Covenant: Tell Compelling Stories

I started this series a few weeks ago, inspired to write down a few of the stickier lessons I've learned about how to engage in work. Showing up involves more than proper attire, skill training, and a go-get-'em attitude. There's some subtle stuff going on underneath. For most, the subtlety goes unnoticed until someone, some kind mentor, points out what was certainly always lurking there.

So far, I've noted that One Does Not Drive Results, gotten myself into some trouble claiming that The Gods Are Always In Charge (controversy surrounding my use of the divine capital Gods), reminded myself that There Are No Marginal Players, reflected that No One Is Apathetic Except When Pursuing Someone Else's Goals, and finally, that Relationships Trump Everything.

Today's installment is about Telling Compelling Stories.

One of my more exciting survival jobs back when I was a songwriter had little on the surface of it to do with writing songs. Early shift pot washer in the steaming basement of a world class restaurant, my job entailed cleaning up after sloppy chefs from the bottom of the intricate social pecking order. Probably no better place than the bottom to see what's really going on up top.

I declared myself The Pot Wizard, and wizard I most certainly was. I thanked people for dumping fresh messes beside my steaming sinks. I delighted in the appreciations I received when a chef found his favorite pot perfectly cleaned. I enthusiastically helped the freight guy when deliveries overwhelmed him, shot endless breeze with Andelino, the Filipino salad chef, and became the sweetheart of the wait staff because I was never too busy to help.

But mostly, the job involved telling compelling stories. Reframing the mess into more compelling forms. Transforming shit into Shine-ola. Fantasy endlessly forming compelling reality.

This lesson I strive to remember. Whatever the job, the real job involves telling compelling stories. We are each writing our story. Part mystery. Part cookbook. Part epic novel. Should we forget this fundamental fact, we are left with nothing to interest the grand children, our neighbors, and, curiously, ourselves.

We live in our stories. That we work within them, is not always so obvious. Tell compelling stories to create a compelling work life.


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