Listen to our daily blog-casts on Amazon. Enable our "What's Your Story" daily flash briefing and listen using your Alexa device!
I want you to imagine a Mountain. Really picture in your head the landscape of this mountain, and imagine what it might look like if you were looking at this mountain from afar…. you’d see the base, the peak, then the other side.
This mountain is an image I use in all of my storytelling classes to help people understand their own story, and how to craft their message in a powerful way.
This applies to all great storytelling — for businesses, for people, for analysis of politics — everything.
Here’s how this mountain relates to storytelling: What makes up a great story is the element of transformation. When people tell stories without this ingredient, the stories fall flat and are very boring. Think of a movie script — can you imagine watching a movie without experiencing the buildup to the climax? It would be a disaster.
For my illustration, I’m going to use a business as an example — because I think too many businesses overlook the power of storytelling. When you look at that mountain, at the base is really the first step— which is describing the “before” of your business. This might be before the business was even born. At the base of the mountain, you have yet to begin your journey — so describe for your audience what did it look like before your business began? How did the owner decided to start this company? What was the historical context? Set the stage for us.
The next major piece of the mountain is the climb up. This section of your business is where you launch something and you are having to work hard to climb around the trees. You probably fall down a few times and scrape your knees along the way. You might even encounter a wild animal you have to fight off in order to keep going up the mountain. Are there any small micro-stories you can tell that relatable in the journey of the business? What was it like for the business to get off the ground? The next part of the mountain is the best. This is the peak. You climb, climb, climb and then you finally make it to the top — and what happens there? You can see the vista!! You can finally catch your breath. Your perspective completely changes because you can see the beautiful views and they are magnificent. In the story of your business, what was the transformative moment that finally made things click for you… made the journey easier, more alive with beautiful mountain views?
The final step on the journey is the other side… the journey down the other side of the mountain which is so much easier than the climb up…. On the other side, you can think back through your journey and realize those hardships and setbacks were all worth it — and in many cases you realize the lessons you learned along the way. Those are big takeaways that shape the way you do business now, right? Those are golden nuggets that are really important to share as part of the business journey. As business owners, don’t forget to share the story behind your business from time to time. In many ways, it offers a real insight to the humans behind the brand … and draws your clients and potential new clients in a little closer because they will have made a human connection with the story.
If you’d like a worksheet that goes through this Mountain exercise in detail. click here to download your free Story Formula Guide — You can do the writing exercises inside to help you flesh out your own business story — or any other story you are wanting to work on, using this formula!