I tried for five years to outsource my story. I spent a lot of money doing so, joining coaching programs, taking classes,
My video clients often hope the same thing. That they can share their initial thoughts and I will take that and tell their story.
But only they know their story, and for me to tell their story, they first have to dig in and figure out what they want to communicate and to who, first.
Even though I’m told “we don’t have time to… discuss our goals, get the team together, answer the discovery questions,” those teams I somehow manage to convince to make time end up happier with the outcome of their video because it does tell their story.
Uncovering the story does take some time, whether you do it yourself or with the support of a storyteller.
A good story has emotional resonance.
I feel that my job in this discovery phase is to ask questions, let you talk, and look for those moments of resonance, where I detect a sense of excitement or emotional connection from the way you tell your story, the words you use or the way your energy lifts.
Visuals and images are not your story. Your story is your vision. It is a way of connecting. It encapsulates the way you see the world, what you are curious about, and how you want to make a difference.
Why you can’t outsource your story
This is why you can’t outsource your story. Only you know your vision, your way of seeing the world, the thing you want to change, and who you want to impact.
A big vision has big impact. Take Nike. The founder Nick Knight in his book Shoe Dog outlines his vision that every person is an athlete and he wanted to create a show for every athlete. This vision permeates the company and is more than just a logo and tagline.
An artist may not use the term vision but instead, use curiosity. What themes do you come back to over and over? What is your main question?
Where can you get help?
You can get help uncovering your story and sorting through your various ideas, visions, goals to get to the one thing you want to say now.
I had to do this for myself. After joining an expensive yearlong coaching program, reading books, taking courses, trying to decipher the patterns of other successful stories, and failing to find an answer, I had to go back to the source, myself.
Time well spent
For all these years, I had been looking for someone like myself who could ask my questions, listen without judgment, be supportive, sift through my answers to the discovery questions and help me craft a narrative that felt like me to communicate my vision.
After helping a happy client go through the set of discovery questions, not without a fair amount of resistance, mind you, but with a good result, I thought maybe I should try this on myself.
I ended up journaling the answers to the same questions I ask my clients. I then read my answers as if I was reading the responses of someone else.
I think the world would be a better place if we hear stories from a more diverse set of voices, so I help tell stories of people, places, ideas which are not in the media.
Sooner is better
That was a painful lesson. I spent five years searching for the way to do this. Five years of looking outside of myself and making less of an impact in the world because I wasn’t helping the people I wanted to help get their stories out into the world.
As an entrepreneur, storyteller, and filmmaker I’m faced with hundreds of decisions a day. And defining my vision is so core to all those decisions, core and vulnerable. It is putting a stake in the ground. So it isn’t surprising that I wanted some help.
Whether you get help or now, the sooner you define your vision the better.