Faffing for England…

My mentor is on occasion a complete bugger. A couple of years back, after I’d known him a while, he set me a challenge – to put my life plan down on paper. More specifically I had to do it in four thousand words. Which is a lot of words btw. And to make matters even more complex he wanted it as a story.

Major *eeeek* moment.

There’s an art to telling stories.  I’ve heard them told well, and I’ve seen them delivered badly.  I learnt at an early age that if you want to hold someone’s attention you have to be able to tell a good story. It’s true for bedtime stories with kids, jokes or anecdotes with your mates down the pub, writing a communication at work or giving a presentation. However if you want to get your message across – or at the bare minimum to stop your audience from falling asleep – you need to follow a basic rule.

A story must consist of a beginning, a middle and an end. Simples.

In the beginning you set the scene, paint a picture of the situation. Perhaps a girl is treated badly by her older sisters, forced to clean the house and cook while they go out partying.

Then in the middle something happens – a crisis – perhaps a three-headed monster lays siege to a tiny hamlet or our lead character has some kind of epiphany moment. Perhaps her fairy god-mother produces some haute couture and gets our girl to the ball bang on time, but she has to exit stage left before the prince can get her name and number.

Finally, there is the end. By this point your audience is looking to you to provide the conclusion. If you’ve told your story well there should be a sense of dissonance and a positive outcome is expected, nay demanded. Perhaps the prince tracked down the girl via a bit of online stalking, tried the slipper on her and it fitted and now the girl is saved from her horrible sisters.

Easy when you break it down into bite size chunks isn’t it?

I’ve been having a faff / worry / panic over the weekend. And last week too truth be told. I’ve got lots going on right now in my little world, and on top of that I’ve *acquired* a new project at work. And this new project is pushing me a little bit out of my comfort zone.  It’s one of those “Oh my God, I’ve got to stand up and speak in front of lots of people about WHAT?!” kind of projects. Just thinking about it is making me get a little bit antsy right now. And my heart is definitely beating faster.

Taking a step back for a second, I know that I am more than capable of absolutely nailing this project despite my nerves. And minor bunny in the headlights moment. I know my subject matter well. I know how to pitch this. I know how to spin this story. The task at hand is by no means insurmountable. I just need to break it down into bite size chunks. Which is what I’ve spent today doing. Now it looks and feels achievable. Aces.

A *wise* person (not a Scooby who – sorry) once said this: “Worry is like a rocking chair – it gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” They’ve got a point you know.

2 thoughts on “Faffing for England…

  1. Mel! I had no idea you had a blog – how can this be? Or am I suffering from early signs do dementia?! Anyways, great post and a great example of how powerful perception is. From where I’m standing I would never have guessed you would have such thoughts about a challenge like that. Just goes to show. Obviously need to get to know you more – roll on #socreccamp12 😉

    • G! How could you not know this? Maybe it is early signs of dementia indeed?! Thanks for your kind words. For the record I am bricking it (lovely phrase I know) and I’m sure it will get worse before it gets better. But we are where we are. This is my job and something that I have to do. Its not optional… And I know I will nail it. I know my stuff, I can think and speak at the same time and if all else fails I can pull *jazz hands* out of the bag! Roll on #scoreccamp12 and also here’s hoping that we get to do some work together very soon! 🙂

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