I don’t always know how to do the right thing. I can, however, quickly assess how to do the next right thing. The next right thing is what to do right now—in this moment, in this situation. And the next right thing for me is to use the privileges I enjoy to help others. This, in my opinion, is the ultimate privilege. And I enjoy that privilege as often as I can.
This story, “Clear What To Do” shows that we can know the next right thing through paying attention and reading the room. This is the single most important storytelling skill: to know what your listener needs by paying attention to them. We call this story listening. True storytellers tell stories to help people, and this is a skill that is demonstrated in this story by both the characters JB and his father, Wilhelm. These characters encounter racism and by paying attention, they both know what to do and how to respond.
That said, sometimes doing the next right thing involves doing something you don’t want to do. This was the case for JB and Wilhelm. They knew they needed to do something really difficult. Doing the next right thing might involve you taking a risk, and we are wired to avoid taking risks. But to help other people, sometimes you have to override that wiring and do something. You need to act. When it is clear what you need to do, then … It is a true privilege to do it. It is actually an honor. And story listening will help you not only know what it is you need to do, but it will give you the inspiration, motivation and courage … to follow through.
You can find the Story Listening tool at howtostory.org. It will help you better read the room, attend to your listener and know what the next right thing to do is. There are also some free minicourses like the “how to tell the perfect bedtime story” up on the home page.
One other consideration - if you are going on holiday anytime soon, consider getting one of our storytelling pocket camps for your kids - a short fun storytelling course that is great for car rides, plane rides, rainy days.