A winner, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary is defined as a person who is successful, particularly as a result of ability and hard work. We emphasize hard work, just for your future reference. The purpose of this article is to offer hints and tips for creating impactful stories to achieve your working from home goals. We also present common mistakes to avoid when sharing personal and professional stories.
Linkedin used to post personal and professional stories
Have you been told that Linkedin is the main professional social networking site for professional development and career advancement? We use it to post articles. I utilize the platform personally to connect with colleagues. Job seekers on the job hunt, career changers, early job market entrants and even retirees swear upon its ability to help obtain jobs.
But, have you noticed in recent years professionals resort to the telling of personal stories of heartbreak, divorce, job loss, and terminal illness to render from their readers:
- More popularity (likes, comments, engagement, reactions)
- Gain sympathy (call to action to help them obtain employment)
- Improve their likability (increase followers and invitations to connect)
Posting professional and personal stories are effective
Research shows that story-telling is effective. Why?
VWware Leadership Series at Stanford University presents data showing that a story is 22 times more effective in getting people to respond to a call to action than the sharing of facts alone.
This may be why the professional networking site, Linkedin appears to have morphed into an amalgamation of Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. The sharing of personal stories to anyone and everyone.
The dangers of oversharing stories on social media
While the sharing of personal stories has value, there is research from MacQuarie University, Sydney Australia attesting that oversharing on social media may have a negative impact. As evidence of a growing trend, researchers point to studies by the American historian, Christopher Lasch. Lasch argued as early as fifty years ago (1970s) that Americans in particular are becoming more narcissistic, entitled, and leaning toward celebrity worship. It was quoted, “the desire to be famous for the sake of being famous without much achievement behind it, he noted, was becoming more and more the norm.”
The work of Lasch has not gone unnoticed through the years. In 2016, researchers completing an assessment of online personality and network hypothesized that the narcissistic focus on one’s outward signs of self-worth has been increasingly tied to the posting of activities, making updates to status, interacting an commenting, as well as calculating the number of friends and contacts accumulated.
So, based on this review of the data, is it beneficial for the average everyday worker to post personal and professional stories on social media? Are these self-promotional activities worth the time exhausted for the overworked employee working 9-5, working from home, in the office full time or working remote?
Sharing of stories with people of higher social status has greatest impact
We looked at the research from doctoral students at Ohio State University. Here are summaries of our reviews of the latest organizational behavior studies:
- Sharing your personal stories and goals with someone perceived to be a lower status than the ‘teller’ does not have a positive effect on the outcome, however
- Divulging your heartfelt professional goals to supervisors, experts on the goal topic, others of higher social and professional status does have a significant effect, according to Bryce J. Linford, a PhD student studying organizational behavior
Shared stories heightens personal resolve to achieve a personal or professional goal
It is interesting to note that while its effective to be open about one’s professional and personal goals to others; the key driver to goal achievement was not the support, assistance nor advice received from the ‘listener’ to the ‘teller’ that propelled success. What was it?
The act of sharing or telling others one’s personal and professional goals has a positive effect on solidifying one’s determination and commitment toward goal attainment. It flips the ‘call to action’ arguement on its head. Rather than influence, encourage or motivate others to support you, buy your product or join your cause; the effective call to action is directed inward. Just food for thought!
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Who wants to be the small business owner, online entrepreneur or remote worker who divulged their intimate goals to others; only to be perceived by others as a loser or ‘less than’ when the stated goals are not attained six months, one year or even three years later? No one.
Peer pressure and the desire to look good in the eyes of others is a sure fire motivator to reach your objectives, goals, and dreams! So continue to share. Not so much for the sake of building bridges with others, building a social network, or connecting with experts for which to associate professional.
While these are excellent examples of reasons to share a personal and professional story or goal. Maybe our primary aim is to ‘kick our selves into the butt’ and switch to a higher gear. For with self determination and persistence, will we be assured to reach our dreams, goals and objectives.
Hearing stories of success motivates listeners to achive their own goals
Other studies were equally thought-provoking. A study undertaken at the University of Michigan revealed that ‘readers’ or ‘listeners’ of personal stories of success were equally motivated in their own lives to overcome obstacles.
But not just any story told to pull at the heartstrings of readers or listeners carried the same weight. For instance:
- reminiscent histories of achieving success under ordinary circumstances were not as effective as
- news of obtaining one’s lifelong dream while enduring hardship, stress, loss and pain or as motivational as
- stories with an unanticipated or surprising outcome
Another peculiar tidbit of the Michigan research is that while stories of failure can also help motivate others, few are less encouraged to take the time to read or hear about them.
Take heed not to overshare which is perceived as self-promotion
The authors of the study further elaborated in saying that one of the keys to effective storytelling is to do so with moderation. For instance, a story revealing an unexpected outcome receives more interest from work colleagues that the “sharing of everyday success.”
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Such sharing is often perceived by peers in the workplace as needless self-promotion. So, it is crucial for employees, staff seeking to tell stories for professional and personal gain do so selectively.
6 tips for creating impactful stories to achieve your remote work goals
To compile the findings of the research we reviewed, we would advise storytellers to utilize a methodological approach to telling for personal and professional stories and the sharing of goals. In this regard, we offer six tips for creating stories that will have a postive impact and help you to further your remote work goals. We assert the following:
- refrain from the temptation to overshare (in frequency and quantity of information shared)
- adopt a procedural method to the madness of storytelling
- accompany your story with data and facts to substantiate your remarkable success
- strategically insert milestones within timelines of your story to move the listener from one perspective to another so that they can
- follow along with you together on your journey from failure, ordinary success, to an extraordinary and/or surprising outcome, in so doing you
- transform listeners —> to followers to —> co-creators of your dream and vision