How often do you lose small things, like your phone? Your keys? You wander to and fro, looking places you’ve already looked (under the seat) and random places (in the refrigerator), and when you try to pull up the memory in your brain of exactly what you did, you come up blank.
Or how about big things, like your car? Ever wander up and down the rows of cars in a parking garage, mumbling letters and numbers in your head as if asking questions of the great cement structure? “E2? E1? G3?”
Things get lost easily in this busy world, both the smallest things and the largest things. Even the most precious things go astray – like our stories. Do you ever find yourself preparing for a speech, or a blog, or talking with a partner and knowing you’ve got a relevant story, but when you call it up, you just get white noise?
Sometimes you might need to remember something really big, like the reason why you do your work , or something really small that could grow up to be a story one day – like a funny thing your kid did at the car wash. And without your story, it comes out like an explanation that just doesn’t have the feeling. Regardless, it’s good to have a way of keeping your stories so you can find them when you need them. Here are some tips for just that.
1. Get a story box. Make it something nicely designed and special…and old cigar box or jewelry box. Mine is a wooden box from Marrakesh that Joel got me last year. It has secret locks…but I never lock it, because then it’s too hard to put stories in!
2. As stories come up, write them on a small piece of paper, or a notecard. If you’re at your desk, great, if not, put them in your wallet for when you get to where your story box is.
3. If it’s not a complete story, don’t worry about it! Look for ideas, sparks of stories. Once you put them in the box, they’ll grow.
4. Keep it simple! A few lines, maybe a title for the story, an opening line, and a few talking points that will help you remember. Maybe include a lesson or two, and the last line of the story.
5. When you’re looking for your stories, review your other cards too. This will help strengthen your entire story collection.
The more you care for your stories, the more you’ll develop them, and the more you’ll remember them…and the more you’ll use them.
Send us a picture of your story box!