Changing stories from despair to hope and action
The changing stories this new year
Since the start of 2020, there’s been a literal pall on the refreshed energy one usually associates with New Year.
I’ve never been much one for New Year goal setting — many years in which the ebb and flow of business has taken over sometime by late January, leaving the shiny new goals to wither in its wake.
This year, it seemed a particularly trivial pursuit as the stories have been so bad — of unimaginable destruction Australia-wide from ferocious, unprecedented firestorms, dust and hail, of wanting leadership; as people everywhere in Australia face so much devastation, hardship and loss.
Still, it serves no one any good if we don’t continue to work toward flourishing. It’s almost as if those of us currently spared the peril of the fires are honour-bound to put our backs to the wheel.
With a difference. There is no business as usual in the face of this conflagration.
We need to change the stories. We need good news stories. Stories of ongoing crisis bring with them despair, fear and hopelessness, and foster powerlessness and inaction.
And despite the horror, sandwiched in between were the good news stories, of courage, community, and love.
Good news stories
A flotilla of trucks from southern Victoria bearing life-giving fodder for cattle in Gippsland where all their feed was burned.
A woman running into the embers to save a koala; firefighters from LA; an initiative of a business community DENT, to which I’m fortunate to belong, raising the money and ferrying food to 60 starving firefighters in an embattled high country village.
Changing stories alone cannot change that narrative, but they’re a powerful antidote to negativity, and an inspiration toward positive energy.
And action is what we need. We need to believe we can make a difference.
A band of firefighters know they cannot tackle the whole fire front, but without taking action as they can, where would we be?
So what if we were each to consider how we reframe ‘why we do what we do and for whom? It might be just a twist of the dial that’ll see us changing stories, and so our work reaches further toward doing good for others, animals, and the planet.
In my case, a shift in storytelling training from how to communicate better, to Changing Stories—how to change the narrative from despair to action.