National Story Teller Day: Are you a good story teller?

Dear Colleagues

In honor of National Story Telling Day last week, today’s blog is all about leadership AND the art of telling a great story.  Terrific article by Christine Comford of Forbes (see below).

What comes to mind with regarding to great leadership? Many stories often come in the form of unusual customer service stories.  I remember when taking a tour of Zappos in Henderson, NV the unique atmosphere.  The ballerina in a TuTu that passed me in the hall, the Grey Goose vodka in the company cafeteria, the concierge services while at work, and then there were the stories about great customers service—one story was a conversation that lasted 8 hours as the company record!

Stories are what bind us, what give us a sense of community and identity AND they tell us about character and leadership. What is your story?

My story is about teaching, the unique moments where I connect with my students.  Quick story about my videos. I have my own YouTube Channel.com/DrCherylLentz where I offer teaching videos for my students and writers.  However, my students told me long time ago that my videos were too perfect.  “Too perfect I said?” My students needed my story to be attainable to them and by them.  I needed to be human; I needed to show them that I make mistakes too.

For me as a leader of my students, I had to risk being vulnerable to show them what is possible and that meant being human and not perfect.  Despite some of my videos needing 20+ takes, I now make videos maybe in a take or two—making a mistake or two but I keep going and I keep them in the video.  Why? My story becomes emotionally engaging; my students and I bond over my missteps or misspeaks–so they realize I struggle too.

I thought as a teacher, I had to be perfect to be the example worthy of being followed.  I don’t.  I simply need to allow the ability to connect to my students and show them that I sometimes make mistakes too.  Thus in Christine’s article in Forbes, I follow Step 2: Fabricated stories don’t usually have the same emotional impact as the real ones.  My real story became that I was to be less than perfect, to be real, and authentic—warts and all.

For a recovering perfectionist, this lack of an expectation of perfection was a revelation and WAYYYYY out of my comfort zone.   My willingness to make a mistake publicly AND KEEP IT THERE took some getting used to, realizing that this lack of perfection was the very quality my students are drawn to; reducing the emotional distance between student and teacher, becoming partners in their journey . . .

Thus, the lesson here is that while the goal is to always do our best and to be better today than we were yesterday, perfection is over rated, unrealistic, and unattainable.  We must learn to be who we are –the best we can be today–but sometimes best is not perfect and this the best part of the story to connect with those around us to show them we are still a work in progress too.

Happy thinking!

My best,

Dr. Cheryl Lentz

The Academic Entrepreneur

FORBES

Why Leaders Need To Be Great Storytellers

 https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2016/09/10/have-something-to-say-heres-how-to-ensure-people-hear-you/#60e3edb4623d
, I write about leveraging neuroscience to create remarkable leadership. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
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May 3rd, 2018 by admin

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