Working With Your Story

By working with your stories as they emerge, exist and evolve, you can create a much healthier and free-flowing connection between how you use your outer world to explain your inner world, and your inner world to understand your outer world, and the symbols that you use to make these connections. Rather than feeling that you are just playing a small part in someone else’s story, you begin to become aware of how you can use your different perceptions of your self to understand more about the connections that you create with the people, places, events and objects that you encounter in your organisation and enterprise space. The more that you understand your stories, the more that you can understand your self and have the opportunity to connect with who you actually are, what you really need and what you truly believe.

Why Idealised Stories Don’t Work

In many organisations, carefully crafted and sanitised stories are told by leaders and distributed by PR departments. These idealised stories attempt to describe an idealised version of the organisation that inevitably diverges from what is actually happening within the organisation and its wider enterprise space. These types of stories are often constructed with the assistance of professional storytellers and usually take the form of allegories, which are then shared as corporate parables that reflect idealised company values. Although these stories may be intended to inspire and connect the individuals in the organisation, they often have the opposite effect, resulting in a feeling of disconnection and disillusionment. As well as having idealised futures, we often have idealised stories about the organisation’s or enterprise’s past, where what happened was the only outcome that could have conceivably occurred.

Listening To Your Story

it is tempting to think that if you share the same idealised story with as many people as you can, it will somehow make it happen in reality but unless there is a healthy feedforward-feedback circle between your inner world and your outer world, then it is unlikely that your story will show up in the way that you would like it to. Instead of continually pushing your story forward into the outer world without feeding back how it is being received, just listen to the story that you are telling and work with the symbols that you are using to connect your inner and outer worlds stories. The symbols will help you to identify the differences between your inner and outer world stories and how these differences are causing tensions to emerge for you.

Learning From Your Story

if you let your outer world story constantly push into your inner world story, without pushing back against it, you will often feel that what is happening in your story is the only thing that could possibly have happened, rather than realising that you have always the power to change your story. By feeding forward against the stories that are feeding back into your inner world, you can learn from the stories that you create rather than just always telling people the same story again and again, and also telling your self the same story again and again. Although bad outcomes can make good stories, you can easily become stuck in an unhealthy story if you just do nothing, rather than learning from it, so you can move beyond it.

Looking Beyond Your Story

The idealised stories that are told by leaders, and that you may sometimes tell yourself, are often a way of avoiding working with the tensions along the boundaries between how things should be in an organisation and how the actually are. Trying to ignore these tensions results in a disconnection between inner and outer worlds, leading to a situation where the stories that are being told become more and more removed from reality. The stories often become a way of escaping reality into some form of promised land where everything will be perfect. Instead of trying to avoid the tensions along the boundaries between how things should be and how they are, you can use them as a way to look beyond the stories that you are currently telling yourself so that they will converge in reality rather than always diverging into disappointment.

Living In Your Story

By listening to your stories, learning from them and looking beyond them, you can articulate a much clearer understanding of the connections between your inner and your outer stories, and the symbols that you use to describe them. As you connect your inner and your outer stories by using symbols, the people, places, events and objects that you encounter in your outer world are experienced as characters, locations, deeds and artefacts in your inner world. The healthier and more free-flowing that this connection is, the more likely it is that you will bring your story into life. Through viewing a story as a living process by working with the symbols that you use to describe your perceptions of characters, locations, deeds and artefacts in your inner world, you can truly live your story, rather than your stories just always being tales that you tell.

Turning Your Story Around

Many organisations work with their stories retrospectively, viewing them as a single unbroken causal chain that emerged, existed and evolved in the only possible way that it could. Although this may make some sense in looking backwards, it is often of little help in looking forwards as you continue to work with your stories and develop them. Instead of just seeing your story as an inevitable sequence of events, working with the symbolic connections that you make between your inner and your outer worlds enables you to turn your stories around, not just your individual stories but also the collective stories that you create within your organisation and enterprise space. By understanding the significance of the symbolic connections you make, you can identify what is your most meaningful work, what your deeper purpose is and how you can explore your wider potential.