Last week I returned from my morning walk to find my 11–year-old daughter filling the blender with ice cream to make a banana smoothie. My first reaction was to say, “What are you doing eating ice cream for breakfast? That’s a bad habit to get into. It’s unhealthy. You should stop having ice cream for breakfast” The response was a dismissive grunt in my general direction. Hmmm, that didn’t go well.
After we sat down to eat breakfast I started to tell my daughter a story. “When I was in high school my parents really had no idea about healthy eating and we used to drink soft drinks all the time, ate lots of bread and hardly touched fruit.” Then the phone rang and I answered. When I returned to the table my daughter said, “go on, you were talking about when you were in high school.” I continued the story which conveyed the message that the habits you form now will be with you for the rest of your life. I made no mention of the smoothie.
A week has gone by and ice cream hasn’t featured on our breakfast table.
About Shawn Callahan
Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on: