Wax On, Wax Off
As our Story Series continues another week, you may be wondering: “When will we start making practical business applications with all this?”
Ironically, today’s story features someone who can relate.
Once upon a time, Daniel was a cool kid from New Jersey, but after moving to Southern California it’s hard for him to fit in. He meets one girl who’s pretty cute, but talking to her immediately makes him a target for her ex-boyfriend and his friends, who also happen to be violently good at karate.
After they beat Daniel up a couple of times, a guide comes to the rescue. Mr. Miyagi proves to be more than just the maintenance man at Daniel’s apartment – he agrees to give Daniel some karate training so he can protect himself. To start, he invites Daniel to his home and assigns him a bunch of chores:
- Sanding the floor
- Waxing the car
- Painting the fence
- Painting the house
By the end of the week, Daniel is exhausted and confronts Mr. Miyagi about it. It certainly feels like Mr. Miyagi’s commitment to train him was just an excuse to get some free labor to do some work around his house. Like an email reader who keeps getting told stories, he’s like, “When am I going to learn some actual karate?!?!”
That’s when Mr. Miyagi’s brilliance is revealed:
So genius. Let’s check out how it matches up with the story building blocks we’ve been discussing every week:
- Who’s the main character in the story? Daniel
- What’s the character’s problem? He’s new in town and keeps getting beat up
- What/Who is the guide that the character meets? Mr. Miyagi
- How does this guide help the character? He agrees to train Daniel (and gets the bullies to stop fighting until they all face each other in a karate tournament)
- What’s the plan? He has Daniel do a bunch of chores around his house
- How did he execute this plan? At first, he’s mad that he has to do all this work instead of training, not knowing the work WAS the training.
- Did he win? He learns karate, takes the girl to Golf-n-Stuff in and wins the tournament with the most epic crane kick of all time.
- How did the character transform? Whiny kid who resents his circumstances, only to find it’s those very same circumstances that make him champion of the Tri-Valley
So back to the original question: When will we stop focusing on stories and start doing the practical business application? The stories ARE the practical business application. Your best branding, your best marketing, your best sales strategy – it all begins with a story.
I hope this inspires you to look at your work differently. Maybe, right in the middle of all your daily tasks, a new set of skills is emerging. What level of mastery have you already achieved? How can you share that story with the world?
Here’s to crane-kicking your work in the face today!