I’ve just finished facilitating a Talk on Purpose course with a team of 12 people working in the Aged Care sector. The outcome of the course was for each person to deliver a 3-minute TED-like talk that brings the company purpose to life in a way that’s personally meaningful. Each participant is now filming their talk on their own digital device before submitting it for screening at the company’s annual conference later this month.
Yesterday, after three weeks, six lessons and countless hours of their individual time in writing and rehearsing, we held our own private virtual graduation. I was so proud of each person as they faced up to the screen to share their story. I could feel their nervousness as they delivered their opening line and their pure relief as they delivered their last line.
We heard from a Registered Nurse who held the hand of a dying man she’d come to care for as he took his last breath, a Maintenance Officer who’s befriended a 90-year-old veteran suffering from PTSD, a Recreation Activity Officer who’s helped a new home-sick resident find purpose in gardening again, and so many more sweet stories.
As the talks came to an end, there was complete silence and a great deal of emotion. After sitting in the silence awhile we chatted about what they’d learnt and loved and the legacy they wish to leave through their stories. I was sad to be closing the course as we all bid farewell and promised to stay in touch.
Last night I was reflecting on how compassionate and dedicated these Aged Care workers were, and how courageous they were for sharing their story, especially as most of them had never delivered a public talk before. I’d definitely learnt as much from them, if not more, than they had from me. Every one of these wonderful human beings and their stories has left an indelible mark on me.
This course affirmed for me, two big reasons why stories are so powerful.
The first reason is that stories connect us and create community. When we first began the course, no one knew each other and there was a degree of reticence, if not reluctance, amongst the group. Now, through storytelling, they’d made friends with strangers from across the company in totally different jobs and locations. They left keen to keep connected and create their own community to help spread the power of purpose and storytelling amongst their co-workers.
The second reason stories are so powerful is that they connect us to our why. Each person had shared a very personal experience in their work-life that had impacted them deeply and reminded them of why they’d chosen to work in Aged Care. The stories revealed a deep connection to both the company purpose and their own personal purpose. I suggested that when the going gets tough and they question their work, that they recall their story and those of their friends. It’s the absolute best way to return to their why.
It was a timely reminder to dig out the personal story I’d shared with them all on the very first day of the course. In just two-minutes, I’d reacquainted myself with my own why again and was ready to seize the day ahead. It can be easy to lose sight of why, especially as we’re all navigating troubled times. Perhaps your own 2-minute story of purpose might be all you need?
Thank you for joining me and reading each week. I don’t take your support for granted and I hope you glean a little pearl of wisdom from my musings. If you know of anyone my words might help, please suggest they subscribe.
As a thank you for following me, I’m offering The Purpose Project Course for just $97 (RRP $297) today. Use the coupon code ‘Purpose2020’.
If you’re curious about exploring the potential of inviting me to facilitate a purpose storytelling course for your company, please do reach out.
As always, if I can be of service reach out. I’m here. I care.
About me: I’m a Purpose Educator and author of The Purpose Project. I help leaders attract and retain the best people by harnessing the power of deep purpose and storytelling. I do this through keynote speaking, a customised consultative process for co-creating a new purpose statement, the purpose storytelling course and The Purpose Project Course, a 7-step online course to help employees bring their own why to work.