Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Story Teller Tells a Story of a Teller Telling a Story

I remember the way I felt the day John Lennon died. I felt that the world had lost a rare and unqiue person. John Lennon is known to most as a musician. Some people think of him as an artist. Others think of him as the poster child for New York City (which I find a bit weird.) What I think is remarkable about John Lennon is that he had an uncanny ability to reach people in their souls. Find a common message that people would listen to, care about, sing about, remember.

His song "Imagine" is on a poster in front of my desk. When I sit down to write, I am reminded of what a writer should do. A writer should raise consciousness. Tell the truth. Tell a story that will somehow cause a question, or lead to answer. "Imagine" is a plea for peace and strategy about how to make it happen. He says that if we were to stop using beliefs as a reason to fight, then there would be no reason to die. If we were to abandon our need for greed and possession, we could be a brotherhood of man.

Inspired by John Lennon as a writer, I wanted to be able to find the words that speak to people. I want to be able to be part of the truth. So I went to University to become a writer. I earned a degree in English and Journalism, and I have made my living writing ever since. But have I made my living using writing to raise the consciousness of the world on any level?

I am a business writer, a communicator, an insight seeker, and a question asker. Organizational design, strategies and plans are my specialty. I can take a confused room, a confused company, or a confused system, and come out with a direction that almost everyone would say, "that's exactly what I meant to say, but I couldn't say it myself." I can help a person articulate an idea, and bring it to life by giving them the tools and structure to make it happen. I can hear past the noise of confusion to find the words that the voices are trying to express.

I can't explain it. It's not project management (although that's a process I use.) It's not just implementing a planning process that you could read about in any business book (although I have designed enough of my own to write a book). It's not understanding the essence of the balanced scorecard, although I do.

What I think I bring to the conversation is me, and a desire to understand the angst that is stopping people from figuring out why they feel lost, but can not put their collective finger on what that means. There is a downside to this. Sometimes the angst that I feel in others is disturbing to me, and at times, I become disillusioned. But a high bounce factor brings me back. As my dad used to say on the basketball court after being slung aside by someone twice my 4'6", 85 pound frame, "pick yourself up and get back in there."

And that is what I can contribute to the world. I am not John Lennon, and I would never compare myself to him. But I do try, in my own way, to tap into the human experience of the people in my midst. My goals are small and simple. To help people understand. To help people feel smarter. To find a way to express things that bring people together, at least on the page.

Will the many business plans and corporate mazes that I have helped to decipher become historic or hang on some one's wall some day? Will anyone even remember that I was there? Not a chance. In fact, the truth is, most people take it for granted. I am the instrument, the facilitator. The worker bee. Most people do not understand what I bring to them. But sometimes they feel it when it is gone.

And that's all I can do.

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