Stories are the way we make sense of things, as well as commit them to memory. They are at the heart of our histories. Stories are fractal – every story has smaller stories within it, and is itself part of an ever developing larger story.
I’ve come to understand that stories are a good way to understand our relationship with our work. At any one point, both the organisation we work for and ourselves are at different points along our story line. We are founded, or born, and spend the rest our our time time working out who we are and want we want. It changes.
As we develop, sometimes the story of the organisation and the story of us align. We are good together, companions on a path that suits us both. We learn from each other, support each other, and enjoy the journey.
At other times, our stories diverge. Our needs become different. The organisation wants to settle down, but the individual wants to explore – or maybe the other way round. Either way, there comes a point where paths separate if each is to achieve what it wants from life.
The complication arises when separation needs to occur, but doesn’t. One becomes dependent on the other, or perhaps just takes it for granted. The pain comes when something unexpected happens, and a separation is forced upon the relationship. Business Failure, Headhunters, Circumstance.
When that happens, one or the other, or maybe neither is prepared. They’ve forgotten their story, and have to try and remember it; to pick it up where it trailed off.
It’s a salutary lesson. If we are not actively living our story, developing it, exploring it, the story goes into hibernation.
If we’re not aware, right now, of where we are in our story, either as individuals or organisations, and are making sure they are developing, we have a problem.