Hello, hello, long time no speak! After a mad few months of courses, speaking, workshops and plenty of brand clients in between, I’m back in the blog game, and I’m coming back with a Hollywood style bang. Trust me. One of the things that’s been a huge part of my content or my courses and my workshop is storytelling. It’s another huge buzzword right now, and I think there are a few misconceptions, and myths around what it’s all about. That’s why with this blog I want to chat to you about seven ways to take your storytelling to the next level.
So, before we get into the specifics, I want to set the story straight (see what I did there) on this huge and crucial part of building a business and creating the life you love. Firstly, if you’re reading this thinking, ‘But I don’t have a story, or I’m not that interesting,’ then let me tell you right now, you’re wrong. We all have a story. You, me, Sharon down the road. Everyone has one. And the great thing is that it evolves every day. Every experience you go through adds to it, shapes it and redefines what it could be. Secondly, storytelling is all about the negatives and trying to make people cry. Wrong again. Yes, tragedy can come into it, and we’ll come onto that a bit later. But this isn’t X Factor. This is your life and your business. There is so much more potential than a sob story.
And why is it so important? Well, everyone loves a story. Everyone. They are such an important way for us to connect and learn, something that we’ve grown up with that feels so natural to us. And if we have experienced something similar or the story resonates with us, we automatically feel drawn to the person telling it. We laugh with them, we empathise with them, we feel like they’re going to get us, because we’ve shared a similar moment or life event. That’s so powerful. It’s how you create friendships. How you break the ice with new people at dinner parties. I mean, I bet you have a killer story you always tell when you meet someone new, right?
So just imagine if you could create that strength of connection with your audience. Imagine if, through your experiences and the things that happen around you, you could turn followers into friends – either of your brand, or of you personally. And if not that, then at least bring them into your loyal tribe of returning customers who not only know you, or like you, but love you. Imagine that…
But how are you going to make that happen? That’s the million dollar question, right? So let’s go to the million dollar industry who tell stories for a living day in, day out – Hollywood. Every film fits into one, or more of the seven basic plots in the world. (WTF??????) Yeah, that’s right, there are only seven basic stories in the world, ever.
1 – OVERCOMING THE MONSTER
Overcoming the monster is the classic hero vs villain plot. We’re talking Rocky, or James Bond. It’s about defeating your nemesis and emerging victorious. So what does that mean in a business sense? Well, it’s all about feeling the fear and doing it anyway. For all of us, when we start off, there is something we hate to do. Something that scares us, that we avoid at all costs, and that is our monster. By identifying what that is, we can start to fight back, start to deal with it and stop it holding us back.
For me, my monster was being Live. I used to make excuses, ‘I wasn’t feeling it’ or ‘I was too busy,’ and just say to myself that I’d do it tomorrow. But looking back now I can see those excuses for exactly what they were. Eventually, I did go for it. And by doing that I gave myself a nervous blink – out of nowhere. But I carried on, I fought back, and now I’m live all the time. It doesn’t stop there though. Yes, I defeated my monster, but now I talk about it to inspire others. I use it as part of my storytelling to show that if I can do it, so can you. So ask yourself, what challenges do you face?
2 – RAGS TO RICHES
If you want the perfect rags to riches film, think Cinderella. Going from nothing, to having everything you could ever want. This is the journey we’re all on. Every business starts in the same place – no clients, no orders, just the passion and hard work of the person running it – that’s YOU by the way. And there’s no stopping us making it to the top. The only problem is that we don’t have a fairy godmother coming to give us a boost up the ladder (well I don’t, I don’t know about you). We have to put in those hard yards and have our goals in our sights.
So what could your rags to riches story be? What do you do to bring in more money? What are your biggest successes? Personally, my rags to riches story is setting my year one money goal and smashing it within 9 months. I use that all the time. Why? Because I didn’t come from anywhere. No-one bankrolled me. I mean, I wasn’t wearing rags when I started, but you see that I’m getting at. Anyone can make their business a success, whatever their background.
3 – THE QUEST
We’re all here for a reason. We all have a mission, or a big goal, something that we want to achieve. And we’re all driven by a big why. The thing that motivates us to keep going. To keep showing up day in, day out and not hiding away in a dark room. When that alarm goes off and you feel like you’ve had your eyes closed for 30 seconds, your big why, and your quest is the thing kicks you out of bed and gets your arse in gear.
My quest is creating a life I love by helping female entrepreneurs to do the same. I’m not here to cash cheques. I could’ve done that in my 9-5. But I didn’t feel challenged. I didn’t have that thing kicking me out of bed in the morning. The thing with quests is that they take time. They’re not instant. So what I aim to do every day is to add value that helps female entrepreneurs see things differently. I want to use my expertise to get you thinking differently about your brand, showing up with intent and putting you at the heart of everything. And my quest evolves all the time because all the time I’m on it, I’m always learning. Those experiences become the foundation for all the content I create, the stories I tell, and the value I try to add.
4 – VOYAGE AND RETURN
Your business is a journey – I say that a lot, because it’s true. It’s not a one-stop shop, there’s no magic solution. It takes time to lay the foundations, and it takes time to refine the rest. You always have to move forwards. Challenge yourself and break new ground, because it’s only when you do that, that you can grow and scale what you do. The great thing is that every day you take a step forward, every day the voyage continues you’ll be exposed to new experiences and new problems to solve. These become part of your story, and you can use them in your content every single day.
My journey has been going for a few years now and I’m still learning new things. Whether it’s working with new people, speaking at events, being part of retreats or launching my own courses – not to mention every day stuff like the things I see or hear on my way to meetings, I’m always aware and thinking about how to turn my journey into learnings for my clients.
Oh, and the film example for this bad boy – Alice in Wonderland. Obvs.
5 – REBIRTH
One of my favourite plots of all time. Why? Because it’s the plot to one of my favourite ever films. And what’s that I hear you all ask? Four words. Beauty and the Beast.
But what does it mean from a business sense? Well for me, it’s all about what came before all of this. Not the whole journey, but what did you learn from your life before launching your business that you makes you an expert now you’ve been reborn as an entrepreneur?
Maybe like me you worked in a 9-5 doing something similar? I was a designer, in editorial publishing, after studying Graphic Design at Uni. But I knew I had more to give. So I went for it, launched my businesses. The question is, what was your life before this and how could you use that to connect with your audience?
6 – COMEDY
Who doesn’t love a comedy, eh? Sometimes in life you’ve gotta’ just stop and laugh. And it’s the same in business. When you’re being you, and I mean 100% unapologetically you, you can’t take yourself too seriously. The film version of this is Bridget Jones’ Diary – which says it all really. I think people, especially my audience really relate and resonate with that.
So when I stumble over a word, I make a joke out of it. Or if I ummm and errrr and forget my train of thought I laugh at myself. Rather than letting it derail the whole Live or video, I use it as an opportunity to show my personality and let everyone watching know that I’m not perfect. Because at the end of the day, who is?
If you want everything to be perfect, you’ll never do it. Trust me. So embrace the little mistakes and use it as a way to connect with people. You’ll seem so much more relatable and human I promise you. And if a funny story happens in your business shout about it. Just make sure there’s a lesson for your audience to learn.
7 – TRAGEDY
Ahhhh the classic story. If this was a film it would be Romeo and Juliet. In business, it’s the default that I feel a lot of people go to when it comes to storytelling and that’s why I’ve left it until the end. Some stories are sad and sometimes things can go wrong. Of course, there is a time and a place for those stories. They can 100% build an emotional connection with your audience, but they should not be the be all and end all of your storytelling.
Why? Because you and your business are so much more. You have the potential to inspire, motivate and change people’s lives through telling stories of the things that happen to you and your business. That’s a powerful thing to be able to do. So don’t take it lightly.
Plus, if you keep telling the same story over and over again, it will lose it’s impact.
So there you have it. Seven ways to take your storytelling to the next level. I hope this post has inspired you to tell more stories in your business, and think outside the box when it comes to knowing what you want to talk about. Just remember, whatever story you go for, make sure there is a lesson for your audience to learn. Always pay it back to them and add value to their lives and their business.
I can’t wait to read all your stories.