How do you learn what matters to someone? I’m going to share one way that helps people open up so that you, dear leader, can start cultivating tighter alignment throughout your workplace.

Share “Yes!” stories.

I share one in my book, Pivot to Clarity, about my trip home from visiting Los Cabos. I also shared a friend’s “Yes!” story recently about her son and an adventure related to a celebration of a new movie.

“Yes!” stories can come from anywhere, at any time, and they happen for everyone. People feel good reliving these moments, and they are usually enjoyable to hear. Since they are told in a play-by-play way, they also rarely go on for too long (if that’s a concern for you). And – your moments (pick one of your “Yes!” stories) can be revisited again and again to pivot you from an unwanted mental state to a better state, on demand.

To get us started on this topic, I have another “Yes!” story to share with you from December 25th this year:

Finding “Yes!” in the midst of sadness

The sad part of this story is that on December 25th, which is Christmas Day and my mother’s birthday, my mother was stuck at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle due to poor health and bad road conditions. She lives across a mountain pass from Seattle and had been flown to Harborview a few days prior. I hadn’t been able to visit her yet because I live quite a ways north of Seattle and our roads were also quite unsafe. Here’s the “Yes!” story that will stay with me forever:

I was due to have foot surgery (right foot) that would have caused me to not be able to walk or drive for many weeks. I had canceled that only a day before her being flown to Harborview.

The roads between my home and Seattle became safe enough to drive on December 24th late pm. It was raining hard early Dec 25th a.m., with very poor visibility, but it got better as I drove south.

Upon arriving at Harborview, I found a parking spot on the street (nearly impossible, and free on Sundays).

On weekends and holidays visitors may only enter via Emergency, so there is often a long queue to get in. There was no queue as they had decided to allow early visitors (it was about 8:40 am) to get in before the 9:00 am visiting hour started.

My mother was alert and had a wonderful day. We shared a family zoom call at 9:30 am and then she and I simply hung out for the rest of the day, other than when she was napping. I’d helped her get fixed with a nice sweater and scarf over her hospital gown and a bit of lipstick, and decorated her room.

She barely eats these days, yet devoured the cake I’d brought saying, “did you know it was this good before you brought it?” When I left 7 hours later she said, “This was my best birthday ever!”

My drive home was safe and swift.

As I write this I am again with my mother at Harborview, but the conditions are much different just three days later. She cannot wake up. I’ll leave it at that. I cannot properly express how much those moments on December 25th meant to me. Yes!

Recall and tell a story

Try this first for yourself.

Think of a time when 2, 3, 5 or more seemingly small events, as simple as finding a parking spot, compounded into a “Yes!” story that makes it a magical, memorable moment for you.

Now think about that “Yes!” story more than once. More than one day. And then write it down and/or share it with someone. These added steps will help you bring it back far beyond today.

Ask for a story

Find a time to ask someone else to share a “Yes!” story. Explain briefly to them what one is and then ask them to share one now or come back when one comes to them.

Sure, do this because it will aid them in their own mental-state pivots. It will also give you insight into what they notice, and what seemingly minor actions or events can come together to bring them joy. Build your own portfolio of stories from your workplace to help you cultivate a great culture!

Your best next step

For your “Your 1 Best Next Step,” write down a “Yes!” story to get a feel for the insight and joy these can bring.

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