'We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn't a stronger connection between people than storytelling.' – Jimmy Neil Smith

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Glad I went to Specsavers

Posted on Sep 10, 2018 by SidewaysCreative  | Comments (0)

With a week in Madeira coming up – and a dressing table bereft of contact lenses (no contact lenses = no sunglasses) – I trotted off to Specsavers clutching a free eye test leaflet that had landed on my doormat. 

Little did I know, I was about to see the power of an employee's story unravel right before my eyes (no pun intended).  

Glad I went to Specsavers

Now, I don't know about you, but I always find visits to the optician a little... erm awkward. I mean, why would anyone in their right mind want to spend their days looking and poking around people's eyes?

I arrive at the store in good time and take a slightly worn green seat in the waiting area. 

The optician who calls me through seems nice and friendly enough. He asks me all the usual questions, but all the while I can't help thinking, 'how tedious is this for you? You see so many people for half an hour at a time and then you never see them again. I bet you can't wait for home time.' 

Then he asks me, ‘what do you do for work’?

‘I’m a brand storyteller,’ I say.  

He leans over his keyboard and types BRAND STORE RETAILER onto the screen.

‘No,’ I chuckle. ‘Brand-Story-Teller.’

‘Oh,’ he laughs as he presses and holds the delete button, visibly clueless as to what I mean.

‘I create brand stories,’ I explain. He nods but I can tell from the look on his face he's still flummoxed. 

And then I do something I've never done before. I ask him what made him become an optician. 

‘My sister has night blindness,’ he says. 

Then he tells me all about her. How the seasons affect her. How this summer has been a blessing but winter probably won't be. How, once it gets dark, she needs to be led everywhere. How she can’t see in certain rooms of her house if they become too dim. How, despite everything, she’s achieving pretty much everything she wants to achieve in life.

He explains that he trained to become an optician so he could research night blindness. Then, along the way, he discovered that he loves working with people so has put the research on hold for a bit.

He’s chatting away, cleaning and preparing that funny eye-test machine as he talks.

As he pulls it across in front of me he stops and pauses. Then he says, ‘Yes, I suppose we all have a story.’

‘Yes, we do’ I say as big smile appears across my face. 

Then I watch the penny drop.

‘Oh yes, of course you do’, he chuckles.

And in that moment I felt utterly connected to this kind, lovely and warm man whose entire career has been defined by the unbreakable love he has for his sister. It just goes to show, when an employees' purpose is aligned with the business they work in it's a truly beautiful and powerful thing. 

An emotional connection was carved that afternoon and Specsavers feels far warmer to me now because of it.

Do you know what your business' purpose is? Want to create your brand story? Why not come to my workshop next month at Make It Studios in Stroud? (Hurry, places are limited). Get in touch or visit my website if you'd like to find out more.  

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