November 22, 2015
What Kind of Stories Will You Tell?

What'sYourStory.jpg

Here's a story you can probably relate to: You are walking down the street when a friend, coming the other way, stops, looks you in the eye, and asks "Whassup?" It's a question you've heard a thousand times before -- the default, in-the-moment, open-ended salutation.

Your choices are many. You can answer any way you want, from the predictable "Fine, whassup with you?" to an elaborate monologue on any number of topics: the weather, your company's funky benefit plan, the economy, the latest terrorist attack, your aching back and so on.

Mitch Storytelling Front Cover.jpg

In that moment, there is no correct answer. You get to choose what to talk about. You get to decide what story to tell. What you DON'T get to decide is the impact your story will have on the other person. That's up to them. But know this: your story will have impact. Everything we say, everything we do has impact, even a seemingly casual moment of passing a person on the street.

If you watch the TV news, you can see this phenomenon playing out daily. With an almost infinite number of topics to report on, TV news is mostly about bad news: war, violence, political unrest, terrorism, famine, corruption, plane crashes, murder, scandal, disease, gossip, and unemployment with an occasional "human interest" story thrown in for good measure so we don't all jump off the same bridge at the same time and screw up their ratings.

68% of Americans believe that TV news broadcasts focuses way too much on bad news and yet we keep tuning in. The impact? Our state of well-being declines. We become sadder, more negative, more hopeless and depressed, exacerbating whatever personal worries and anxieties we already had before tuning in.

I'm not suggesting that news outlets airbrush the negative out of their reports. Nor am I suggesting that they stop reporting on the bad stuff happening around the world. What I'm suggesting is they find more of a middle path and make more of a concerted effort to change the narrative to honor what's good and holy about being alive.

You and I are also news stations. You and I are also reporting on what's going on in the world and in the organizations we work for. Like the TV executives behind the scenes, we also get to decide what stories to tell. That is our moment of truth. That is our broadcast. Will our stories be local versions of the nightly news, skewed to what's bad and wrong, full of gossip and complaint, or will we choose to tell a NEW story, one infused with possibility, progress, insight, awareness, and hope?

JUST PUBLISHED: Storytelling at Work

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at November 22, 2015 12:52 PM

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