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100 Word Story 2 – Naked Ambition

“You’re body has character. I can tell.”

I’ve never been groomed, but I imagine this is how it feels.

The advert on the noticeboard just said ‘Models Required. Cash Paid’. I needed cash.

The sperm bank had already refused my deposit. Apparently they already had more than enough of my seed.

“Now it’s £15. Unless…”

“Unless what?” Stupid, stupid question.

“I can make it £50 if you’d pose nude for the class.”

Jackpot.

I nod and get naked.

“Where do you want me?”

He peers over his glasses.

“I admire your enthusiasm, but the class, dear boy, is tomorrow night.”

100 Word Story 1 – Gently Weeps

It was worth £350. I got £100. I could haggle, I could beg – but the outcome would be the same. Bastards.

I leave with my dignity and 10 crisp £10 notes.

I add it to my £42.56. Not a lot to show for my life, but it’s enough. Just.

I know I’ll make her happy. Don’t know how, but I will.

I smile at the thought.

“Where’s my guitar you little shite.”

My smile vanishes.

I tell him my love story.

“Much you get for it?”

“A ton.”

He shakes his head as the knife gracefully glides between my ribs.

Business Storytelling Episode 1 | Becoming a story hunter

As I’m talking to more organisations about storytelling two phrases, keep cropping up. “It’s just what we do.” and “Nobody would be interested.” They’re dueling it out, but they’re not alone. Throw in the odd “does anyone care?” and “My stories are boring” and you have a flavour of the storytelling sentiment from many business owners.

When you’re so close to your day-to-day business – you lose sight of the fantastic stories that you have to tell. They pass you by. They slip through your fingers. Fall through the cliche.

Clients, partners, and colleagues tell me stories all the time. Stories that they take for granted – I find fascinating. My knee-jerk reaction now is to say – great; you need to share that. Telling stories is just part of who we are as human beings. We tell stories naturally every day of our lives. As business owners and leaders of organisations – we seem reluctant to set our stories free.

The ideal place to start is by becoming a committed Story Hunter

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I live between the splendid cities of Dundee and Perth in Scotland. When I’m listening to the radio in the car, invariably I need to tweak the frequency as I move between the two cities. In other words – I need to tune in.

That’s what you need to do. You need to be constantly tuned into the stories that surround you as you go about your working day. But it’s not just about you as an individual – it’s about creating a storytelling culture throughout the organisation.


 

Here’s a list of the Types of Story you should be on the look out for.

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Personal Origin Stories

You might think they’re self-indulgent, but stories about your journey help add a personal touch to your organisation. But it doesn’t have to be just about you. Stories about each of your team members will help share your collective personality.

The Founding Story

Whether you’re a 100-year-old business, or just launched last week, you have a foundation story. The ‘how you got here’ is interesting – but the ‘why’ you do what you do is so much more important.

The Philosophy Story

This can be a mix of ‘what we stand for’ and your overall vision for your business. It’s where you share your principles of doing business.

What we do stories

Simply stating we ‘build sheds’ or we ‘cut hair’ isn’t exactly memorable. But sharing a story from a Carpenter or Stylist about an aspect of their work certainly can be. People remember real stories. This will likely be your greatest story pool as you can get everyone in the organisation involved.

Future Stories

Sharing stories about your vision for the future of your industry and your business positions you as a thought-leader. You might read an article online that sparks something in you. Capture your thoughts and share your perspective.

Every Day Stories

Find the everyday personal stories that we all relate to. If a member of your team has a baby, tell the story. If you run a marathon, share your experiences. The lines between the personal and business version of ‘you’ have never been more blurred.

Success Stories

Tell the stories of how you have helped others. And don’t settle for weak, pithy testimonials. Create a case study to tell a richer story of how you made a difference to your clients. Well structured success stories will improve your business.

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You can’t create all of your stories at once, but you can, and you must capture them. Here are some quick ideas on how to do that.

Simple Text Document

Create a text document and just list the story idea on a new line. Use bullets if you really must!

Evernote

Add a new note to Evernote and categorise as ‘story’ so that you can quickly find them.

Google Drive

If you already collaborate using Google Drive, use that as a central story store. (Other collaboration tools are available!)

MindMap

I’m ridiculed for many reasons – my MindMap obsession is just one of them! If you are ‘a freak like me’ then maybe capturing your story ideas in this way would help.

Audio Memo

Most phones have an audio record function. If you can’t write it down, just record your thoughts.

I’ll add a more detailed post about capturing your story ideas – but for now, just keep it simple. And remember if it looks like, smells like or feels like a story – capture it.

And please, never take your stories for granted again.

P.S. Enrol for my free 5 Week ‘Case Study Code’ Email Course by entering your name and email below.

P.P.S. You can listen to a short audio version of this post on Anchor.

What’s the story? My Next Chapter

I couldn’t get to sleep. I’d drift off for a few minutes then wake up again. Each time the same question jumped into my head. I tried ignoring it. Three more days – three more fitful nights. Sleeping. Waking. Sleeping. Waking. It wasn’t stress. I’ve had that before. No this was different. The question that consumed me was this –

Am I building the right business?

The fact I was even ASKING the question, gave me my answer.

I knew I needed to make a change. Not a dramatic change, more a resetting of course.

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Phase 1 – Marketing Consultant

It’s a year since I won my first piece of business for ‘Square Tree Marketing’. That was special. A defining moment for me. I’d registered the business in October 2014 when it became clear that I would be leaving D.C. Thomson. But the truth was – I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was in a weird and unhappy place. So I called myself a ‘marketing consultant.’ It was a logical step. I’d worked in Marketing for the best part of 20 years. It seemed the right thing to do.

Phase 2 – Writer

I worked for a number of clients, initially producing marketing plans. The work that gravitated to me most often was copywriting. I’d bestow the virtues of Content Marketing before being told that they either didn’t have the time or inclination to write. In August 2015 – I finally came out – I admitted to the World that I was, in fact, a WRITER. And that’s exactly what I am. Or so I thought.

Phase 3 – Storyteller

I love to write. It’s my business, and it’s my hobby. In that sense, I’m lucky. But something just didn’t feel right. This sense of building the wrong business was something I just couldn’t shake. Here’s what I realised – I’m a storyteller first and a writer second. I believe in the power of stories to entertain and to make connections. My new direction was staring me in the face. I just didn’t notice it.

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Here’s why I’m doing this. As a writer, I can only help so many people. Think about it? I can only write so many words. My time is limited. But my ambition isn’t.

Here’s what I now know was driving my ‘building the wrong business’ question.  Four unfulfilled ‘wants’ –

  • I want to help more people.
  • I want what I do on a daily basis to matter.
  • I want what I do to count for something.
  • I want to make a difference.

As a storytelling coach I can tick off all four of these personal wants. And at the same time I can build a business I am completely invested in, and proud of.

I can help organisations of all sizes tell better stories. This will sound arrogant, but I’m good at telling stories. Whether it’s in my personal life or professional life I’ve always had the ability to find, write and share the story.

do what you love

Now, more than ever, organisations need to tell more stories. And, they need to tell better stories. Each of the stories they write should add value to their audience and their business. And, much as I’d like to, I can’t tell every story. But I can be an educator and a teacher of the craft of storytelling for businesses.

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Education

Everyone learns differently, so the plan is to share my storytelling knowledge in as many different ways as possible. Here’s how that will eventually look.

  • Free Resources
    • Blogs, videos, Downloads and email courses.
  • Workshops
    • In person, live workshops – where I deliver practical and fun training sessions.
  • Course
    • Online Courses covering storytelling and writing topics.
  • 1-1 Coaching
    • Tailored storytelling and writing coaching sessions
  • Writing
    • And yes, I’ll still be writing. If you need to outsource your writing, I can help.

It’s going to take me a while to get everything the way I’d like it, but I’ve already started the process by launching a free email course – ‘The Case Study Code’.

That’s just for starters. I’ve got a lot of exciting ideas for the future of The Story Edge – but I’ve got more than enough to be getting on with. For starters, I’ve got a list of 122 blog articles I want to write and the course material isn’t going to write itself.

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I’m sad that I need to fell the Square Tree. But it needs to be done. Time will tell if it was a stroke of genius or an epic fail. But, it feels like completely the right thing for me to do. I feel like I’ve got a mission to stand behind and a vision to follow.

I’m excited about adding ‘teacher’ and ‘coach’ to my business and I’m looking forward to helping organisations set their stories free. Although there are some admin related activities to get sorted – I’m proud to declare that The Story Edge is very much, open for business. 

Copy of do what you love