Each of us has a story. We are writing a narrative every day that defines our lives. Many of us are not even aware of this fact, and as a result, we trudge through life without any sense of control or purpose, feeling unfulfilled, frustrated, and directionless.
In reality, however, we, more than anyone else, have the ability to create the story we desire. Neither our parents, bosses, nor friends have as much control.Sure, they influence us, but they do not control us. If we choose to take control and make our own choices, even at the expense of alienating those others, we can write the story we desire. It all starts with understanding who we are… who we want to become… and then defining the steps and acting upon them to get there.
In our book, “IMBAR: The Pathway of Transformation,” we define some methods to begin this journey of writing your own story. It begins with creating a Storyboard. This simple process is designed to clarify who you are today, whom you see yourself as, and your impact on your life’s results.
"To define who you want to become, you must know who you are.”
This quote from Mark Thienes is the essence of the Storyboard and the whole IMBAR mapping process. The journey of self-discovery can be extremely complex, as simple as it may sound. The requirements don’t come naturally to most of us, and without a clear process, the steps will seem daunting, but the Storyboard is your key to success.
From this simple exercise, many things become clear. You will understand yourself a bit more and see the impact you are making. We recommend the following steps to create your storyboard.
Begin by defining these six things on your current Storyboard (keep it simple with 3-5 bullets for each category):
I AM… This category is a simple definition of you. Clearly finishing the sentence, “I am…” begins your journey of defining who you are and how you see your place in the world
PROUD OF… Here you want to celebrate what you are proud of in your life. These are your most praise-worthy successes
MY PROJECTS… These are the top projects you have successfully led or impacted as a team
PEOPLE SUCCESS… These are descriptions of individuals or teams that you have most successfully impacted. These could be work or personal life-related people
MY LEARNINGS… These things you have learned in your life have been most impactful
MY FUTURE… You see these things as elements of your vision of the future
As you define these, you will see your life’s story unfold. You can always add measurement categories if you want more details, but these will provide a foundation to clarify your life.
Next, define your ideal Storyboard. Use the same six categories and list how you want to see your life’s story being told. Who do you want to be? What do you want to be proud of? What projects do you want to deliver? How do you want to impact others? What do you want to learn? What would your ideal future look like? Clarifying, in real terms, with specific data points will help create the vision of where you want to go. This clarity is essential for the next step, developing the steps to set your story in motion and then taking those steps.
Next, define your action plan. This clarifies the things that you need to begin doing, when you need to do them, how you need to do them, why you need to do them, and what help you might need along the way. Get really specific here. Defining your action plan with this level of detail and building it into your rhythm and cadence will put the wheels in motion. This step should include participating in a full IMBAR coaching session to develop IMBAR maps and Plan for Transformation.
Next, get to work. Begin working on the steps of your action plan in order to build momentum on the behaviors needed to achieve your life goals. There is no shortcut here. Hard work, dedication, and focus… with the right mindset… will be critical to your success. This will be like putting an actual pen to paper in order to write the story you desire and create the life you deserve.
And lastly, remain flexible with your action plan. As you begin working on it, you may find the need to adjust or update your strategy or behaviors. This is a natural part of growth as you may begin seeing additional things you never previously considered. Be kind to yourself and allow the freedom for course correction. You’ll have less stress and frustration that way.
Here is a summary of our five tips:
Define who you are with a current Storyboard
Define whom you want to become with an ideal Storyboard
Define your action plan to get there
Begin working your action plan