There’s nothing that bothers me more than waking up at 6.00 am with a story in my head. I’m talking about the feeling that you absolutely need to wake up, grab your computer and write the words that are coming into your mind.
Not only did I get the urge to start writing this morning, I also had the feeling that this was the wrong story, one I shouldn’t tell, one that shouldn’t go in my weekly blog.
In bed the night before I thought “Tomorrow I’ll write a blog about the webinar on how to tell stories that create trust,” but in the morning I was grabbed by a story that was possibly the worst match for what I wanted to say.
That was my dilemma. Should I stay with the story that was hammering away in my head, or try to find another, more suited to the webinar on telling better stories?
I’m a sucker for stories that take me by surprise. Now, you know.
A couple of days ago, over a dinner of delicious vegetarian moussaka, my friend Sue and I were discussing Ocasio-Cortez’s response to Ted Yoho when he called her a “fucking bitch” outside Congress.
My friend is a therapist. She’s seen a lot. We talked about behaviours and attitudes towards women that we’ve witnessed in the street and in various corridors and workplaces, sometimes directed at us, sometimes at other women, and how many times we stayed silent or frozen because, as Ocasio- Sanchez said, it felt to us like “just another day”.
That moving on as if nothing happened is painful. But what’s infuriating is the culture of silence and lack of apology that accompanies it.
If you’re a woman you must have heard these excuses:
– You (or someone else) were dressed inappropriately.
– You (or someone else) should know that I get crazy when you say that.
– You (or someone else) never listen to what I have to say, that’s why this is happening.
– You (or someone else) should have known what you were getting into.
– You (or someone else) should know this isn’t important – just forget it.
– You, and everybody else, should know that some guys are just like this.
Yoho added his own twist to the list:
-I cannot apologise for my passion, for loving my God, my family and my country.
– I’m a father of two daughters and I have a wife.
“I’m someone’s daughter too,” was Ocasio-Sanchez’s response: an interesting way of saying that if you don’t want to apologise directly to the woman in front of you, at least you could apologise to her father’s instead.
If Yoho was going to invoke the rule of the father, he could at least have done it properly: for the sake of consistency with the patriarchy, he should have apologised to Ocasio-Sanchez’s father, had he been alive or her brother.
But he didn’t.
I don’t think it was Ocasio-Sanchez’s intention to portray herself as a daughter of the patriarchy. She was probably thinking about how Yoho invoked perceived decency attached to being a father and a husband to exonerate himself . As Ocasio- Sanchez said, poor behaviours sometimes look for excuses.
A lot can be inferred from the statement “I’m someone’s daughter”. And there are plenty more angles to this story, including the difference between apologies and excuses and the importance of knowing how to apologise. I know there’s more, and I know that this story has the potential to become a great one, but I’m not there yet.
I need to work on it more, find out what it is that I want to say, for whom, and in what situation. Many stories start like this as an image or a sentence in our heads early in the morning or late at night.
You’ll probably agree that this is not the best story to announce a webinar about what stories are and how to practice and develop them in the workplace or in your sales and marketing.
However I hope you also agree with me that when stories first emerge, they are all imperfect, incomplete and lacking in focus.
And that’s what makes them so irresistible and full of potential. That’s why they need our attention.
The free webinar on August the 7th is about how we can find our stories, and how to use them as a powerful tool in marketing or sales. It’s about what to do when you have a semi-formed story and don’t know what to do with it. It’s about getting started, about the courage to pay attention to a single sentence and take it from there.
Stories create connection and connection invites trust, which we all need more of these days.
I hope you will consider joining us on August the 7th.