When I start working with creative leaders, the first thing I look for is their story, my clients are my heroes, so their hero’s journey is vital. So many different and specific questions bring us to the bottom line – what’s your story? Their story reveals what I need to know about them, their family, and their business. The first step would be – to re-write that story to fit the vision of who you want to be at the end of our work together and then live up to it.
It can be worth our while to listen to great storytellers and learn some of their trade secrets. What I find especially useful is what makes a story stick and remain in our minds and hearts for many years after we hear it. That’s the kind of story you want to tell and listen to again and again.
What Matthew Dicks says about storytelling:
“Great storytelling isn’t a single thing…The best ones take you on an emotional journey, always landing somewhere in the heart that leaves an indelible mark…” from the book Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade and change your life through the power of storytelling.
What Brian McDonald says about storytelling is: “Stories are not complicated. They are, in fact deceptively simple. But like anything simple. they are difficult to create” “The stories that tend to stick to our bones are those that teach us something.”
For more than 25 years, I’ve been working with students, individual artists, companies, and my own company on creating circus acts and performances that resonate.
The first step is to write the vision for the piece. That would be the “Story.” It’s not told with words, eventually when it meets the audience, but it has Drama and is what Matthew Dicks calls an “emotional journey.” If it’s not, it doesn’t “stick to your bones”, it’s just a sequence of figures organized in a certain way… You’ve seen one; you’ve seen them all…
So for years, I heard myself say – “What’s the emotional build-up? What’s the emotional journey you’re taking your audience on?”
I don’t care how long the act is, it can be 3 minutes, but if it doesn’t take us somewhere emotionally, it won’t resonate.
Working with creative leaders in art, education, or business, is fundamentally the same. First, you write the “Story,” your vision. If you want it to stick, it has to be an emotional journey. For it to resonate with your team, board of directors, customers, and clients, you must keep the story alive. When you keep the story alive, the business stays alive too.
Think about your family, it has a story, an emotional one, it keeps you together, and the story lives on in the minds of all the members of your family. Older members tell it to the younger generations, and that’s how humanity is kept alive and evolving.
We pass stories from one generation to the next. That’s the nature of cultural evolution.
Looking at things this way can change your perspective.