1. Write the story of your life.
You are the star of your life story.
Each of us is given one shot to author the story that defines us.
There is a beginning and an end – neither do you control.
What happens in between is your precious life – never to be replicated ever again.
Open up your journal – write the story without any filters or constraints.
Envision life 6-12 months from now – you are living the life of your dreams.
The vivid detail is energizing – let that fuel what your life becomes.
2. Untether the stories that do not serve you.
You are born with a non-stop voice inside your head.
You are not the voice of the mind – you are the one who hears it (Michael A. Singer).
Do not listen to the stories that hold you back – the fake news.
Untether the voice – you are in control of your destiny.
3. Rewrite the story to activate change.
The future will bring change you do not control – expect that.
There is a gift waiting to be discovered from every setback and loss.
Open your eyes to find it and widen your perspective.
Embrace the empowerment to write a new chapter or whole new book.
Be courageous to venture into the unknown depths of your curiosity.
You are not a prisoner of your past – free yourself.
Edit often – you own the plot.
4. Be a storyteller.
Without a story, nobody will know how to help you.
Tell it to colleagues in the workplace to accelerate your path.
Tell it to your partner to become co-stars in the screenplay.
Most people will be eager to help you when they hear the passion in your story.
Read the story again and again to yourself – change your habits to make it a reality.
Embrace the freedom of speech – you own and author the story of your life.
Explore these questions
- Everybody loves a great story – what is yours?
- When you read your story a few month later, how do you feel?
- What actions do you need to take to live the life you wish for?
The Story Behind The Strategy
In early 2013 at Microsoft, I was given the opportunity to lead a workshop for 10-12 colleagues who were interested in the Career Strategy Framework.
One of the first slides I presented was:
Pursuing our unique career path with confidence depends on convincing ourselves first about the story we want to tell others. Everybody loves a great story. What is yours?
The idea was to engage professionals in a deeper journey of who they are beyond their careers. I was always thinking about how little we know about the people we work alongside.
The exercise was to create a few slides about who they were and where they were going in their career. Then, for those who felt comfortable, the opportunity to get up in front of the safe group and share their story.
I noticed the energy and sense of pride when someone would present their story. The chance to share their uniqueness and what the wanted to accomplish at Microsoft and beyond.
This simple concept gained traction and led an organization within Microsoft to adopt the framework as a resource guide within their professional development program. The employees of the program were required to create a story deck and present that in front of a leadership panel 1-2 times a year. It was the chance to tell their story and engage leaders in their career journey.
I often sent my deck (5-7 slides) as a “pre-read” when meeting Microsoft leaders for a first one-on-one. That changed the conversation of who I was, to how can I best add value to the organization while gaining valuable skills that contribute to my plan. Leaders loved that.
The experiences at Microsoft and life changes over the last few years shaped the ideas behind this strategy and directives.
Please share them if you know someone who could benefit – thank you!
Additional resources that reinforce the core ideas of this strategy.
TED video “How changing your story can change your life” by Lori Gottlieb
Photo credit: Dawid Zawiła