Focus On Your Story

sci-fiAs a sci-fi fan, I particularly enjoy watching classic films and television from the 50’s and 60’s. Movies such as The Day the Earth Stood Still and Forbidden Planet or shows like Lost in Space and the original Star Trek often hold more appeal than today’s offerings. A lot of people find these gems laughable. My son in particular has a hard time watching anything created before the age of color. He says the special effects are too cheesy.

But the lack of CGI and fancy sets is what endears me to the classics. Without a huge technical budget, the creators of old had to rely on a solid story to propel the action. So many of today’s productions seem to have started as a series of planned explosions with a poor story slapped on as an afterthought.

One of television’s early master storytellers was Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone. Many episodes of this groundbreaking series showcased little or no special effects. Set pieces were minimal, with the focus being placed squarely on the actors and the story being told. Serling could tell a better story using a single actor in one room than most movies today achieve with multi-million dollar budgets.

My point is this. How many times do we let the lack of “necessary” resources hold us back? How many times do we blame a lack of production, or progress, or growth on something we don’t have?

We don’t have the budget for that.
We don’t have good products.
We don’t have the right technology.

Top performers never allow themselves to be limited by things outside their control. They see the obstacle and then find a way through it, around it, over it, or under it. They don’t sit back and blame a lack of performance on something (or someone) else. That’s because top performers understand that the story is the point.

The story we are here to tell is what differentiates us from the competition. It’s what we have to offer that no one else does. Perhaps it’s our ability to find solutions that others can’t. Perhaps it’s our willingness to go the extra mile in service to our customers. Perhaps it’s the depth of relationships we build.

Our ability to perform should never be held back by a lack of _________.

One of my all-time favorite sci-fi series is called X Minus One. It was a radio drama that aired from 1955 to 1958. No sets, no visuals at all; this series had to rely solely upon the voices of the actors and basic sound effects to tell a story. Yet despite the limitations of radio, X Minus One is considered one of the best science fiction series in any medium.

What’s your team’s story? Are you focused on that, or on the things that hold you back? Is your team’s mission to share your story – to create such a compelling world that others want to be a part of it – or are you just going through the motions until __________ improves?

Rod Serling once said “Imagination… its limits are only those of the mind itself.” In other words, the only thing holding you back… is you.