One Story: Real People, Real Stories of Personal Leadership SM
Why This Podcast?
For most of my life I have been a radio junkie. One of my earliest ambitions was to work in radio. As a teenager, I even studied broadcasting, eventually earning my FCC radio broadcast license (when such was actually still required of announcers and DJs). I still love radio and I love those programs that feature important stories in the lives of people.
I love to listen to National Public Radio for many of these stories. However, I have noticed they are often stories of well-known people, many of whom have been wildly successful in their lives. They are nice stories, but, frankly, I think they are lacking. The fame and success of these people often makes their stories unrelatable to the rest of us.
When I realized I did not have the “big voice” that was required for a career in radio, I turned to other interests. In time, my focus fell on studying and writing about leadership. I have also worked with individuals to help them develop their leadership capacity. In doing this work, I have been privileged to hear the stories of many everyday people who are living extraordinary lives out of public view. They are among the most inspirational stories I have ever heard because they are the stories of real people and their personal journeys of being greater, by doing good, everyday.
This podcast is dedicated to bringing forth those stories that deserve to be told and heard, yet usually remain untold because the storytellers are everyday people, not the rich, famous, or notorious.
Usually we think of leaders as having followers. In fact, there is something known as personal leadership – the leadership of oneself. An important task of leadership is sense making. Leaders of groups help the group make sense of their situation and use that information to determine what happens next. As the leaders of our own lives, each of us needs to make sense of it in order to know how we will live it as best we can. We reflect and develop descriptive mental models that help us understand who we are and how we became the people we are. These, in turn, inform and give us the prescriptive mental models that guide how our lives unfold, including the work we undertake, and the causes we champion.
We may not even know that we are doing this reflective work. For some it is a gradual awareness of how they have become the people they are. Others have an “Aha!” moment that brings it all together quickly and they understand it clearly for the first time.
Allow me to give you an example…The defining story in my life centers on the birth story I was told by my mother. In fact, the story was an impossible one but it had a powerful impact on me. At a very formative time in my life, I embraced it as emotionally true though it was not factually true. As a result, it is the narrative that runs through every other story in my life. It has informed how I see myself, how I do my work, and how I form relationships. However, it has only been within the past decade or so that I have come to more fully understand how that story has guided my life. In a future podcast, I will share my defining story in greater detail.
The experience of living through the circumstances of our defining stories, whether factually true or not, can be described as a crucible experience because of how it affects us. A crucible experience is one that transforms us into the people we are today. Often crucibles can be difficult or challenging, yet they do not have to be at all. Still, a crucible changes us.
- It is the substance of the story of our life.
- It is the reason we can, or must, face every day that follows – no matter how difficult.
- It is the backstory, if you will, that explains who we are.
- It is the story – the narrative – that gives voice to the purpose and meaning of our life.
A crucible experience allows us to develop a story or narrative that helps us explain our life (descriptive mental model) and to know how to live going forward (prescriptive mental model). We use this information to lead ourselves to have the best life we can live.
Crucible experiences help us lead the best lives we can today and everyday.
While there are many transforming experiences in our lives, I believe there is One Story – a central, single, defining, transformational crucible story – we each have. It is a story that is true for us, whether others agree with it or not, because it is our story. It underlies and runs through all the other stories we tell ourselves and others. This is the One Story I am inviting you to share through this podcast.
How do I tell you I’m interested in telling my One Story?
Complete the online One Story Interest Form. You’ll be asked for your contact information and to write a few brief sentences that share the essence of your One Story.
How many people do you expect will respond to this invitation?
I have no clue! Initially, I will distribute the invitation to a mailing list of approximately 1,300 people. If I get even 1% to 5% I’ll have from 13 to 65 responses to review and to select from for the first podcasts.
At the outset, I would like to have enough responses from which to select three to five stories to develop as “test” podcasts.
What happens after I indicate my interest?
If selected for one of the “test” podcasts, I will contact you personally and arrange a time to conduct an interview in which you share your One Story. In the interview we will simply talk. I will ask you to tell your One Story and I will probably ask follow up and clarifying questions. I will record the conversation but it will not be broadcast live. Later, after the interview, I will mix it and produce it as a podcast. Once it is complete, I’ll send it to you to review before I distribute it more widely.
Can I share my crucible story anonymously?
Yes…though, if possible, I would prefer that you share it openly. I do understand there may be circumstances in which it may not be wise to share your story attached to your name or any other identifying details. If you feel your situation is one that requires anonymity, we will talk about it together and try to determine how to handle your story; yet you retain the right to make the final decision about anonymity.
The reason I encourage you to share openly is because stories often seem more real to people if there is a name attached to them. Yours is a real story and I want it to be received as such.
In a worst case scenario – where we cannot agree that your story should be told anonymously – I may decide not to air the story at all.
Is there an agreement or contract that I will need to sign?
Yes, if you are selected for an interview, you will be asked to sign a consent agreement that will outline both your and my rights and responsibilities. Without a signed consent agreement, no interview can take place.
When do you expect to distribute the first podcast?
I think this will take several months. Before I start distributing it, I want to make sure I have put everything together with the highest quality I can attain. I am hoping that the first will be ready for distribution as early as April or May, but it could take longer.
Feel free to contact me a OneStory@nonprofitgp.com.