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I attended a very interesting lecture about using stories to brand yourself in the business world.  You’d be surprised what kind of things you can make happen with a well-told story. This lecture was in connection with job searching, but I’m thinking this is a good tactic in all dealings. 

You start with the action.  In fiction, we are told to jump in where things are happening. Movies often use this technique. Somebody always wants something. Right off the bat, we want to know what’s at stake. Next give some background.  How did we get to that point of action?  The climax tells us what’s happening now or at the point of the greatest conflict.  After that you recount the result.  What happened at the end?  You use rich details and add some drama.  Tell a good story!

People will listen more intently if you talk like this and you will be remembered.  Be sure to tell stories of success, where things worked out well. We all love a happy ending.

My coach, Paulette Terrels, asked me to list my successes each day.  But maybe I can embellish them a bit. Rather than list, “#1 Completed all the forms I was asked to,” maybe I can spruce that up:  “There I was, facing a mountain of forms.  I didn’t know if I could get it all done.  But it had to be completed by 3:00.  I only had one hour left.  I decided to take one at a time and work my way through them.  I completed all of them, with 15 minutes to spare!  My boss was so pleased she commended me for finishing the task so well.”  Now that’s something with more impact, something I won’t soon forget or dismiss. 

 A story with impact will give a feeling tone which will stick longer.  It generates more of the feeling buzz which is the fuel of the Law of Attraction.  It is what we always look for to attract more of the same.

When you’re talking to others you can use stories to not only entertain your audience, but also to speak positively.  This can be catching. Why would you want to say you slipped and broke something, when you can tell the tale of how you fixed it and left the owner feeling very pleased?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could banish all the failure stories and replace them with success stories?  Who cares how you fumbled the ball?  It’s far more exciting to hear a story about the winning goal!

You can use the elements of fiction to enliven and infuse your stories. Whether you’re negotiating a deal, looking for a job or just hanging out with friends, you can add more detail and drama to your positive stories.  I bet you’ll soon be the life of the party!

If you’re interested in finding out more about Stories that Work in business, click here.

We are a species who love to tell stories!  Good thing, too.  Except that we also believe them.  Sometimes without question. I  was talking with someone to the other day who said he had been told he was careless as a child.  And had just been that way ever since.

I understand:  Schools like to label children. It’s easier that way. (At least it was when I was in school.) When you’ve heard something over and over as a child, you tend to repeat it to yourself and then, consequently, live it. We are a product of the stories we tell about ourselves.  Most of them, however, were fed to us by others.  And if someone else says it, we are certain of its credibility.  So, over the years these stories (and the proof, as well) get ingrained in us.

But you know what?  These are stories.  Made up tales of what once was or may have been. As a writer, I can tell you, stories can be changed.  They can always be revised, characters reshaped.  You can make a hero more believable or more lovable.  You can sharpen the edges of the antagonist.  You might even paint the sky green if you like! There is just no reason to hold onto a story that isn’t serving you.

For instance, stories like I’m lazy or I never win anything.  He always takes over the conversation. She’s’ not a nice person.

My brother used to tell me about how if he spoke kindly about someone, the word would spread and the person would be well liked. You can build a story around someone.

It really is possible to tell the stories you want to tell.  You could say, “I may have been careless in the past, but now I am careful to always check my work.”  It’s really just a matter of awareness and practice.  You might want to guard against falling back into the familiar story.  Remind yourself that just because you were careless today, doesn’t mean you have to be careless tomorrow.

I believe in this storytelling business.  It’s how affirmations work. If you continually fill your head with good thoughts, you will eventually, start doing good things.  It’s all in what you tell yourself.  There may be much we can’t control in this life.  But we can control what we tell ourselves. 

With the right story, you could change your life, maybe even the world.

My friends like to vent.  They say it’s healthy.  I’m not sure I’m convinced of that. 

Now, it’s not like I don’t jump on that train ~  It starts innocently enough with talk of how tough the winter’s been.  Then, it turns into complaints about husbands.  You know, I just can’t deal with X –  fill in the details.  Before you know it, the conversation has tumbled into a pool of negative stories and complaints about everything!

Venting is contagious. At least the way we play it.  Sometimes I startthe game, but others have drawn me in unawares.  I still don’t know how to get out of the way.   It’s alluring to walk down that path of “I know, I have another similar story with different details to tell.”

After a venting session, I usually still want to talk about it to anyone I can find.  As if the flood gates had been opened.  It rarely makes me feel any less burdened by it – whatever it is which weighs heavy on me.  I certainly don’t see any more solutions.  Perhaps I just feel drained – in no condition to deal with this!

What if we could shift the direction the energy is traveling, spiraling down so quickly? Instead of upping the ante of negativity as to how put upon we are, how downtrodden our lives, how weighty our burdens, what if we tried to find out what’s really going on behind the complaints?

I, personally, think this process is better handled alone.  A pen and paper serve well to capture what the issues are – that way you can go back and highlight what’s real and what’s not – and it keeps you from repeating yourself.  Something that easily creeps into a verbal venting. Also, I’m not fond of spreading my negative mood onto the clean clothes of a friend.  It doesn’t seem a friendly thing to do. When we vent, we are literally spewing our stuff into someone else’s lap.  But, I know, not everyone is as comfortable with a pen as I am. And I can see the value in having someone there to help.

What if we worked together to find the root cause of the issues, instead of dwelling in the details?  The cause often doesn’t care what its effect may be, what the details of the situation are.  We all have stories, tons of them. They’re not all that different. The details come and go.  But that’s where we put all our focus when we’re venting.  It’s all about the particulars of our distress.  (How often, I might ask, do we go on and on about how good things are?)

Perhaps together we can hose off the emotion and try to find the facts of the situation.  Help our friend to shine the light of that passion inside instead of searching for the culprit outside. 

Listen to what you’re telling yourself. Your emotions are coming directly from there.  What are the thoughts that are causing you to need to vent?  You may discover the thought isn’t even true. Or that things are not nearly as bad as all that.  It may be true in some ways, but that’s a rather dramatic way to describe it.  Maybe there really is nothing you can do about it, at the moment.  Your emotions don’t really care. They just want to vent.

Begin to soften the emotions by stating the facts.  What really is going on here?   In telling the truth about the situation you start to see the gold nuggets.  The good stuff that’s always there, in every relationship, in (or around) every situation. Gratitude slows your breathing, calms your blood pressure, returns your much-relaxed focus to the present moment.

In the present moment, you are safe. Whatever the bad situation, it isn’t bearing down on you to take action at the moment.  You can acknowledge the help you have, what you have going for you.  Now you can handle the details of the situation with a freshened mind and a wider heart.  In a much better position to make a choice about how to heal, soothe or eliminate this situation.

Maybe it’s good to have a friend with you on this journey.  To help you find what you’re saying about it, search with you for the good stuff, and encourage you to dream up a more perfect scenario.  Then, you have something to work with to make things better.

It seems a funny thing to me.  These feelings and emotions we have are like flashlights.  You can shine them out and add to the emotion your friend is spewing out.  But is that what you want to create?  More of that?

If we shine the light, instead, inside, we can become aware of the thoughts that actually drive us. And are largely responsible for the situations and relationships we find ourselves in.  There you will have a clearer view, more control over your emotions to emote you where you want to go.  It’s only when you have your hands on the driving wheel of thoughts that you can take positive steps to solve the problem, deal with it, handle it, or let it go. Whatever needs to be to done, whatever will work in the moment.

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