Know THEIR Story: How to Help Others Dream Bigger

On the school bus, I’d always grab the window seat, if I could. Looking out past someone’s greasy forehead print on the glass as we drove by neighborhoods, that’s where I’d dream about my future. Every day as we passed by Hillview Court, I’d think, One day I want to live THERE…in Hillview Court.

Picturing a country club or mansion?

Hillview Court is low-income government housing. That was my dream.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Goodness, dream bigger!”

Do You Know Their Story?

Honestly, if you knew my story, then you’d know I was aspiring to live somewhere that had electricity, water, and was safe. As a child, I just KNEW Hillview Court HAD to be safe because city police cars were around constantly.

As I’m listening to a client, an executive, talk about being frustrated that some people on the team won’t step up, speak up, seize opportunities, and so on… IMMEDIATELY, my mind flashes to me on that school bus… loads of potential and full of *miniature* dreams… and I can’t help but be reminded that the biggest shifts in my life happened because of the actions of someone else… myriad people who unknowingly built “Infinite Influence” with me and it helped transform how I thought, took action, and moved forward in my life.

Why Their Story Matters to You

Do you want an employee to think, take action, and move forward differently?

Maybe you resonate with that executive; you, too, have employees on your team that wildly frustrate you and seem to be lazy or lack drive.

Consider this…

When you first started reading this post, you may have thought I was crazy for hoping I’d be lucky enough to live in low-income government housing one day. But when I told you my *STORY* — that my dream would’ve been a step up from my reality — did my dream suddenly seem at least a bit more reasonable?

Are your employees not doing what you want because of something in THEIR STORY? Or maybe you can see it all differently than them because of YOUR STORY. It’s likely that if you learned their story, you might uncover exactly what they need from you to see a better way to move forward.

What’s in Their Stories?

Maybe they need to be shown better housing options; or could they need encouragement to believe in themselves? Do they need to know there won’t be repercussions for mistakes, or that someone else would not be better qualified? The list could go on, but you’ll never know EXACTLY what their reason for thinking or acting the way they do until you get to know their story. Without knowing their story, you can’t know EXACTLY how to lead them to a better future for them, for you, and for the organization.

#Leadership is simple, but it is not always easy work. However, leading someone to a better future makes all the work worth it.

It is because of leaders in my life — people just like you who intentionally served me — that in about an hour, I’m not getting on a bus; instead, I’m getting on a plane. I’ve claimed that window seat, and when I look out that window now, my dreams are so, so much bigger!

Who could you help “dream bigger” by getting to know their story?

Photo credit: (c) Can Stock Photo / Lopolo

Alyson Van Hooser

Alyson Van Hooser, Pres & CEO, Van Hooser Leadership. With the grit that only comes from tough experiences, Alyson has learned a thing or two about personal and professional success. From her management experience with Walmart, as an elected city council member, bank manager — all before the age of 30 — Alyson has wisdom well beyond her years! Her podcast, Stake: The Leadership Podcast, offers a fresh perspective on leadership and helps multiple generations successfully work together! Connect with Alyson on LinkedIn.


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