Words of Wisdom for
Leadership, Learning, and Life in
Exactly 99 Words
99's On the Go

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99-Word Stories by ,
Creative Learning Director of
The Flirefly Group.
© 2011 Brian Remer
Updated Dec. 2011

99's on the 9th
A Newsletter of 99-Word Stories that
comes to you on the 9th of every month.

View a recording of Brian's webinar, "Lessons for Leadership in 99 Words or Less." Learn why shorter can be better, play games using 99-Word Stories, and find out how to write compelling stories for learning or inspiration. (You will be asked to share your name and email address but it's free!)

Click to see an alternative interpretation from a Reader of Built to Last, the May 2011 issue of 99's on the 9th.

June 2011

Open for Business?
Savoring early morning coffee and the ocean view from my booth in Breakers Restaurant at the Ashworth Hotel, I was startled by a loud tapping on the front door. Someone wanted to get in for breakfast. Looking around the deserted restaurant, I called for the cook to open the door.

Here it was thirty minutes after "opening" and the front door was still locked. You'd think someone would have checked - especially since they'd had to unlock the side door from the hotel for me earlier!

Oh, the things we do that unintentionally thwart our own progress!


Open a conversation about the theme of this 99-Word story. Try using some of the following questions to initiate a discussion within your team or organization.


One Interpretation
As the discussion questions suggest, there is never just one way to understand a 99-Word story. If you would like to compare your interpretation with another viewpoint, consider this analysis.

Thirty minutes after the official start of the day, the restaurant still wasn't fully open for business. How can this be explained? Were the workers rushing around with last minute preparations, too busy to notice the locked door had been neglected? Was everyone on auto pilot, coasting through a morning so habitual they forgot that essential detail? Or was it casual indifference, a certainty that "someone else will take care of it?"

The answer is unknowable, but that makes the speculation all the more fun. How many more explanations can we generate? Unfortunately, trying to guess the reason is really just a nicer way of looking for someone to blame. And if we're going to start pointing the finger, eventually someone is liable to point one right back at us. As the last line of the story suggests, we all do things that limit our own success whether that's an action, an attitude, or an acquired way of thinking.

Perhaps it's more productive to talk about what it means to be "open for business." What conditions need to be in place for us to be fully present, engaged, motivated, and alert to our responsibilities? How might we challenge ourselves, our colleagues, and our loved ones to open the doors for new opportunities rather than staying behind locked doors wondering why the world is passing us by?


Did you use this 99-Word Story and the discussion questions or interpretation in your work or personal life? If so, about your experience! If you would like help using 99-Word Stories in your organization, please me.

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