With breathtaking amazement I have been watching for months how the same scene with different actors plays itself over and over again with eerie frequency and density. Regularly by now. I wouldn't be at all surprised if you experience something similar and find yourself like the main character in the remake of the old Helmut Dietl TV series "Der ganz normale Wahnsinn". Or rather: in the unpublished novel that plays an important role there. It is entitled: "Why it is that the individual does not feel well, although we are all doing so well." - "Kennstekennstekennste!?!", Mario Barth would now bark ex officio.
So this: For months now, in my mentoring sessions for companies and individuals alike, and also in other daily conversations, I have met practically only people who put a question mark after the word future. We don't even talk about the prevailing catastrophe-like crises such as climate, war and disease, but only focus on ourselves. Future? Well ...
What actually seems so - seemingly - puzzling about this is: not a single one of these people, not a single one of these companies, has a problem itself, but has - yes: realised itself. Or is in the middle of doing so. Exactly as it should be, or so they say. Successful bank managers, international CEOs, heads of ..., dynamic entrepreneurial personalities, agency bosses, artists - all together people who even in these painful times say: "The most successful year in our history ..." or "... never earned as much as now!". They say such things. But they still do not know what and how their tomorrow can be. What it should be, and why. Insanely normal, isn't it?
What is it that has us so disturbed?
What scares us?
There is a strange form of creepy, voracious existential fear running rampant through our existence. Yes, strange, for me anyway. It bit into me many years ago, and it is still in my bones today. In fact, it even beats the beat at the heart of my work, although it took me quite a long time to understand that.
It's about the unlived life that saws away at the ladder of success, corrupts the parlour, poisons and contaminates us.
It's about our inner story, which we completely forget while we push our outer success story. Much more: most of us don't even know that we have such a thing as an inner story because we are busy optimising careers and key figures.
While we - as people at work or as companies on the market - strive to match the shining stars from Apple to Nike to Red Bull, to follow the exemplary heroines and influencers on our various race tracks of life and to scratch the curve of success at full throttle, we are thrown off course. But how! Because most of us overlook the one, central and important point, the - apparent - secret behind everything that makes the really successful people and brands and distinguishes them from everyone else: they don't have a career. They have much, much more. Something much, much better: they have a task. They fulfil this task, this task fulfils them. Success - regardless of whether it is a career, profit or stock market price - is the result, but not the goal.
Who am I?
Because we do not see this essential point - indeed: because all the world from earliest childhood inculcates in us the old story that it is all about the outside, about surpassing, defeating, dominating and winning - we lose ourselves before we have even had the chance to find ourselves. The wrong suggestive answer to our primal question "Who am I and why?" is put into our mouths.
This answer is told to us mercilessly and in increasing volume as an old story: "You are what you perform, how you function, what you have and what one can get out of you, and that is usually too little. And that makes you out of place. If you make a mistake, you yourself are the mistake that blows up in your face in the same breath." And there, where we assume the happy end of this story, that is, where success laughs and we belong to the winners, there we finally stand as sad heroes with a full bag and an empty gaze. As if we were Arthur, who pulls the sword Excalibur out of the stone and thinks: "Now I am king and the happy end is here. Heissa, we reign!"
The wise mythological paragon king, however, understood that he had now heard his call, accepted it with the sword Excalibur in his hand, and must now bring peace to the chaos of the war-torn kingdom. - A task, not a job, you might say, right?
And this closes the circle to the catastrophes that were faded out earlier, such as war, climate and diseases. For they are the collateral damage of this false story, this muted, our crushed, our missing inner story. For when, to borrow from the legendary Robert McKee, storytelling goes wrong in a society, the result is its decline. A great story is a living metaphor that says, "This is life". In a world of lies and liars, an honest work of art is always an act of social responsibility, says Mr McKee, the wise old Grantscherm.
Did you hear the shot?
A great story tells the truth, seeks a truth! Is there a greater work of art than our inner story? Is there a more important story than the one about all of us? So the fact that we all - you, me, us - get our inner story straight is nothing less than this act of social responsibility that we have to put in place. Once for our own sake, and then for the sake of all of us.
We need a new story, a new history. This new story is necessary. It is about harmony in connection of opposites in a better future, where we inspire each other instead of fighting each other. It is about enabling instead of hindering, about listening, about tuning in, about cooperation, about mutual support, about understanding, about heart-building. In this future, we no longer have to try in vain to fill the vacuum of meaning in ourselves, in our companies and in our society through careers, key figures and consumerism, that is, through material growth via the exploitation of resources. In this future, we engage with each other, and towards each other, but never at each other. That would be a happy ending and thus a real beginning.
In this future, each of us accepts our call. Each of us has such a call - on a large or small scale, on a universal or private level. Most of us have heard it, many have listened away, some have overheard it, often it has simply been drowned out. But more and more people are now hearing a bang: the starting signal for a departure into a - no, into their - better still: into our New Story, for every person, for teams, brands, companies and for our society.
For the heroes of tomorrow.
For that, each of us needs a mentor - a Merlin like Arthur, a Mary Poppins, a fairy godmother Glinda, an Albus Dumbledore. People who listen, point out, ask important questions. Someone who accompanies us over a period of time in a subject where we need new perspectives, ordered perspectives, focus and orientation. For ourselves, for our work, our business, for our brands. A mentor helps you, shares his or her experience, gives you a push, gives you tools, points you in the right direction - even where it hurts, because that's exactly where growth begins. This is how we grow beyond ourselves, into ourselves - to where we have really grown. That is transformation within ourselves. I have never met most of my mentors personally, but their wisdom accompanies me day in and day out.
For this purpose I have created the New Story Academy where I offer different mentoring programmes with my team. If you would like me to accompany you as a mentor on this path to your New Story, I would be happy to do so.
The website is now online. There you will find a message for you - as a video, to read or to listen to. If you are ready for your next step - for yourself, your team, your brand or your company, write me a short email by clicking on the contact button there or reply to this newsletter. By the way, I guarantee that it will come to me personally. Just as I can promise you now that together we will get a lot moving. It's never been any different.
For this is watched over not least by my grandmother, old Story Dudette, after whose nom de guerre Robert McKee named his standard work and whose wake-up call we carry in our banner: "New Story. New Glory."