Keeping in mind that a successful example/story must be true and told in context, consider these ideas for story-framing so your collection of stories comes from various perspectives (the first four come from Annette Simmons’ 2006 book, The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion through Storytelling, Cambridge. MA, Basic Books, while the next five come from Quintessential Careers contributor Joe Turner):
- A time in your life when this skill/characteristic was tested.
- A person/event in your life that taught you the importance of this skill/characteristic.
- A time when you failed to live up to this skill/characteristic and decided never to let it happen again.
- A movie/story/book/event that exemplifies this skill/characteristic for you.
- A turning point in your development of this skill/characteristic.
- A crisis in your life or job and how you responded or recovered from it.
- A time where you functioned as part of a team and what your contribution was.
- A time in your career or job where you had to overcome stress.
- A time in your job where you provided successful leadership or a sense of direction.
- A failure that occurred in your job and how did you overcome it.
- A story about tasks and job functions related to this skill/characteristic.
- A timeline of how you developed and sharpened this skill/characteristic.
- An example from your personal life (as opposed to career) of deploying this skill/characteristic.
- Patterns that have emerged in your development of this skill/characteristic.
- Results you’ve achieved through using this skill/characteristic.
- Lessons you’ve learned while developing and using this skill/characteristic.
- Ways you’ve applied this skill/characteristic in diverse situations.
- A strength or vulnerability from your past that led to developing this skill/characteristic (this one comes from Stephen Denning’s 2005 book, The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass) .