This article was originally published here: Imogen Short – Chief Creative Officer of Write the Talk
Imogen Short has found that storytelling has a role in helping businesses become successful.
What’s your story?
I’m a writer, creator and adventurer. I love to see the unique opportunity in each moment and conversation, and I believe we can create magic through human connection. I’ve worked in different kinds of communication and leadership roles across the world and now live near the beach in Hong Kong with my partner and rescue pup. I/we run on the beach and hills most mornings, rain or shine.
What excites you most about your industry?
Storytelling has been around for as long as humans, but it’s only recently become a tool that businesses are exploring seriously. Growing a successful business is about connecting with people – whether it’s employees, investors or customers. And storytelling is the best way to do that.
2020 was a challenging year, there’s no question about that, but we also saw the resilience of the human spirit. More people are thinking about their lives and work in the context of purpose, stories and connection, which is a powerful shift.
What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?
I’ve always been a competitive (amateur!) athlete, whether it’s playing football or trail running. And that comes with a certain kind of mindset and drive. Not to be the best, but to be my best in everything I do; always looking for opportunities to learn and improve. And that’s what I bring to the way I work. I like to take things apart to find new kinds of solutions; to challenge the way things have always been done.
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
Time management is always challenging when you’re running a business and achieving big personal goals, but you quickly learn that it’s got nothing to do with how many hours there are in the day: It’s about managing your energy, not your time. Stick with the ideas, habits and people that give you energy. Because energy becomes your unstoppable force.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
A mentor of mine once quoted Churchill at me: Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
It took me a long time to come to terms with the idea that failure is a huge part of growth, both in my work and running. It hurts because you can give everything and fall short. But I’ll also paraphrase something I heard Adam Grant talk about on a podcast: don’t be an entrepreneur; be a mad scientist. Test ideas like hypothesises you’re trying to prove or disprove. Fail and move on.
Who inspires you?
So many people! My partner Lucy is a creative genius who inspires me every day. And my twin sister is a trail running legend who shares a similar kind of limitless mindset as me. We have no stop button! I’m lucky to be surrounded by the amazing people I work with, both within my team and the clients I speak to everyday.
Externally, trail runner Tommy Rivs has an amazing strength, grit and spirit, especially with the challenges he’s faced recently. And Courtney Dewalter because she is awesome. Both amazing athletes and human beings.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
Hong Kong is made up of around 250 islands. And Ap Lei Chau is one of the most densely populated islands in the world. It’s my new plan to visit them all!
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
During lockdown last year I co-wrote a short film with two of my best friends, which we’re submitting to film festivals over the next few months. It’s been an amazing experience that’s put us in touch with some incredible people in the industry. I’d like to have started that creative journey a few years ago… but I intend to keep progressing with it now.
How do you unwind?
Trail running. It’s both my mental and physical way to relax. My body has to work hard to get through the distance and elevation, and my brain somehow untangles everything that’s on my mind. I also love going our for dinner and drinks with friends, which has been something I missed over the past year. And reading a good book where I can disappear into another world.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?
Failure is a gift, so long as you learn from it.
Everyone in business should read this book:
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and Janet Mills. And anything by Seth Godin or Gary Vaynerchuk.
Shameless plug for your business:
Grounded in the science of human connection, our story shaping programme transforms the way businesses connect with the people that matter, improving business performance (and happiness) over the long term.
As Seth Godin says: “people do not buy goods and services. People buy relations, stories, and magic.”
How can people connect with you?
Social Media Links?
This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.