We make decisions based on what story we believe we are living in. Last year, a good many people were living in a survival story. It was a drama of win or lose. Our mailbox was filled of messages saying we were in the fight of our lives. People fought over toilet paper, for justice, and against political opponents.
A man is always a teller of stories, he lives surrounded by his own stories and those of other people, he sees everything that happens to him in terms of those stories and he tries to live his life as if he were recounting it.John Paul Sartre, The Words
Perhaps too much of the story of 2020 was a battle. And so, many people lived their lives as if they were telling a story of conflict.
What will be the story of 2021?
In the Iliad, Homer tells a story of the battle of Troy (the term Achilles heel comes from this 3000 year old poem). It is a story of conflict. I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit tired of the conflict story. Everything has been politicized and polarized.
Fortunately, Homer wrote another great story, the Odyssey. It is a story of adventure, following the exploration in the ten years following the Iliad.
All the great stories of the world elaborate one of two themes: that all life is an exploration like that of the Odyssey or that all life is a battle like that of the Iliad.Eugene Peterson, Run With the Horses
2020 told stories of how to survive. 2021 will tell stories of exploration.
This year we’ll read stories of adventure and expanse: Friends will change jobs and cities. Entrepreneurs will be trending again. If you help people travel, launch a start-up, or in self-discovery it will be a banner year.
Whatever you do, and whatever you lead, 2021 is the year of opportunity. It will be the year of the explorers. This year we will do more changing. We will be setting direction. We will need leaders to take us there. We will look to stories that inspire us to reach further, act braver, and connect deeper.
Whether that unknown future intimidates or excites you, here’s how you lead through change:
- Clarify a story worth telling.
- Invite people to participate in it.
- Create structures that support it.
The story you believe you’re part of influences how you behave. This year, lead a story of adventure.
I’ll be back next week to unpack how clarifying your organization, personal, or families story starts by naming the right problem. Subscribe today and I’ll send it straight to your inbox.