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Reflection and story

It’s January, the month named for Janus, a Roman god with two faces: one facing towards the future, one still facing the past. Reflecting on stories, in many different senses…

What do you hope for in the future that is this coming year? What can you learn in reflecting on the year that’s just passed? This is where a storybank such as Zahmoo can really help, in your business, your community, your family, and in your own life too.

Making a habit of capturing stories is the key to this: in order to reflect on what’s passed, we first need a story to reflect on.

So at key intervals or key events – such as end-of-year, or anniversary, or birthday – we record an ‘intentions story’: hopes and dreams for this coming period in the future, intended actions and intended results. ‘New Year Resolutions’ are a classic example of this, but perhaps go a bit deeper here, more into the why of the story.

Use the guidelines in ‘Listening for the story‘ to help you in this. Whether you’re doing this for yourself or with others, remember to elicit images about:

  • the players, the expected actors in this future story, and their respective roles
  • the place and context expected in each part of this ‘story of the future’
  • the events and outcomes that you expect to mark this story

The traditional tactic is to record these ‘future stories’ in written form, in a diary or the like. You can do the same in Zahmoo, of course, yet remember that Zahmoo also allows you to capture and keep stories as audio or video – which may be a much easier way to do it.

In your Zahmoo storybank, tag the story with appropriate metadata. These would typically include:

  • name of the person whose ‘future story’ this is
  • tag to indicate that this is a ‘future story’
  • suggested review-date – next year, next anniversary or whenever

Whilst working within Zahmoo over the weeks and months and years, build a habit of checking for the review-date for these ‘future stories’. When the review-date comes round again, review each story, preferably with the people whose ‘future story’ that was. What actually happened, in that ‘future’ that is now past? How did things work out? What worked, and what didn’t? Some dreams may have been dashed, perhaps, but no doubt there were unexpected successes too. Record the results of that reflection in the ‘Comments’ section for the story in Zahmoo.

And what further stories does this reflection bring up for each person? Capture those stories in Zahmoo too, watching for those same key items that make a meaningful story: people, places, events and the story-trigger of ‘…and something unexpected happened’.

In what ways do these stories connect with or reflect key themes such as your community’s vision and values? Use tags and other metadata in Zahmoo to cross-link between these stories and themes.

Reflection on story in this form is one way in which we can use Zahmoo to help us learn anew from the future.

Image credit: Santa Barbara Sunset, 31 January 2006 by Doc Searls under a Creative Commons BY-2.0 licence.

January 4th, 2012 by Zahmoo
Filed in: For Business, For Community, For Family, How to
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Zahmoo is a story bank for collecting and sharing your family and business stories.