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We’re All Builders. We’re All Storytellers.

In It Together

By David R. Basler

So, what’d you want to be when you grew up?

Firefighter? Probably. Doctor? Maybe. I always wanted to be a veterinarian (even after my cat allergy discovery), until I found writing.

Never thought I’d grow up to be a builder, but I arrived on site, tool belt at the ready, the same as you.

If you think about the word "builder" in its most basic of forms, you’ll see that what I’m talking about isn’t a stretch at all.

Building is defined in its verb form as "the act, process, art or occupation of constructing." Constructing what? It doesn’t just mean homes and skyscrapers.

Building is putting multiple pieces together to form a larger entity, so just like building a house out of wood and brick, or a piece of furniture out of patterned pieces, a magazine each month out of stories and photos, isn’t a meeting or business event built from the ground up piece by piece?

I started thinking about this simple theory almost a year ago after talking to a trusted friend in the industry. We had been talking about One+ and the conversation diverted on a tangent to my woodworking/furniture building hobby. I was telling her about the new leather tool belt I had recently purchased to keep my tools at the ready while I worked on my latest project.

She said, "You know, when you think about it, there are a lot of similarities between what you do for One+ and what you build on the weekends."

I agreed, and with an honest chuckle, told her she’d probably see this story in a column someday. After I hung up the phone, I thought, "We’re all builders really."

When the idea came up for this issue’s cover story on storytelling, I knew this column’s focus.

About six months ago, One+ associate editor Jason Hensel, a voracious reader, walked into my office and told me he wanted to write an article that proved any great case for meetings could be constructed using the basic building blocks of any great story—plot, character, conflict and resolution.

"We’re all storytellers," he said. "I read articles all the time about corporations telling their story, but what about how individuals can use the elements of storytelling to prove their own worth?"

So, before you walk into your boss’s office next week or six months from now, to prove to him the value of what you build on a daily basis, read this article, then read a classic novel by Dickens or Hemingway (two of my favorites).

Fill up your tool belt with all the essentials and start building your own success.

DAVID R. BASLER is editor in chief of One+. He can be reached at dbasler@mpiweb.org. Follow him at www.twitter.com/onepluseditor.