Regenesys is dedicated to helping people become ethical, authentic, strong leaders. There are many carefully crafted actions, processes and experiences that go into this personal transformation journey. One of them is the Campfire Leadership Conversation. Today we will give you an insight into this life-changing experience.
We all love stories. They can be about family, work, and our experiences. Myths, folklore, and characters in literature and movies explain things to us and others. And we construct our own internal narratives to help us make sense of the world.
Storytelling is an essential part of being human. Our earliest ancestors sat around a fire and exchanged stories that defined their clan and their tribe. These stories formed part of their central identity as individuals and as groups. And to this day we use stories to share information in ways that create emotional connections.
Stories help us to understand situations and each other, and it makes the information memorable long after we have moved on. Because stories create this emotional connection, we can gain a deeper understanding of other people’s experiences.
The most powerful story you will ever be part of is your personal life story. This lies at the heart of the Campfire Leadership Conversation. We create a safe place, as close as possible to the relaxed atmosphere of a campfire, for leaders to share their life stories with their teams. And the outcomes are truly transformational.
1. Telling your story
In our world of online media and unlimited access to movies, we seldom consider our personal life stories to be interesting or to have value. I am here to tell you that you have a powerful life story. Capturing your life story helps you to pinpoint the core values and beliefs that have been foundational to your success. It gives you a voice. Your story creates connections. Your life story helps you to make sense of your past and it guides you into your future. And your story will inspire others.
The interaction between the teller and listener creates something unique for both. The empathy created by the teller carries over into the team and the workgroup community. A leader’s life story is a formidable vehicle for people to appreciate connections and recognise themselves in other people’s experiences.
2. How to get started
The first step to creating your personal life story is to record your personal and work history and accomplishments. Think about what and who has influenced you most. Consider your most memorable moments. What times of your life have brought out the best in you? What challenges and traumas did you have to overcome? Create a timeline of your life. Start with your birth and work your way up to the present, noting important events or moments in sequence.
When you have assembled the inventory of your facts and feelings, reflect on what you want to say and why you want to say it. Your timeline will show recurring trends and phases. After you have taken time to reflect on and consider the parts that you value and those that others will value, it is time to put together the story that connects the events. Clarify the message you want your audience to hear.
Some folks write down their story, while others mentally develop the storyline. Use whichever works for you. Remember that your story is a live event, you aren’t reading from a set of notes. After all, you are the world’s leading expert on this particular topic!
3. Using your story
A story without an audience to hear what is being said is just a collection of thoughts in your head. Many audiences will benefit from your story. Here are three obvious audiences for your story:
Your colleagues at work
Find opportunities to share your story with your team. Your direct reports will love to see the whole of you. They will have a better understanding of you and your reactions to situations, as well as appreciate the diverse life experiences you bring to the organisation. The same applies to your peers in the organisation. The emotional connections initiated by your story will create a common acceptance to draw on as you deal with the stresses and demands of leading an organisation.
Share your story with your family.
This may feel awkward but it’s a good idea to share your life story with your family. Likely, they have never heard about your life from your point of view. It will open new understanding, foster new connections, and create a shared, intertwining family life narrative.
Build your story into other stories
You are a many-sided individual. You are a member of community organisations, sports clubs, and fellowship groups. All of this provides ample opportunity to weave your life story into the work you are doing. A community project you are spearheading may have found its roots in an earlier incident in your life. Take this into the public domain to build enthusiasm and connection.
4. The value of your life story
Your life story has immense value and power. It is the encapsulation of your unique authenticity. This is what your life story will do for you:
Authentic leaders know themselves. They are aware of their strengths and weaknesses. They know their style and how it affects their interactions and relationships with others. The life story summaries and focuses on this for them.
Clarity of values
Authentic leaders know who they are and what they stand for. They do not have to pretend to lead or fake their role. Clear values provide the context for all activities and are a source of stability and coherence. Authentic leaders play their roles from positions of conviction, not status or power. They are pursuing a cause, a mission in which they believe deeply.
The personal values of authentic leaders are strongly aligned with the values required to enact their role as a leader. What authentic leaders want for themselves is what is needed to do their job. The two are completely aligned. Person-role synthesis enables authentic leaders to lead from within, knowing what they are doing is what they believe.
5. Your future life story
Want a successful life and career? Your life story is the script of your success up to the present moment. Now write the script forward into the future and play the lead role. Your life story provides the basis of your future career plan. By visualising and conceptualising your future life story, you are working to make it a reality.
Here are some thoughts to guide you: