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Get the Free 20 questions to Ask Before Launching Your Idea workbook when you sign up for occasional updates.

How To Save A Story

I had so much fun talking about how to save a story, with my friend and colleague Michael Bungay Stanier on his new podcast.

Some of the things we talked about were:

  • The anatomy of a great story
  • Building resilience, trust, and connection through everyday storytelling
  • Why storytelling allows you to navigate the present and create a path to the future
The Story Skills Workshop is back by popular demand next week. You can sign up to be notified when enrollments open using this form.

Here’s to telling stories that help us shape the kind of future we want to see.

Image by Nathan Rogers

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On Failure

I don’t know, are three of the hardest words for fallible human beings to say.

We avoid them at all costs and at every turn.

Because in our eyes, giving the wrong answer is worse than having none at all.

But mistakes are not failings, they are data we can learn from.

Every failure inches us closer to progress.

A wrong turn is simply a sign that you’re still on the journey.

Image by Marcel

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Building A Reputation

When you and I were at school, many students had a reputation. We can recall the smart and funny ones. The artistic or athletic ones. The introverts and the extroverts.

Those reputations were not bestowed—they were built.

People’s opinions about you are based not just on what you say, but on what you do.

You can begin to build your reputation with intention by answering three questions:

Who do you want to be known to?
What do you want them to know you for?
What do you need to do to build this reputation?

Actions speak louder than words.

Image by Anna Samoylova

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The Way To Lead

A few years back, my son was leaving the train station in Perth when someone asked him for directions. He began to explain the route but stopped halfway. ‘I’m going that direction, why don’t I take you there,’ he said, leading the way.

One of the best definitions of leadership I’ve read, explains that it’s the act of showing someone the way to a destination by going in front of or beside them.

That implies if we intend to lead, we not only need to know the destination but also who we’re leading and whether we’re committed enough to walk in front or beside them.

Leadership is a journey that we take the responsibility for making together.

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The Unremarkable

Lately, we have come to recognise the remarkable contribution of the people many considered unremarkable.

The people who stack our food on the supermarket shelves through the night. The truck drivers who get behind the wheel every day ensuring deliveries reach us. Those who wake early to clean our hospital wards. The workers who once felt disposable, now suddenly seen as essential.

We’d begun to equate remarkability with visibility.
It turns out the two are not the same at all.

Sometimes it’s the thing we do that gets the least applause that makes the biggest impact.

Image by Martijn Baudoin

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On Helping

We like to be helpful. We’re physiologically wired for it.

The *science shows that helping others helps us to help ourselves.

Helping makes us happy.

So when people ask for advice or an opinion, we gladly offer it.

But before we can help, there’s a question we need to answer.

How exactly am I helping?

Sometimes the most helpful thing we can do is help people to help themselves.

*In helping others, you help yourself.

Image by Aaron Brinker

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The Act Of Possibility

We associate the word possibility with abundance.

Naturally, we think about anything being possible when we’re in a good place.

Of course, right now many things are not possible.

But something is.

We may not always be able to choose what happens but we can choose how we respond.

What’s the smallest act of possibility you could choose today?

Image by Emma Frances Logan

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Ideas Worth Keeping

Sometimes our best ideas come to us when we’re working with constraints. We’ve all seen hundreds of brilliant ideas and initiatives come into being as a result of communities being in isolation around the globe.

Local councils in London are calling at-risk elderly to ask if they need groceries or medicines delivered.

Villages have started newsletters to keep communities informed and together.

Neighbours are dropping care packages at the doors of vulnerable neighbours.

Supermarkets have changed store layouts, putting essential items at the front to cut down on shopping time.

Legoland is hosting live workshops to inspire children who are now home-schooled.

What ideas, routines and rituals have you started in the past few weeks that are worth keeping?

Image by Kelly Sikkema

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One Way Or Another

When I got my first job, I cycled to work and back every day. On a fine summer day in Dublin, cycling is a joy, it’s a different story in winter. The worst part was always that last hill on the way home. I’d try to stay on the bike for as long as possible, not wanting the gradient to beat me. But when the frost was thick and the road slick with ice, there was nothing for it but to get off and walk up the hill alongside the bike.

As my progress up the hill slowed, I’d curse the wasted momentum, calculating how much earlier I would have arrived if I’d managed to stay on the bike. And yet, I still got home anyway. Maybe a few minutes later, with a bit less patience, I reached my destination all the same.

Whenever I feel like I’m not moving fast enough, I remember that hill and that I arrived one way or another. If you’re feeling like you’re not moving fast enough today, feel free to borrow my hill if it helps you to keep moving.

Image By Paolo Chiabrando

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In Answer To Your Question

We like to ask for advice. It’s human to investigate all the angles—to seek the opinions of others. And yet in doing so, we can forget to reflect on our insights and assumptions.

We often forget to check in with our beliefs before considering what someone else thinks.

What if before sought advice, we reflected on our thoughts first?

What wisdom might we find in our own hearts?

What do I think? How do I feel? These are powerful questions.

Image by Pablo Andrés Rivero

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