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Posts Tagged ‘storytelling’

A Written Reflection

September 30, 2011 3 comments

As a strong “ideator” who uses “connectedness” in all things and is an extreme extrovert, so much of how I process my thinking and move it forward happens in conversations with people.   It has been a very effective method for incubating, creating, and drawing important connections and meaning – all through the privilege of getting to know people better, engaging with them and further developing these relationships.

Like so many other great things in our lives, I’ve found a down-side to these activities.  As the type of person who likes to chase “the shiny new thing” I often find myself fragmented and frenzied.   My head starts swirling in thoughts and I’m physically jazzed-up from the interaction; often waking up with thoughts in the middle of the night.  I found myself just disappearing from these activities by escaping into my work and not moving any ideas forward as a way to refresh from the hype.  I was stuck in this cycle of rapid frenzied movement followed by stagnation and it felt unhealthy, unbalanced, and even ineffective.

I lacked balance.  Focus was missing  Solitary reflection should replace the stagnation in order to quiet the mind, process and understand, draw meaning, and be able to keep moving forward.

I was privileged to participate in a writing / journaling conference hosted by The People House and The Center for Journal Therapy recently.  I learned that journaling and solitary reflection would accomplish both things:  quiet the mind AND continue to move ideas and thinking forward.  I’ve been diligently applying these techniques and feel more balanced, have more insight, and am moving ideas and thinking forward more rapidly and with a calm that I haven’t had before.

The tagline for the conference was:  I write to know what my heart thinks.  It is so true!  I’m great at asking questions, but have lacked the discipline to pursue finding answers, including listening for those answers.  If you have never written as a technique to move your ideas forward, try it!

Reflective Writing Steps:

  1. Set aside 10-15 uninterrupted and quiet minutes to allow the free-flow of your thoughts.
  2. Pick a question (of yourself, of someone or something else, of God, or whomever).  See following examples.
  3. Read more…
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Living the Question and/or Defining Your Life – Can You Do Both?

April 8, 2010 1 comment

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A great conversation with inspiring and thoughtful peers tonight brought forward an interesting dichotomy.  A contrasting set of questions was asked and I found it interesting to look at these questions together.

On the one hand – How are you living in the present?

Are You Living the Question?

It’s a focus on living in the uncertainty of the present and doing so the fullest to see where the journey takes you.  A very “P” perspective (MBTI) that is open to possibilities, that soaks up the process of being open.

On the other hand – How do you define your life?

What’s Your Sentence?

Dan Pink asks this question of 9th graders.  What sentence would you write to define your life?  Can you write this story in 6 words or less, Hemingway style?  This approach is much more “J” oriented (MBTI) in that it focuses on closure, putting a stake in the ground.

What’s Your Dash?

Every tombstone has two dates separated by a dash “#### – ####”.  This question focuses on the dash between the beginning and the end of this life.  Also more “J” oriented.

Is it possible to be present, to be living (and thriving) with the question AND to define your life by writing your sentence or defining your dash?  I am finding that I can write a 6 word story (my sentence) AND am thriving with the question as it shapes the journey to that story.  What space are you in?

Can You Tell Your Story in Just 6 Words?

April 7, 2010 3 comments

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My attention was caught by two-month long discussion on the LinkedIn group:

TED: Ideas Worth Spreading.

It was posted by Kway Yu and has generated 610 comments as of today.  The premise of his invitation for folks to tell the story of themselves in just 6 words is based on a statement by Ernest Hemingway, master storyteller, that his best work was a story he wrote in just six words:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

This discussion has inspired hundreds of people to share a story of themselves in just 6 words.  My story right now might look something like:

Compelled to become who I am!

therefore…

Inspiring change through interaction about ideas.

In an earlier post (The Discipline of Word Choice in Social Media), I shared how the use of fewer words is a discipline presented to us by several great historical works (73 words) and one that we are forced to develop through use of modern communication technology and social media such as Texting (160 characters) and Twitter (140 characters).  It is also a discipline developed by those who successfully communicate with corporate executives and by those who give excellent presentations.  Some of the best presentations I’ve ever seen are on TED.com where no presentation exceeds 18 minutes.

Storytelling inspires emotion and placement of oneself into the story – it becomes personal.  Steve Denning, storytelling advocate, has had a huge influence on my belief in the power of storytelling (or use of narrative) in business settings in recent years.  Is the art of storytelling making a resurgence?  It’s definitely going through an evolution and technology is helping us to think completely different about it.  I know most of you are at least learning to or mastering the art of communicating in just 140 characters, but can you tell your story in just 6 words?  I invite you to comment &/or Twitter your 6 word story, use #6story.

What is your 6 word story?


While searching for an image of the #6 to include in this post, I came across another blog post from 2008 about a teacher who gave this assignment to his students … check it out, too!

The Discipline of Word Choice in Social Media

March 31, 2010 2 comments

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A recent post on PoynterOnline shows how the use of just 73 carefully chosen words in several powerful historic texts have been so impactful over time.

When Words Are Worth a Thousand Pictures …. 73 Razor Sharp Words

There certainly is an implication for bloggers.  It also brought to mind the discipline that using Twitter brings – how do you craft something meaningful  in just 140 characters or less?  How do you do it in such a way that others will be interested in it, too (because it’s so important – see Value of Social Media)?  Just today, I shortened my twitter name by a couple of characters to help address this character limitation issue (just for you, my RT friends, keep ’em coming!).

This leads me to think about storytelling and how Steve Denning‘s storytelling books speak both to the power of business narrative (aka stories) and to the discipline in using them effectively.  Different story formats work best for different purposes (The Leaders Guide to Storytelling) … and it takes discipline to craft stories in this way!  Even the most gifted storyteller probably isn’t gifted in all ways of telling stories for a purposeful outcome.

So, as I write this post, initially, it was WELL over 500 words (now just 250) and really included three different topics.  Result of applying this learning?  Break it up into 3 separate posts (set to publish at different times, of course) and help my social media / network friends to absorb these thoughts in smaller, more meaningful chunks.