from your childhood, people who influenced your core beliefs. Somebody once asked me, “What are the beliefs that you’d literally die for?” It may sound a bit extreme, but those are the ones that have carried you through life.
For some people, it’s freedom; others it’s security; still others it’s adventure. For me, it’s contribution. Going deeper with that subject, I love contributing by pulling the best out of other people and helping them achieve at a much higher level. Dad set that standard for me.
Who was it for you? As you think about your stories, they usually weren’t situations in which someone sat you down and said, “This is the way it is, and this is how life operates, and this is how you should be.” It’s not straightforward.
In the story about my Dad, I tell you that he is a quiet man. He didn’t say, “Michael, this is how you be patient,” or “This is how you be optimistic.” Rather than talk, he demonstrated it.
Once these lessons come to the surface, you’ll have the foundation of your “why” story.
Always remember, you have a story that someone needs to hear. Craft that story well. Deliver it in a dynamic style and you’ll impact more lives than you can ever imagine.
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