When I was 25, I read ‘What Color Is Your Parachute?’ As a huge fan of the self help genre, and I was in a bit of a career crossroads, so it was the perfect read.
But when I saw how many exercises there were, I only did some of them.
One of the ones I did was writing ten stories about challenges/problems I solved. The criteria were that it didn’t have to be at all work related, just situations that happened and how you solved them. The big idea was within these stories, you’d identify transferable skills and things you not only could do but probably liked to do.
Note: You can pick up a copy of this book but Page 8 in this Google Book version for teens explains it pretty well: https://books.google.com/books?id=cBQBGnBNnPkC (I just found the adult version from 2009 but I have apparently reached my viewing limit so if you find a better source for this, do link it in the comments!)
My first thought was: Ten stories, really!?! That’s so many.
But I’m pretty obedient, even to books, so I went along.
One story was about how, at a moment’s notice and almost nothing in the fridge, I produced an amazing meal.
Another was about how I got double booked for a meeting but made both parties happy.
I have to go in my files for the rest, but none of the stories were long but they started with a problem and ended with a solution and starred me.
Once the stories were written, I was supposed to look for transferrable skills in them. And in doing it for ten stories, you begin to see patterns.
(Note: I wrote three stories then got hung up. Once I realized they could be small, I somehow got unblocked and finished… so if you find yourself similarly annoyed after three, keep going.)
In making this month’s theme ‘storytelling’ at Breaking Even, I thought of how powerful this could be if we translated it to businesses. What ten stories about your business could transform your marketing or help you establish a mission statement or identify core values?
Small stories leading to big ideas? It’s definitely happened before… and it could happen for you.