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Edge Perspectives with John Hagel: Personal Narratives: Insight and Impact

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Personal Narratives: Insight and Impact

We all have a personal narrative, even though few of us have made the effort to articulate it. That’s a shame because our personal narrative can be a source of deep insight as well as a great way to amplify impact. Done right, they can be a powerful weapon in helping us to escape from the dark side of technology.

I’ve written a lot about narratives, for example, here and here. Narratives are different from stories in that they’re open-ended (they don’t yet have a resolution) and they’re ultimately about the people you’re talking to, not about you, the story teller, or some other people. Narratives are powerful because they are ultimately a call to action – they help people to see how they can have greater impact.

There are social narratives and institutional narratives, but we each have a personal narrative as well. At the end of the day, that’s the narrative that really counts. It defines how we connect with the world and where and how we can have impact.

The elements of a personal narrative

So, what’s a personal narrative? Like all narratives, it ultimately answers three questions:

Why am I here? What can I accomplish? What can you do to help me accomplish that?