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The Importance Of Documenting Journeys: The Human Narrative Behind Careers

Most significantly, if you have a journey that you think the world should know about, it is a worthy idea to tell your story. Not only is it a conduit of necessary self-expression and awarding yourself the acknowledgment you deserve, but also ways to connect to people who resonate with your struggles.

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“The world is billions of years old, and life is a product of nucleotide mutation and everything. But the world is also the stories we tell about it.” John Green, Looking For Alaska

Careers are built of intimate and professional struggles and accomplishments, and are irreplaceable markers of identity and purpose in this world. While a particular job is about the tasks you perform for financial rewards, careers encompass a wide range of journeys, covering aspirations, training, education and experience. Figuring out our careers often require a great degree of zeal and inspiration and this is where stories of professional trajectories become important. Stellar successes in the world have consistently motivated millions to carve their own paths, and that happens because triumphant people choose to tell their stories. 

Professional stories capture the human narratives of survival, buoyancy and accomplishment in the otherwise frigid world of competition. As The Memoir Network reports, Dennis Blue parlayed an interest and degree in labor relations into an international career that led to the top echelons of the Ford Motor Company. His books, Running the Good Race / A Story of Faith, Ford and Fishing and Through the Eyes of a Fisherman / A Journey of Faith, Fishing and Friendship, delight in their portrayal of far-away places as Blue, his wife Dottie and children travel around the world for his work, of the development of his expertise as a Ford negotiator and of his marriage of faith and career. Books like these demonstrate the intimate sides of building a career, piercing through the coldness of the professional domain with a human warmth that inspires and brings people together.

Furthermore, the struggles successful people underwent make several aspiring individuals feel less alone in adversity, exemplifying the social reality of individual struggles. These stories weave an informal community where it no longer remains one person against the world, but millions of people in their respective fights dealing with the same detractors. Building upon these ideas, the Community Hosting Team of Impact Hub Vienna decided to establish the Success Board as a response to the inspiration they saw taking place when members shared success stories, big or small. One person sharing their story had a domino effect, rippling throughout the whole community. The archive sits in the corner on the ground floor of their office, dressed up in stories from people who made an important milestone.

For example, Rob Kolar and Lauren Brown are the husband and wife team and music entrepreneurs behind the LA-based band KOLARS, were inspired by Steven Spielberg’s struggle to complete the film Jaws in the face of tremendous risk and budget troubles. Forbes quotes them that while operating as performers and producers in a notoriously tough industry bothered by budgetary constraints and the simple fact that there are only two of them to do everything, “We like to think of KOLARS in a similar way.  The odds may be stacked against us but we trust that our intuition will guide us on this unpredictable journey.”

In our gravely uncertain times, with the world battling the COVID19 pandemic, these stories hold more value than ever. Shattering an environment of limitless negativity, they bring to us a necessary helping of hope and inspiration. Organizations ranging from American Psychological Association to Indian news portals shared umpteen stories of resilience which were widely read and disseminated, urging countless people to abandon demotivation and suffering and take charge of their lives. 

Professionally, these journeys show us what to do when the chips are down, spotlight what works and what does not, spurs professionals to push the boundaries and motivates people to share good practices and very importantly, it enables unlearning of unproductive and constrictive actions. Professional narratives are documentations of trials and errors, of experiments that took of and that did not, of harmful practices abandoned, or risks taken— all of them providing the necessary ways to wade through the challenges of building a career. 

Most significantly, if you have a journey that you think the world should know about, it is a worthy idea to tell your story. Not only is it a conduit of necessary self-expression and awarding yourself the acknowledgment you deserve, but also ways to connect to people who resonate with your struggles. To tell stories is to end the divides that separate and bother us— by inspiring others, we do the world and ourselves massive amounts of good. 

To quote Vince Lombardi, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” If the world demands an unrealistic ideal of perfection, our professional stories respond with documenting and inspiring excellences that do justice to people’s selves and collective existences. So, go ahead, acquaint yourself with, be part of and tell these stories!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Viiveck Verma...

Founder Upsurge Global and President - Society for Advancement of Human Endeavour (SAHE)

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