Whose Story Is It?

People with whom I worked are often hesitant when they hear about my new book – Lead Your Team to Win. They ask, “What page am I on?”
Everyone is convinced the book is about them, since they had some personal or professional challenge that was resolved during my time as their colleague or leader.
Hence, I was not surprised when I answered the call to hear the anger in his voice. He said that when he read the book he found his story on many of the pages and he thought that was wrong.
This is the moment I have dreaded since I wrote the book. I spent many nights asking myself, “How do I share my story without sharing the stories of others who are involved?” “How do I tell the truth and not offend?” “ How do I keep people’s stories safe?”
In the end I decided that this book is my story. My intention is to share my story, not anyone else’s. I recite the tales as examples of the challenges that were presented and how these were resolved and I do not ascribe what I do not know to the persons involved. I wrote from a place of honour and compassion for all the persons involved including myself.
I changed names, genders, bundled experiences, blurred timelines, yet this man found his story in the book.
I am curious about why people think that their experiences are unique and have not happened to someone else before. I have advised, listened to, assisted, encouraged, helped people create and achieve goals and promoted self development, to all the people that have crossed my path.
I have supported colleagues, co-workers, team members and friends through divorces, career changes or as they tried to achieve some dream. More than one leader in more than one organization have questioned if I wanted to keep a team member because of alleged incompetence. I have mentored and coached those “incompetent” team members and witnessed their transformation into valuable members of the organization.
Most organizations identified the flaws that make some people “un-promotable”. I have collaborated with the flawed ones to create new labels and get promoted. And I could go on.
Yet I have never believed that I am the only person, the only leader who enhances lives. I have seen some amazing leaders who have changed the lives of team members. I have worked with leaders who positively motivate and develop staff both professional and personally. I just write about it and use different words to describe it.
Sorry to burst the bubble people, but we have a lot more in common than we think. While we are each special and unique in our own way, we often share the same experiences.
After he calmed down I asked him to call me back in six months and tell me if he still felt the same way. I asked him not to identify his story to anyone, instead let people tell him which story is his. When that happens we can have a further chat.
We are on month four and he has not yet called, perhaps other people have claimed his story as theirs.

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