How to Use Storytelling to Launch Your Career
by Rebecca Acree, on Dec 30, 2019 12:00:00 PM
“So, how can I help you?” my career counselor asked. I hesitated, unsure where to begin. “It’s already the beginning of Senior Year, and I have no idea what I want to do when I graduate.” He nodded, unconcerned. Clearly he’d heard this before. “Well, what are your interests, your hobbies? What makes you happy? What’s your story?”
Looking back, it would have saved me a lot of stress if I had thought about these questions sooner. Grab a pen and paper, because today we’re going to learn how to launch your career using storytelling!
What are your goals?
Start by thinking about your long-term dreams and desires. Where do you see yourself in the future? Don’t just focus on specific career paths. Instead, think about outcomes. Do you want to be a leader? Do you want to create things? Do you want to be independent? Do you want more structure? Consider the circumstances that would make you feel the happiest and most productive.
Ultimately, it all boils down to this: How do you want your life story to play out? Take a minute to jot down a few ideas. We’ll work backward from there!
Who are you now, and who do you want to be?
Next, think about who you are as a person and the qualities you’re known for. Be broad, and think beyond qualities that are specifically associated with work. Are you funny? Loyal? Spirited? Courageous? Introspective? Kind? Playful? It might help to ask friends and family for their input. Write down a few of your most prominent qualities as you are today.
Once that’s done, spend some time reflecting on who you would like to be in the future. Are there any qualities not on your list that you aspire to embody? If so, write those down as well.
What are your stories?
Now, take a look at your list. What’s the story here? What narrative do these qualities reveal?
Think about times when you exhibited these qualities. It doesn’t have to be all at once — just identify a few moments from your life that exemplify your most prominent traits. Then, turn each moment into a 3-sentence story. What did you do, say, and feel in those moments? Be as descriptive as possible.
Put it all together
If you’re wondering why you still don’t have a specific career clearly spelled out on the page in front of you, don’t worryI’ve got some news for you: that’s not the point of the exercise.
Rather, the point is to help you clearly articulate who you are and what’s important to you. No one can make this decision for you. Only you can decide what career path is right for you. But now, you’re one step closer to figuring that out. You can use this information about your goals, traits, and stories to identify patterns and make connections between your natural talents, interests, and disposition with career opportunities.
There’s no right answer here; just what’s right for you. You already have everything you need to figure out your career path — just look to your stories!