“If you don’t know the trees you may be lost in the forest, but if you don’t know the stories you may be lost in life.” —Siberian Elder
We’re wired for stories. Stories help us make meaning and they help us remember things. They can also help us simplify and avoid getting overwhelmed in our everyday things. The big idea to keep in mind here is that you’re the most important story teller in your life, and you can use little stories for getting results.
You can use 3 stories to drive your day. By using the power of stories, we turn the “daily grind” into the “daily great.” … “Call the customer” becomes “win a raving fan.” … “Clean the living room” becomes “create a powerful sanctuary for recharging and renewing.” … “Create a project plan” becomes “Share the playbook for my game winning plan.” These are all little stories that help you write your story forward and connect with your results.
3 Stories to Drive Your Week
You can also use 3 stories to drive your week. Just stepping back to ask yourself what are 3 stories you want for your week helps you carve out a compelling path forward. In fact, I use this to drive my project teams. On Mondays, I ask the team, “What would be our 3 best results for the week?”, or “if this were Friday, what are 3 results we want under our belt?” This forces us to step back and design a compelling week before we spend our time and energy. This connects us to the end in mind, in a very simple way and it helps us create a shared vision of what good looks like.
Keep Your Stories Simple but Compelling
Your stories for the week don’t need to be complicated. Ideally, you keep them simple so you can recall them whenever or wherever you are. In fact, my 3 stories for this week are: 1) Get clarity on my career, 2) Finish off the outstanding issues for my open project, and 3) Create a compelling vision/scope for my next project. I say the stories as simple one-liners so that I can easily remember them, but the one-liners remind me of the results that I want and they help me stay on track. Whenever I get lost in my day to day, I can step back and ask myself, what were my 3 stories for the week. If I need to find more drive and motivation, I tune my stories by tapping into my values and connecting to the things that give me juice.
3 Ways to use Stories to Drive Your Week
Getting started using stories to drive your week is pretty simple, and it gets even easier with practice. The key is to just start. Here are 3 ways to use stories to drive your week:
- On Mondays, identify 3 stories. As part of Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, and Friday Reflection, identify 3 stories for your week. Simply identify 3 results you want to accomplish. Next, spruce them up as simple one-liner stories. If you have trouble turning them into stories, just the fact you identified 3 results you want to accomplish goes a long way. You’ll become a better storyteller as you go along. One thing that helps me is I think “villain and victory” and what the hero needs to do to win.
- Each day, use your stories for the week as a guide. As you figure out your stories for each day, consider them against your bigger picture for the week. Wednesday is a great mid-way checkpoint to see if you need to significantly change your stories or change your approach for a strong finish.
- On Fridays, reflect on your stories. How well are you doing against your stories? … Either you’re nailing your stories or you’re not, and either those results are compelling for you or they are not. The beauty of this is it helps you see if you are biting off too much. It also helps you learn how to package up your results. Most importantly, it helps you see your wins, even if they are only partial. Chalk your partial wins up to making progress and celebrate your successes. When you miss results, rather than get down on yourself, turn it into lessons and carry the good forward. Remind yourself that each week is a new chance at bat.
While 3 stories might sound too simple, you’d be surprised how much clarity this adds to your days and to your weeks. The little stories add up and that’s how you create your epic adventures in your life … moments at a time, and a story at a time. Remember that it’s a numbers game, and the more you get up to bat, the more chances you have to hit the ball out of the park.
My Related Posts
- Use 3 Stories to Drive Your Day
- Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, and Friday Reflection
- Getting Started with Agile Results
Photo by ground.zero.