What Is Public Narrative: Self, Us and Now (Public Narrative Worksheet – Working Paper)



Marshall Ganz explains what public narrative is and the power of the story of self, us and now.


“In this worksheet you will focus primarily on your story of self. But public narrative is not primarily a form of self-expression. It is an exercise of leadership by motivating others to join you in action on behalf of a shared purpose. Although this worksheet focuses on your “story of self”, the goal is to identify sources of your own calling to the purpose in which you will call upon others (story of us) to join you in action (story of now). Remember, public narrative requires learning a process, not writing a script. It can be learned only by telling, listening, reflecting, and telling again – over, over and over. This is to get you started.

1. A story of now:

  • What urgent challenge do you hope to inspire others to take action on?
  • What is your vision of successful action?
  • What choice will you call on members of your community – in this case, your classmates – to make if they are to meet this challenge successfully?
  • How can they act together to achieve this outcome? And how can they begin now, at this moment?
  • Describe this “now” in two or three sentences.

2. A story of us:

  • To what values, experiences, or aspirations of your community – in this case your classmates at the very least ‐ will you appeal when you call on them to join you in action?
  • What stories do you share that can express these values?
  • Describe this “us” in two or three sentences.

3. A story of self:

  • Why were you called to motivate others to join you in this action?
  • What stories can you share that will enable others to “get you.”
  • How can you enable others to experience sources the values that move you not only to act, but to lead?
  • Focus on this section, trying to identify key choice points that set you on your path.” – pg 1

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What Is Public Narrative: Self, Us and Now

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