How to Tell Your Story Through a Story Title That Intrigues You 

Good Things Happen in Bookstores and Help Guide Your Life

Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning
Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.

I’m a collector of story titles and subtitles. As a writer and storyteller, they help me strive to continuously develop my craft in a way that intrigues people and draws them into my stories because their curiosity is aroused.

Let me demonstrate what I mean.

Good Things Happen in Bookstores was a title that drew me into a story written by Ryan Holiday because it aroused my curiosity.  

It then took me down memory lane, causing me to reminisce about a childhood experience. 

I used this as a starting point to write my story. 

I didn’t know where my story was going to take me. All I knew was that I really liked the title and that it evoked a strong sense of nostalgia within me. I wanted to explore, through writing, the journey my story would take me on and the discoveries I would make along the way.

Here’s my story:

Good Things Happen in Bookstores and Help Guide Your Life

How Reminiscing Gave Insight and Inspiration in Knowing I’m Where I Need to Be 

Let me take you on a trip down my memory lane.

A Chapter From My Childhood

I grew up in a small village. We didn’t have a bookstore, but we did have a revolving bookstand in one of our local stores. It was an everything kind of store — from groceries to hardware, from toys to clothing. My childhood memories are of it being a treasure trove — you really could find anything there. My earliest memory, at seven years old, was of it being a magical place of discovery.

The most magical discovery for me was that revolving bookstand, which was hidden between pots of paint and freshly laid duck eggs.

It was there I discovered Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, Secret Seven and Malory Towers book series. I’d while away the time waiting for my mum to do her shopping, avidly reading the back covers, deciding which would be my next purchase — for when I’d saved enough money to buy it.

I don’t remember how much each book cost, but I do remember it took me weeks to save for the next one. That wait somehow made each book even more valuable. I can still remember the excitement I felt when I had enough money to buy my next book; running down the hill to the store; re-reading the back covers of all the books to make sure the book I’d already painstakingly decided on was really the best choice; running up the hill back home; disappearing into my bedroom with excited anticipation of the new adventure I was about to be taken on, the magical world I was about to be transported to.

Life was good, and I was happy.

The Chapters of My WorkLife 

My Early WorkLife Chapters

I fell into my job in High Street Banking after leaving school. Then in my 30’s, when I moved to London, I fell into a job in Investment Banking. I always enjoyed my work, but it was just that — work. It afforded me a good lifestyle and allowed me to embrace my love of travel. But I wasn’t passionate about it, nor did it give me a sense of purpose. But I was OK with that, and I didn’t feel I was missing out on anything. I worked with good people in good environments.

Life was good, and I was happy.

My Next WorkLife Chapters

It wasn’t until my 40s that I discovered my WorkLife purpose and passion.

Because of an economic downturn, my banking role was made redundant. While I was figuring out what I was going to do next and what the next chapter of my WorkLife was going to be, my friend Pauline asked me to deliver the job search element of a programme she was running to help people launch their WorkLife in Logistics.

These people had also been impacted by the economic downturn. They, too, had lost their jobs. They were also figuring out what the next chapter of their WorkLife was going to be and were having to reinvent themselves to get back into the workplace.

Having developed a two-day programme which focussed on the elements of the job search programme, when I turned up to deliver it, I discovered before we could get to that, I needed somehow to help restore people’s confidence and self-esteem which had been crushed when through no fault of their own their jobs and livelihoods had been taken from them.

I asked them about things they’d achieved in their WorkLives that they felt good about. As each person began talking and their story unfolded, we all sat back in awe as we listened to one amazing story after another.

I’d never run a workshop programme before, and yet I somehow knew that the key to help people regain their confidence and self-esteem was to ask them to talk about their achievements — in essence, to tell their WorkLife stories.

I remember writing up their stories as I journeyed home. I had experienced a magical moment. I had been transported on their journey through their amazing WorkLife stories — I didn’t know what this meant at the time. I just knew I needed to capture it — so I wrote down their stories.

What I did know, though, through the journeys they had taken me on, was the answer to the question I was trying to figure out — what do I want the next chapter of my WorkLife to be? The stories I’d heard and the experience of the workshop allowed me to know I wanted to be a WorkLife learning practitioner. I wanted to help people manage, develop and transition their WorkLife through meaningful learning.

Life was good, and I was happy.

My Continuing WorkLife Chapters

This led me to university as a mature student to undertake a degree in Career Coaching and Management, which led me to join a Career Consultancy Agency as a career coach and facilitator of learning workshops. This led to launching my own business as a freelance WorkLife learning practitioner, creating learning programmes and resources to help people manage, develop and transition their WorkLives in good, challenging and bad times. This led me to become an author and writer, telling people’s powerful stories about their WorkLife challenges, failures and successes.

I’d been a collector of stories ever since that first workshop. My profession allows me to immerse myself in the world of people’s learning. I get to participate in their WorkLife journeys. Journeys from places of exploration and discovery. I continue to learn through the WorkLife stories of the amazing people I encounter in my WorkLife, from whom I draw inspiration daily.

Life is good, and I’m happy.


But as I sit here and write this story, I realise it goes back even further than that. It actually goes back to my seven-year-old self. Back to those magical moments of discovery that had begun on a revolving bookstand hidden in the treasure trove of my local store. Those magical moments of discovery were the beginning of the many adventures I’ve been taken on through the magic of books and the power of storytelling.

The journey my story took me on and the discoveries I made along the way helped me connect the dots of my WorkLife story in a way that gives me insight and inspiration in knowing I’m where I need to be and an understanding of why that is.

Because a prerequisite of being a writer is being an avid reader, and that’s something that began at the age of seven.

This is relevant to me as a writer because I love telling stories — a love that comes from the books I’ve read.

It is relevant to me as a WorkLife learning practitioner because I’ve always loved learning — a love that comes from the books I’ve read.

And It was also relevant as a banker because my work enabled me to embrace my love of travel and adventure — a love that comes from the books I’ve read. 



Become a Collector of Titles That Draw You Into the Story Assignment

Start with one title and then start writing and see where it takes you.

It’s that simple!

But then, many of the best stories have simple origins.

The magic comes into play through the journey your story takes you on.

A journey of self-discovery.

And in time, should you choose to share your story, the journey it will take your audience on.

Their journeys of self-discovery.

To help you get started, as a suggestion, you may use the title I liked: Good Things Happen In Bookshops. Or you may prefer to choose a title of your own. The great thing about titles that you like is that they allow you to tell your story or a part of your story, and that’s really important.

It’s important because, throughout your WorkLife, you’ll be expected to tell your story or a part of your story: In day-to-day conversations, at interviews, in giving presentations or talks, in networking situations, in social settings, and so on, and so on. Taking a title and developing it into a story that tells who you are and what you’re about is a good skill to develop to enable you to have the perfect story to tell for whatever situation required.


3 Questions to Take You Down Memory Lane Assignment 

Step 1. Ponder the Following Questions:

1. How did who you were as a seven-year-old shape what you did with your life?” (or whatever age is relevant to you).

2. What is something you’ve achieved in your WorkLife that you feel good about?

3. Do you have a memory of something good happening in a bookshop? (or somewhere that is of significance to you, in the way a bookshop is significant to me).

Step 2. Write Down Your Answer to Each Question. Write Down That Part of Your Story.

Why? Because there’s magic in writing, there’s magic in telling your story.

It helps to bring up answers to something you may or may not know you were seeking answers on — as it did for me in making sense of how who I was as a seven-year-old guided what I did with my life.

It helps to regain confidence and self-esteem at times in your WorkLife when you’re crushed through no fault of your own.

It helps you to be a storyteller.

Trust in the process.

When I began writing this story, all I had was a title I liked: Good Things Happen In Bookshops. I didn’t know where it was going to take me. I just knew I really liked it. I knew it would somehow allow me to tell my story. I didn’t know what story it was going to be. I didn’t know where it was going to take me as the writer or you as the reader of the story. All I knew was that it was a title that would allow me to explore and discover what I needed along the way.

Words of Wisdom

A headline that intrigued me enabled me to connect my personal story to the importance of self-reflection and self-awareness in how I found purpose and passion in my WorkLife.

It will help you to do the same.


If you enjoyed this story, you may also like:

The Art of WorkLife Storytelling a series of lessons designed to help you get your sense of character across in a meaningful and truthful way. Stories in which you share your values and your beliefs, your thinking and your ideas, your individuality and your uniqueness. Stories that enable you to speak your truth because you are telling stories that matter to you.

My first book: Your WorkLife Your Way Throughout this book, you will explore your imagination, you will go deep within yourself by asking yourself insightful questions, and you will give yourself continuous feedback. You will write short stories: the stories of your WorkLife chapters.

WorkLife Lessons a collection of stories based on real-life experiences. Designed to help you develop personal and professional skills by self-directing your learning through lessons created to help you maintain a learning lifestyle. Each story has been crafted to enable you to take the lessons most relevant to your learning wants and needs. 

The motivation that drives my work comes from my belief that stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for and stand against.



The wonderful thing about storytelling is that one story leads to another and helps you build a library of stories that are unique to you. Simply because you are telling stories that are meaningful to you.

In this short story from Instagram, learn how I discovered Paper & Cup a social enterprise coffee shop that also sells second-hand books and much more. A new treasure trove for me to explore.

Paper & Cup a social enterprise coffee shop that also sells second-hand books and much more.
Paper & Cup a social enterprise coffee shop that also sells second-hand books and much more.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

I'm Carmel O’ Reilly. I'm a writer and learning practitioner. My books and learning resources are designed to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning. As founder of School of WorkLife, my guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.