What do we learn about Kellie from this story?
- She is compassionate.
- She is curious and eager to learn.
- She cares enough about patients to go far beyond the requirements of her job to give them comfort.
If Kellie stated on her resume or in an interview that she is curious, eager to learn, compassionate, and dedicated to patient care, none of those claims would be as believable or compelling as telling this story. She may not ever be in a situation to tell this entire story during her job search, but by developing the story as a first step, she has gotten to know herself better and identified some of the key characteristics about herself that she will want to feature in her job search.
Let’s look at more sample Quintessential You stories. Like Kellie’s story, these are poignant. But notice that unlike Kellie’s story, these spell out the “moral” or lesson learned. If you compare them with Kellie’s story, you may discover that sometimes the story is actually more powerful if the audience is left to draw its own conclusions about the characteristics exemplified. The audience does not necessarily need to be hit over the head with what the story means.
Abbie’s story reveals how she learned to embrace being outside her comfort zone after her first public-speaking experience:
My hands were shaky and palms were sweaty as I walked up to the podium at the Rotary Club’s biweekly meeting. I was presented an award as my middle school’s eighth grade Student of the Month and asked to give a brief speech to the members. It was my first speech in front of a crowd of people, and after being home-schooled in seventh grade, I had become very introverted and uneasy around large groups of people. My heart raced as I began the first sentence of my speech. “I would like to thank the Ro-Ro-Rotary Club”¦” Oh no! I had already made a mistake, and I had not even finished the first sentence. My mind raced, and all I could think about was how embarrassing it was to mess up the very name of the club that was giving me an award.
Afterwards, I stayed around to talk to a few of the Rotarians. Their reactions to my speech were completely opposite from what I had expected. Instead of mentioning my mispronunciation of the Rotary Club’s name, they congratulated me and said how well I did. I was confused by their kindness, but began to feel a little bit better about my actions. It was that day that I realized I had a lot of work to do.