Defending the line, a story that stuck

Yesterday a friend told me of a life-changing experience as a 12 year old kid. He was playing rugby and defending the try line as a very large player bore down on him, intent on scoring a try. For the uninitiated to rugby, the effects of big rugby hits look like this:

Deciding that a) his very large opponent was likely to score a try anyway and b) a trip to the hospital or morgue was likely, my friend stepped aside. At that moment a smaller teammate stepped up and comprehensively took this very large player out, preventing the try and saving the day.

My friend learned two valuable lessons:

  1. He was capable of more than he realized, and
  2. If he doesn’t defend the line, who will?

In turn he told me his story so that I’d realize I was the last line of defense for one aspect of a client’s business. It stuck in my head and changed my mind.

Chip Heath and Dan Heath tell us about idea that are made to stick – they say that memorable ideas are:

  • Simple
  • Unexpected
  • Concrete
  • Credentialed
  • Emotional
  • Stories

These map to ‘SUCCESs’ for easy recall.

If my friend had merely told me some facts I might not have paid close attention or responded. Instead he changed my mind with a SUCCESsful story that I may never forget.