How to Use Story to Fuel Vitality

Admiration is energy.

Your story is the channel of vitality.

My story:

My people were farmers on both sides. Dad’s family grew potatoes. Mom’s family milked cows. Mom and dad took over the dairy farm when I was young.

I am who they were, even though I haven’t milked cows for decades.

Open book. Story.

Know the formative stories of everyone on your team.

7 lessons my people taught me:

  1. Success is showing up and putting one step in front of the other. Lean in and keep pulling.
  2. Fun comes after work. Life is about responsibility, not fun.
  3. Figure it out. Fix it yourself. Get it done.
  4. Live within your means.
  5. Nothing changes when you complain.
  6. You can’t control the weather, so don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about anything you can’t control.
  7. Take care of your tools and they will take care of you. Grandfather serviced the hay baler after every use.

Story as a source of vitality:

My wife mentioned that she tried to pull a downed branch off our front yard, but it was too heavy. She asked if I could help her. I said I could do it myself. She was skeptical.

I noticed her watching through the front window when I went out. I didn’t stop pulling that branch until I tossed it on the brush pile behind the garage. Yes it was heavy, but I tried not to let her see how hard I was working.

My people kept pulling. You speak to something deeply important to me when you notice I work hard.

Know the formative stories of everyone on your team.

When team members admire someone in their story, notice how they possess those same admirable qualities.

Someone might say, “My parents were funny.” That’s your cue to admire them when they’re funny.

Admiration is energy when it connects with your story.

What drains people’s energy?

How might leaders use people’s stories as a channel of vitality.

The Power of Story: Change Your Story, Change Your Destiny in Business and in Life: Loehr, Jim

Storytelling’s Power To Connect Us, Shift Perspective And Spur Action – NPR