21 Chapters
Medium 9781576754276

Step 7: Prepare Yourself

Blumenthal, Noah Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Questions to get you started:

What is the new skill you are trying to master?

How do you prepare yourself for important moments in life?

There is a scene that actors and actresses play out in movies that I am confident you have seen, regardless of your taste in film. They have done it in action movies, comedies, dramas, horror, you name it. It is a scene where the hero is about to do something important and out of the ordinary. Sometimes he needs to have a very important conversation with another character. Sometimes he has to prepare for a big event. What he does in his scene is practice what he is about to perform. Actors who have done this include:

In all of these cases these actors were trying to take unnatural actions and make them natural. They practiced speeches, fighting, posture, and manners. Regardless of the skill, these actors repeated their new behaviors over and over. As they practiced, we, as the audience, saw their nervousness grow at first, then eventually dissipate as they neared the triumphant moment.

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Medium 9781576754276

Step 5: Invite Support

Blumenthal, Noah Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Questions to get you started:

How do you ask people for help?

How do you create an effective support relationship?

For support to be effective, it must be delivered in a way that actually helps you. In order for that to happen, you and your supporter should be equal partners, both having a voice in how you can change and how to make the support relationship work. Early in my career I was on a team in which we failed to create this equality and subsequently failed each other as supporters.

All of the members of my team strived to provide exceptional support to one another. We all prided ourselves on our ability to give one another feedback. We talked about continuously improving our skills and supporting one another’s development, and it turned out it wasn’t just talk. We did it. We gave each other feedback all the time, after meetings and presentations, on our writing and speaking, one-on-one, and in group settings. There was no topic, no 82 time, and no place that was off limits, and it was all in the name of helping our team succeed.

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Medium 9781605090009

Recognize Your Stories

Blumenthal, Noah Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Learning to change your stories takes practice. When you are in an emotional state, whether you are angry, disappointed, stressed out, or excited, your mind will be predisposed to fall back into old patterns and forget to focus on what the hero would see and do. The following tools can help you incorporate hero stories into your daily life.

I hope you enjoyed reading the parable and might even choose to reread it. However, you shouldn’t have to reread it every time you want to refresh your knowledge. The first tool, the quick cards, can help you recapture the lessons of the book. Each of the three quick cards — one for each of the three stories people tell — contains a summary of the major lessons of that story. They are positioned on facing pages for easier photocopying. The quick cards can help you review and thus maintain your understanding of the book.

As you learn new behaviors, it is wise to keep in mind the phrase “out of sight, out of mind.” The second tool, the smart card, can keep the lessons in view. I call them smart cards because they raise your storytelling IQ. These cards are the size of a business card, and they are meant to be used as visual reminders. Carry them with you. Post them on your desk, computer monitor, refrigerator, bathroom mirror, or dashboard. Put them anywhere you will see them and read them at least once a day.

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Medium 9781576754276

Step 1: Identify Your Self-Addictions

Blumenthal, Noah Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Questions to get you started.

What are the behaviors that get you in trouble?

What are your key self-addictions?

I recently started working with two new clients. The first, Nicholas, was very excited about the coaching opportunity. He knew that coaching was in vogue and it made him feel cool. However, he had no real idea of how he wanted to use the opportunity. In fact, Nicholas struggled at the beginning of our work. I asked him a lot of questions and got lots of silence in return. It took a few sessions for him to figure out his goals for the coaching. Nicholas faced the formidable challenge of discovering the changes he wanted to make, personally and professionally.

The second client, Carmen, knew exactly what she wanted to do with our coaching time. She told me that she was completely preoccupied with how other people viewed her. At home she was constantly trying to keep up with the Joneses and maintain an image of perfection. At work she ingratiated herself to everyone and 22 was incapable of taking any risks for fear of making a mistake and looking bad. She was ready from the first moment we sat down to charge into these challenges.

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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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