Michael Novak

Michael Novak

CEO

@michaelgarcianovak

Tell Your Own Story

Don’t leave the narrative of your life to random forces, or expect someone else to tell it for you.

November 12, 2019 4 min read

We live in a time when stories can be the difference between those who excel and those who simply survive.

I consider myself a modest man, but one with big dreams and ambitions. I always believed that if I worked hard and did extraordinary things that people would realize and they would help me tell my story. It seemed conceited and egotistical to take care of that task myself.

But over time I realized that my expectations were naive. Extraordinary ideas are difficult to identify, especially if they are focused on the future or ahead of their time. I always say that people are so busy and immersed in our problems that we don’t recognize the future when it’s in front of our faces.

Good ideas, if we don’t know how to communicate them, if nobody sees or understands them, are irrelevant.

The only way we can get people to help us tell our story is if we are the ones who tell it first. We need to help the world see the value of our work. Good ideas, if we don’t know how to explain them, if nobody sees them or nobody understands them, are irrelevant.

Stories are the common currency in our life, especially in a hyper connected world. They keep us informed and interested in each other and help us communicate our value and our purpose in life.

A simple and powerful way to tell a story is by following three basic steps:

1. Choose a point of view.We can tell our story from different points of view:

Personal. This is when we tell our life experience, the context in which we grew up, the challenges we have faced

Company. When we explain why our organization exists, what its purpose is and why it is important. Or how it formed, how you identified the opportunity, how it has grown.

Idea. When we seek to launch a new product or service and show the market new ways to meet their needs.
Future. When we seek to talk about our vision of the future and the impact we seek to have with these products or services.

2. Choose a type of narrative. There are also different types of narratives that we can use to tell our story depending on the objective we want to achieve:

Our experience. Demonstrating that our life experience makes us stronger.

Overcoming obstacles. Shows our resilience and our ability to get ahead.

Constant Evolution. With this narrative we prove our ability to be flexible and adapt to the changing conditions of the world.

Maintaining the essence. It is useful when we want to show how our values make us unique and guide our decisions.

Renaissance. It consists in showing that we can “pivot” by changing direction by learning from our mistakes.

3. Choose and arrange elements. If we examine the most interesting stories, they usually have very particular components. These components can make it easier to tell stories.

Context. The dramatic opening of a story, which gives context and helps us understand where it begins and what is happening.

Perspective The lens from which we are telling the story; the point of view from which we want to tell it.

Characters. The heroes, the villains and the supporting characters that give color to your story.

Challenges. The complex situations that the characters face.

Dilema. The difficult and conflicting decisions that the characters face in the context of the challenges.

Drama. The feelings and emotions that these characters experience.

Lessons. What hese characters learn and discovery throughout the plot.

Possibilities. The new mindsets or worldviews that characters acquire throughout history.

Outcome. How it all ends, what’s the moral of the story, and why it is important for the audience.

A story can be composed of all or some of these elements. The first draft can be done by writing what we want to say in each of these and then arranging them in the order that best suits the objective we seek.

Once we have chosen our point of view, our narrative, and elements, it is much easier to articulate our history, present it to the world, and get them hooked.

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Michael Novak

Michael Novak

CEO

@michaelgarcianovak

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Michael is an expert in innovation, education and entrepreneurship. As a consultant, your expertise is strategic innovation. He is CEO of Novak Innovation.