If you want a story at the back end, design it at the front end

presentation-designIf you want a story to be told at the back end, the lesson the AmeriCorps Project CHANGE members learned today was that you have to design it from the front end.

Yes, you can wait for things to happen spontaneously but while you wait, most of your experience gets lost or is wasted because you created no story catching grid, or plotted no map of where you are to begin with and where you want to go. There are three stages of a story and three different energies:

We are at the BEGINNING where the energy is to CREATE.

We will progress to the MIDDLE where the energy is CORRECTIVE.

And we will come to the ENDING where the energy is to COMPLETE.

Each phase of the story is distinct, and offers a once-only opportunity. Hence it is vital to capture it. Change happens so imperceptibly that we end up forgetting what we once were.

Stealing from Aristotle’s idea that a story needs a Beginning, Middle and Ending for it to feel coherent, the members plotted their year of service across a 9 space template which turned BME on its side, to create  9 story phases of the year ahead:

Beginning of the Beginning,
Middle of the Beginning,
End of the Beginning,

Beginning of the Middle,
Middle of the Middle,
End of the Middle,

Beginning of the End,
Middle of the End,
End of the End.


At each stage of the journey, we will build a scaffold to ensure that we capture this phase of meaning as it emerges into fullness. Now we have a map, and we know how meaning will grow by layers, as we begin three times, come to a middle three times and end three times.  And if it all works, we will come to the end and know the beginning for the first time, and we will be ready to launch on a new story.