I love the letter O. I love its openness and roundness and the possibility it suggests. O is for optimism and opportunity.
We never know when a chance to tell stories will come upon us. I have found myself unexpectedly telling stories on public transit, in business meetings, in hospital and to random strangers on the street. We never know when the universe will say here. Now. Tell a story. Here is an opportunity to share. We need to pay attention for these opportunities and be ready when they arise. Don’t be afraid.
What’s more, we never know when we will be given the gift of story fodder, the opportunity to craft a story out of the world around us. It might be in the overheard conversation, in a moment inspired by a book or movie, in the time spent with strangers or loved ones. We never know when the universe will say shut up. Listen. Here is an opportunity to hear something magnificent. We need to pay attention for these opportunities too, and remember that storytelling starts with listening.
Beyond opportunities to remember we live in a world rich with story that needs ours as much as anyone else’s, we also never know when we will have an opportunity for work. It could arise out of a casual conversation, a referral, almost anything. We just need to remember to be grateful and to be ethical in the work we do. But really, we never know when the universe will say try this. You’ll be great. We need to pay attention for these opportunities as well, strive to make them and accept them when they arise. And, because the universe sometimes needs a bit of help, carry business cards.
All of this reminds me of a joke.
There was a great flood and a man found himself stranded on the roof of his home. He began to pray, asking God to rescue him. After a few minutes some people in a canoe came along and invited him in. “No,” he replied, “I’m fine. God will take care of me.”
He kept praying. The water kept rising. It lapped at the edges of the roof.
Soon some people in a rowboat drifted by and asked if he needed help. “No,” he replied, “I’m fine. God will take care of me.”
He kept praying. The water kept rising. Now the water was as high as his toes.
Soon a helicopter hovered over him. They threw down a ladder and called out, “Climb on!”
“No,” he replied, “I’m fine. God will take care of me.”
The helicopter roared away. He kept praying. The water kept rising. Soon the house began to shudder and then it collapsed underneath him. Try as he might, he soon drowned.
The man found himself in Heaven. He asked God, “Why didn’t you help? I prayed!”
And God replied, “Hey, I sent two boats and helicopter, what more did you want?”
The storyteller’s work fits in just about anywhere. We just need to pay attention and the opportunities are there.