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Next Chapter

The 1980’s brought us many things, not least some amazing music from groups like Human League, Alison Moyet, Wham, Duran Duran and one of my personal favourites Howard Jones. But I also remember the popularity of ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’, or ‘Secret Path’ Books and then a series of computer games that followed the same model. These were a series of children's game-books where each story is written from a second-person point of view, with the reader assuming the role of the protagonist and making choices that determine the main character's actions and the plot's outcome. At the end of each chapter the reader was faced with a decision to make to take them to the next chapter. Often in the books and games it involved a monster or ghoulish creature that the hero faced and they had to decide how to respond with the tools that they had available.

Maybe the reason these books and games are so popular is that it replicates life. We are often in situations where we have to make a choice that means we start a next chapter. Over lockdown during Coronavirus leaders have been faced with that very situation: Facing a monster that threatened our very survival and we had to decide how to respond with the tools that they had available. So how do we write our next chapter confidently?

In March 2017 I established Everyday Leader. It was slightly earlier than planned due to my previous job ending earlier than planned. It was time for a new chapter in my leadership journey and time to innovate something new. So, what were the things that I learnt then that can help us write every new chapter that we face as leaders. Like the heroes of the secret path, it comes down to these three things.

  • Ask - What story do you want to write?

  • Allies – Who can partner with me?

  • Adventure – Follow the path and see where it will lead you

Ask - What story do you want to write?

Knowing your purpose and values is one of the key aspects of being resilient when you face challenges. It also acts like a filter that you can run any decision making through. During lockdown, I used my core purpose of ‘Inspire and equip people to lead’ as a filter to the things that I could do with Everyday Leader. The result of which was online coaching, online training, ebooks, Leadership Lounge podcast and release my book, ‘Everyday People, Everyday Leaders’. Each one of these decisions made that fit the purpose. As a leader, when you face the next chapter, run it through your purpose filter.

Allies – Who can partner with me?

Every adventure has a hero, but also has people who journey on that adventure with them. The hero is not alone. Back in 2017, when I started Everyday Leader, my allies were crucial. Some still journey with me now. Some supported at that moment. The key thing as leaders is identify them, tell them the story you want to write and ask them to journey with you.

Adventure – Follow the path and see where it will lead you

We can often worry about ‘what if I make the wrong decision?’ This can sometimes lead to not making a decision at all. In most adventure story this leads to the monster gobbling up the hero, and the same often happens in life. So how do you overcome this? Firstly, evaluate the possibilities as best as you can. Secondly, it is just about giving the adventure a go and seeing where it leads. You can always adjust the direction later if you find an obstacle. Prince EA, social media commentator, in one of his brilliant videos has a great line to help us here. He says, “Do not go where the path may lead, but go where there is no path, and leave a trail.”

Writing the next chapter is about us innovating a new way forward. You may find my ebook on innovation helpful as it outlines 5P’s that can help us innovate. Click this link to read it.

So, what story do you want to write? What trail do you want to leave for someone to follow? Write that next chapter!

This is the second in the Leaders write the story series of blogs.

Everyday Leader is here to inspire and equip everyday people to lead. We have a range of resources on our website to support you .

Everyday People, Everyday Leaders book:

Everyday People, Everyday Leaders videos:

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