No, I don’t mean the information that would normally find it’s way into your elevator pitch. Rather, I mean the bigger story that frames what you do – and propels your career. That is, the backstory of conditions that exist before the hero (you) even show up, and the flashforward to show the bright future your work brings about.
Sounds complicated, right?
Well, actually, there are career-related story frames that can guide you. Yet, I have a new favorite that I learned about from my friend Carol Ross. It’s the Pixar Pitch. Described by Dan Pink in To Sell Is Human, it goes like this:
Once upon a time _____. Every day, _____. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
It’s powerful. In fact, I’ve already used it to help people identify the words to best convey their vision, tell the story of their business, clarify their mission – and of course, quickly uncover the why of their careers.
Frankly, I believe working with a coach to uncover your story is the very best way to gain powerful insights for future success. Still, if you want to begin to think about the context for what you do, the Pixar Pitch is a great tool. [Tweetable] So, to give you a feel for the kind of context it can create, I thought I’d share the story that led me to create Success Reimagined:
Once upon a time, most people had the view that career success meant joining a big company, climbing the corporate ladder, and retiring with a gold watch and pension.
Each day, every day, people went to the office and demonstrated their loyalty, and always believed that their companies would be loyal in return, and take care of them.
Then one day, big companies realized that technology allowed them to get by with fewer workers. They decided that loyalty wasn’t really a two-way street.
So, they started displace employees by showing them the door.
Because of that people saw they had to take care of their own careers, and because of that they tried new ways of working, and because of that the idea of becoming a free agent became really attractive for the independence and self-reliance it represented.
So, more and more people chose this path, until finally the culture changed and people started to reimagine success, defining it in their own terms. And even better, they realized they had the power to work and learn and grow by seeking help from other people. And so they built powerful communities of practice and trusted networks to sustain them.
Oh, and that gold watch? Displaced by the technology symbol of an empowered work force: Smart phones with productivity tools and social apps.
Notice that this does not convey my experience. Rather, it sets out what I see has happening in the world, gives a hint of why I do what I do, and conveys the context for my work.
What about you? How would you frame your career? Try it out. And if you’d like to share, leave your Pixar Pitch in a comment to this post. I’d love to see yours!