Roz Zander and Ben Zander on The Art of Possibility, Part 12

In the book, The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life, Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander show us the 12 things we can do to go on a journey of possibility, rather than living a life full of hurdles and constraints of our own making.

These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.

The Twelfth Practice: Telling the WE Story

In this chapter, Roz and Ben discuss using the WE story-telling approach to create possibilities. They offer the following observations and recommendations for us to think about:

Often, history is a record of conflict between an US and a THEM. What approach can we invent that will take us from an entrenched posture of hostility to one of enthusiasm and deep regard? We should consider WE as a new entity that can personify the “togetherness” of us and others.

The WE story defines a human being in a specific way. It says we are our central selves seeking to contribute, naturally engaged, and forever in dance with each other. The WE story points to a relationship rather than to individuals. It aims to communicate patterns, gestures, and movement rather than discrete objects and identities.

By telling the WE story, we become a conduit for this inclusive entity and always inquire into what is best for US. The practice of telling the WE story points to a kind of leadership based on the courage to speak on behalf of all people for the long line of human possibility.

The steps to the WE practice are as follows:

  1. Tell the WE story – the story of the unseen threads that connect us all, the story of possibility.
  2. Listen and look for the emerging entity.
  3. Ask the questions:
    1. “What do WE want to have happen here?”
    1. “What’s the best for US?” – all of each of us, and all of us.
    1. “What’s OUR next step?”

While visions go in and out of favor, the WE story remains. The transformation from the “I” to the WE enable us to dissolve the barriers that divide us intentionally, so we may reshape our surrounding and create possibility. The practice of WE draws on all the other practices.