Storytelling at Work
June 05, 2021
How to Discover the Stories You Want to Tell


"The most important question to ask is: What myth am I living?" -- Carl Jung

No matter what your age, a lot has happened to you in this lifetime -- the good, the bad, and the ugly -- finding love, losing love, being hired, being fired, overcoming obstacles, falling on your face, births, deaths, victories, failures, and everything else in between. Choosing which of this stuff to tell as story presents an interesting challenge. The good news is there are many ways to make that choice.

1. ACKNOWLEDGE THE STORIES YOU ALREADY TELL: All of us have favorite stories we tell -- often, more than once. Even if you don't consider yourself a storyteller, there's a good chance you have recounted some of your life experiences to others -- people you trusted, loved, or wanted to communicate something meaningful to. Maybe it was your parents, sister, best friend, client, teammate, neighbor, doctor, spouse, or local bartender. Every time you tell one of them the story, he or she listens. What are those stories?

2. CHUNK OUT THE MAIN EVENTS IN YOUR LIFE: If you were about to die and your life was flashing before your eyes, what would be the key scenes you would see? Growing up in your parent's house? Your first day of school? Falling in love for the first time? A traumatic incident? The birth of a child? The death of a loved one? Seeing a UFO? Deciding to quit your job? Moving to a foreign country? What else?

3. IDENTIFY UNEXPECTED MOMENTS OF TRUTH: All of us have experiences that are unplanned -- surprise occurrences that challenge our sense of self, blow our minds, and teach us important lessons. Sometimes, all it takes is a trigger phrase to remember them. Take a few minutes now to review the following phrases and notice which stories they spark for you

-- Overcoming an obstacle
-- Trusting your gut
-- Adapting to change
-- Getting help from an unlikely source
-- An embarrassing moment
-- Rising to the occasion
-- Discovering a hidden talent
-- Extreme patience
-- A random act of kindness
-- Going beyond the call of duty
-- Being rescued
-- An unlikely synchronicity --
-- Emerging victorious against all odds
-- A powerful spiritual experience
-- Making a difficult choice
-- Letting go


-- Faith
-- Courage
-- Intuition
-- Resourcefulness
-- Creativity
-- Collaboration
-- Flexibility
-- Perseverance
-- Paradox
-- Celebration
-- Immersion
-- Surprise
-- Love
-- Focus
-- Intention
-- Community
-- Paranormal
-- Magic
-- Truth
-- Dream
-- Playfulness
-- Fear
-- Compassion
-- Learning
-- Ritual
-- Sleep
-- Holiday
-- Overtime
-- Proposal
-- Follow-up
-- Listening
-- Music
-- Loss
-- Connection

Now, jot down the titles of at least three stories that have come to mind as a result of this little exercise. Then circle the one you most want to tell.

Excerpted from Storytelling at Work

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at June 5, 2021 01:29 PM

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Storytelling at Work is a blog about the power of personal storytelling – why it matters and what you can do to more effectively communicate your stories – on or off the job. Inspired by the book of the same name, the blog features "moment of truth" stories by the author, Mitch Ditkoff, plus inspired rants, quotes, and guest submissions by readers.

Order the book:

Storytelling for the Revolution
Storytelling for the Revolution is Mitch Ditkoff's newly published book about the power of personal storytelling to elevate the conversation on planet Earth. Provocative. Evocative. And fun. YOU have stories to tell. This book will help you tell them.
Storytelling at Work
"The world is not made of atoms," wrote the poet, Muriel Rukeyser. "It's made of stories." Learn how to discover, honor, and unpack the stories of yours that show up "on the job" in Mitch Ditkoff's award-winning 2015 book, Storytelling at Work.
Do you want to know more about the book before buying it? Click here for Mitch's response to frequently asked questions about Storytelling at Work – the perfect book for people who think they have no time to read.
The Workshop
Storytelling is an "unconscious competency" – an ability we all have that all too often remains inaccessible to us. Enter the Storytelling at Work workshop – a simple way to activate this powerful, innate skill.
Wisdom Circles
Want to establish a culture of storytelling in your organization or community? Looking for a simple way to help people to share their meaningful, memorable stories with each other? Here's how.
Podcasts & Videos
Click here to view and listen to a series of interviews with the author of this blog. Go beyond the written word. Listen. Feel. Elevate the conversation. Understand what the big deal is about personal storytelling.
Blogs 'R Us
If you like this blog, you might also like Mitch's other two blogs: The Heart of Innovation and The Heart of the Matter. Mitch is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.
Idea Champions
When Mitch isn't writing, he's captaining the good ship Idea Champions, a leading edge innovation consulting and training company based in Woodstock, NY. What their clients say.