21 Chapters
Medium 9781605090009

Build a Community of Heroes Around You

Blumenthal, Noah Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

One great way to cement your learning is to build a community of people who share the lessons and point of view. If your colleagues, family, or friends also understand the idea of storytelling, then the ideas from this book can become part of your common language.

You can help one another craft new stories when one of you is struggling. What story are you telling? can become a question you ask each other. You can hold one another accountable to keep using these techniques.

There are two great ways to build a community of supporters. The first is admittedly self-serving on my part. You could buy copies of this book for the people with whom you want to share this concept. The common grounding of Jeff’s story and the smart cards can guide you as you help one another tell hero stories.

The second way is based on the truism “If you want to truly understand a subject, teach it.” Get your group of supporters together and teach them about the three stories and how to turn stories around. Go to www.be-the-hero.com for more resources, including additional uses for hero stories and lesson plans for teaching this material.

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Medium 9781605090009

First Steps to Take Today

Blumenthal, Noah Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Now it is time for you to go and tell heroic stories and take heroic actions. If you have read this far, you have probably already recognized times in your life when you have been both a hero and a victim. As you work to become a master of heroic stories, take these three steps to move forward now:

Place your smart cards where you will see them regularly, and read them at least once a day, every day, for the next month. Awareness is the first step toward any change.

Tell someone else about these techniques. The best way to learn is to share your knowledge.

Go to www.be-the-hero.com and enter the access code HEROSTORY to find many additional tips and tools to help you think and act like a hero every day.

Remember, mastering your stories doesn’t happen automatically. Just as it takes time and practice to learn how to play the piano, swing a golf club, or cook a perfect Grand Marnier soufflé, it also takes time to master your heroic stories. And even the world’s best chefs still botch a dish every now and then.

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Medium 9781576754276

Step 3: Make Powerful Commitments

Blumenthal, Noah Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Questions to get you started:

What are your goals?

What is going to get you through the times when you want to give up?

Fairly early in my career, I had the opportunity to go to a four-day leadership-training workshop, where I learned about exceptional leadership behaviors. I practiced these behaviors and was videotaped so that I could see just how much work I still had to do to master these skills. I left the workshop with a deep understanding of what I currently did, what the “masters” did, and what the gulf was between us. I thought I was committed to changing my behavior. I was wrong.

I told myself that I was going to become great at these skills. Why? Because I was committed to becoming a great leader. What happened? Within three months, the lessons of that workshop were a distant memory. I convinced myself that I was in fact a good, if not great, leader, and I moved on. It became easier for me to ignore 46 my commitment than to continue any effort because there was no passion in my commitment and it therefore had no power. Furthermore, it was stored away where no one could see it, making it easy to disregard and forget.

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Medium 9781605090009

Situation Stories

Blumenthal, Noah Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

It was cool outside, but the fresh air felt good. Martin led Jeff out of the building and a couple of blocks away to a nearby park. Jeff wondered why he didn’t do this more often. He could feel his head clearing. Just this short walk, the fresh air, the trees in the park were relieving some of his tension.

They stopped at a railing that bordered a pond. Martin leaned against the railing and stared out at the water. Jeff could see him taking long deep breaths. It was almost hypnotic.

They stood in silence for a while until Jeff’s impatience got the better of him. “So what is the next story?”

“First, tell me what you see.”

“You mean here in the park?”

Martin nodded.

“I see a pond, trees, building tops beyond the trees. There are lots of birds, mostly pigeons, a few ducks.”

“That’s good. How about the people?”

Jeff looked around. “Well, a young couple is sitting on the bench over there. Some old men are playing bocce. A handful of people are scattered around — I assume from the way they are dressed that they are businesspeople.”

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Medium 9781576754276

Step 8: Act In the Moment

Blumenthal, Noah Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Questions to get you started:

How will you realize that the moment to act has arrived?

Who will decide your actions, you or your self-addiction?

Two months after I quit my job to create my own consulting company, I heard a speaker deliver a presentation on how people who start their own businesses need to be a little bit crazy. I found him entertaining and insightful, but I didn’t realize how on target he was at the time. After a couple of years in business it was much clearer to me just how crazy people have to be to succeed as entrepreneurs. As the owner of a business there is no stability. There always seems to be either too much work, or too little. Busy is definitely better than bored, but sometimes it can be extreme.

I remember one time in particular when I felt as though all the opportunities I had been hoping for hit at the same time. All of a sudden I had a ton of work to do and no time to do it. I discussed my situation with a friend, and he helped me develop strategies to keep me focused and avoid the distractions that could eat away at 120 my time. It was a very useful conversation. It helped me feel like I could make it through the busy time and lowered my stress level considerably. One of our strategies was that I wouldn’t spend time on the Internet during the day unless it was for research into one of my client projects. All of the news that I usually read online would have to wait for the end of the day.

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