At school, there were only two subjects I enjoyed and was good at – History and English.
I’ve long been fascinated by our distant past and what drove early Neolithic communities on Orkney to go to great lengths to build massive stone circles and huge tombs, or how the pyramids were really built so perfectly in line with certain constellations. I also loved History because looking at the past can inform our future (if we choose to look) and I adored English for the power words had to transport us to different worlds, challenge us and make us feel emotions in a whole new way (if you don’t believe me, watch this short clip from one of the greatest movies of all time).
Where these two subjects completely align is in the medium of the story – especially oral history. Although long forgotten in most modern cultures, every indigenous culture still has a powerful tradition of telling its stories to the upcoming generation so they may continue to be rooted in the history, lore, and the ways of the community. These stories include creation myths, legends of where they came from (which will have more than a grain of truth embedded in them), and tales of the people down through the ages. They have their stories to tell – and to live.
And so do you.
I’ve recently been reminded of a Latin phrase that is very powerful – Fabula est vestri.
It translates as “the story is yours” and it’s a powerful reminder that, as business leaders and founders, we have a unique story to tell that will connect with the right people whether they be new clients or team members.
When we work with clients on their Manifesto, we spend a good chunk of time doing a deep dive into the history and journey of their business. We do this because they remind themselves of the journey they have come on and have that sense of history that they can share with those whom they work with. Never underestimate the power of your story.
But what fascinates me more than almost anything else is finding out why people founded their business in the first place. And, so often, it sprang from a deep desire to not do things in certain ways. Nearly every founder I speak to launched their business because of the negative experiences from their former roles as employees and they didn’t want their own business to be/do/think in those ways.
Of course, there were lots of positives as well, but some of the core drivers have been about being different, treating the team and clients in the right way and a more proactive approach to the work. But whatever the original vision and motivation, one of the things that connect the majority of our clients is they had lost touch with those drivers and vision. As part of our work with them, they have the opportunity to reconnect with that original heart and passion and it’s given them a renewed sense of purpose. They remind themselves of their story and as they do, others are brought into the story and become part of it.
Just as the elders share the oral history of their culture with the younger generations so they identify as part of the community and can hand down the stories to the next generation, so these founders are rediscovering their stories and helping their team and prospective clients to connect with it and get that all-important ‘buy-in’.
So what is your story? How can you tell it so others can become a part of the community – the tribe – that you are building? If you need any support or have any questions on how to reconnect with, and tell, your story please do not hesitate to get in touch. The story is yours and we’re here to help you tell it.
That you are here—that life exists and identity / That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. (Walt Whitman – O Me! O Life!)