It can be hard to find a silver lining in everything that’s happened over the last six months. We’ve experienced personal and professional upheaval that has affected us in different ways – and perhaps in some ways that we don’t even realise yet. It’s no wonder that people are ready to draw a line under 2020 and look ahead to 2021. At one point I thought it might be better just to cancel the year altogether. Anyone else ready for a New Year’s Eve Halloween on 31 October?
But as with all hardships, there is something we can learn from this. A silver lining. A better way to do things. A more connected way. If 2020 was a dress rehearsal, what would it mean for 2021? How would things change? We’ve been thinking about this at Write the Talk quite a bit. Now is the time of year that we’re in full planning mode for what’s ahead, and it’s also the time of year that we’re supporting clients with their story for the future.
Unpredictable? Yes. But a good story keeps you on the edge of your seat. Impossible? Not at all. If this year has shown us anything, it’s the power of connection – between people and communities, and the resilience of a vision for the future. And these are the building bricks of storytelling.
If 2020 were a movie character, it might be Daniel Craig’s bruised Bond in Skyfall. Coming back from the brink of tragedy and wrath. Ragged, broken, a little unsure of what’s next. But resilient, tough and ready to get back in the driving seat. Rediscovering purpose. With a martini in hand.
If your 2020 was a movie, what kind of movie would it be? An origin story, perhaps. A rebirth. Or overcoming the monster. And who has been the protagonist at centre of it – are you a brooding Daniel Craig or a suave Sean Connery? The character in a story is central to how people engage with it, so try not to be a George Lazenby (who, you ask? … exactly my point).
Go one step further and ask yourself what kind of story will your 2021 be. What are the big storylines that take people on the journey? What monsters have you overcome and what did you learn? Who are the main characters and how will they lead people through the ups and downs of what’s ahead? Make it a multi-million-dollar blockbuster or a Cannes-winning arthouse production. Make it all the things your 2020 movie should have been, but better.
2021 is as an opportunity to rewrite your story. Improve. Innovate. Believe.
As Robert McAffee Brown once said, ‘storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today’. And the world so desperately needs ideas. Your ideas.
So, start with a blank page and go from there.