I have always found that one of the most efficient ways to establish a focus is to start with the desired outcome and then tell the story about what everything will be like, when that outcome is achieved.
My experience is that by doing that you can build a narrative of a desired future state that is so compelling that you’re willing to do your utmost to get there. Which of course means doing whatever is necessary to stay the course during the journey.
Of course, sometimes thing won’t go according to plan, and there will always be some deviations along the road. And in extreme cases you may even need to pivot. But no matter what you still have your story to stick with to help inspire you to continue despite the odds stacked against you.
You can call these stories many things. Some call it ‘purpose’ but personally I find it a bit to inefficient to stick to. I like going that bit deeper into the story and make it more tangible by putting scenarios and faces towards it. I find that by making it personal, it gives me more energy and allows me to focus better. But maybe that’s just a matter of individual taste.
No matter how you go about doing it, having a compelling story about the outcome you’re trying to achieve with everything that you do is always a good idea. It will bring you energy, when you need it, and it will also help you in figuring out, when you have arrived, and you can truly celebrate your achievement.
The other day I helped flesh out 3 very different angles to an upcoming news release depending on the angle and tonality the team behind wishes to pursue, when they go live.
In doing so it (yet again) dawned on me how powerful the right wording can be; how you can use the right words to set the tone and provoke the thoughts you want to install while essentially saying the same thing at the end.
How your angle is just as valid as the next one. And how little is centrally controlled anymore when it comes to messaging.
Everything used to be fractured and fragmented by definition. Then came the telegraph, then the telephone, and mass manufacturing, public education and more. We’re now returning to that early way of living before Peak Centralization. Structurally, we have more in common with the 1800s than we did with 1950s.
Using that to reflect a bit on my education as a journalist and the challenging times for journalists at large, I thought to myself:
What if journalism school also taught an “education in truth”?
Scrap all the stuff about finding the angle and write a story up. Focus on doing proper research, asking the right questions and – first and foremost – the ability to get to the bottom of things.
To a solid sense of truth. No angles. No agendas.
I think that would probably be one of the most valuable educations you could lecture/have in modern society as people who can navigate the chaos of (mis)communication without getting lost or crash will be in high demand.