Stories Matter

Have you ever been asked, “What’s your story?” It’s because we are infatuated with what is going on underneath the surface. Or maybe we’re just nosey.

Stories come in all shapes and sizes: a billboard, a tweet, a 30-second advertisement, an essay, a poem, a memoir, or a novel. Stories, whether mundane or extraordinary, connect people to people.

They accomplish at least four main things:

  1. Clarify a person’s vision of who they are and the extent of their potential
  2. Engage others in ways that motivate them to move forward, make decisions, and build relationships
  3. Create a community and a connection between a person and others, between them and organizations, between them and the brands they buy
  4. Teach something

Here are a few links that demonstrate the power of stories:

Annemarie Timmons
Freedom – A Journey of the Heart: The life story of resilience, forgiveness and hope from the Minstrel of Kansas City
She escaped from the communist sector of East Germany to the free society of West Germany in 1955 and then to the USA when she turned 21. She was convinced that she was free. Little did she know, it was just the beginning of her Journey to Freedom. Hers is an amazing story of hope and resilience. The vision for freedom remains a steadfast promise throughout her journey.

Charles Bono
Did We Survive?
A well respected Federal Administrative Law Judge, Judge Charles N. Bono poignantly shares how he navigated obstacles in the book, Did We Survive? He describes how his Italian immigrant heritage, and his quest for identifying his true self, shaped who he is. It is a story of heartbreaking struggles and also one of endurance and success. Bono’s story teaches the consequences of the many life-decisions we all face.

Michelle Obama
Becoming Michelle Obama
Becoming, the recently published memoir of Michelle Obama, provides great perspective on her path to becoming The First Lady of the United States of America, a wife, mother, and powerful advocate for females in the U.S. and around the world. She helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history. This story engages you and motivates you to move forward while demonstrating the power of relationships.

Phil Knight
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
Shoe Dog is a candid and riveting memoir by Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight. It tells the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands. This book is an excellent story about a business creating a community and a relational connection with its audience.

What’s the point?

This whole conversation might sound cliché, but it’s not. The ability to tell a good story equates to an individual or an organization’s ability to play a part in people’s lives. And isn’t that the end goal? Stories are more than just entertainment. They connect people with people, businesses, products, and their dreams.

That’s the point. And that’s why stories matter. Have you thought about the story you are communicating or the one you should be sharing?

Susan K Spaulding is an Author, Facilitator, Researcher, Strategist, Consultant, and Coach.

I work with businesses and leaders to take inventory, uncover the possibilities and navigate a path forward.

Twitter: @susankspaulding