Influence through storytelling: What is your story?

“To be a person, is to have a story to tell” – Isak Dinesen.

Do you remember when you were young and your parents put you to sleep? Right before they kissed you on the forehead and said goodnight they said, “Let me tell you a story…” I know you remember. What was your favorite story growing up? Little Red Riding Hood, Three Little Pigs? How about movies? Did you watch Titanic, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings or Gladiator? What is your favorite movie of them all? Did you watch the news today? Have you read the newspaper today? What is your favorite news channel, CNN, MSNBC, etc? At this point you must be asking yourself, “What do children’s stories, movies, news stations and newspapers have in common?” Answer: everything! They are ALL stories!

Think about it. The news on TV and in newspapers is made up of narratives or stories of things that happened in the past. Stories are how human beings communicate, and every single person on the planet is a storyteller; yes you are a storyteller.

Let me prove it to you.

You had an amazing weekend and Monday morning comes and your coworkers ask you, “How was your weekend?” What do you tell them? You start, “Let me tell you what happened…first we did this….then we did that….and finally…” Is that correct? You see, we have been telling stories for the longest time.

During my research in storytelling I learned that we have been telling stories forever, since we were cavemen.  Just search the word “cuneiform” and you will find pictures and information proving this.

Cuneiform is the earliest known form of written expression (3000 BC). Cuneiform proves the point that humans were telling stories to each other for a long, long time. So if storytelling has been a major part of our lives, whether or not you recognize it, a great question to ask is, “What is my story?”

If you were to take the stage in front of 20,000 people, or if you were to broadcast your story in a video to millions and millions of people through the Internet, what would you tell?

How would you tell it?

Storytelling appears not only in our personal lives but also in our professional lives. A lot of commercials on TV tell you a story. CEOs and managers tell stories to inspire their employees. Soap operas tell stories. Reality TV shows tell stories of people like us. Religious leaders tell stories to educate their followers. It’s all about stories. As Joseph Campbell said, “Everything starts with a story.”  So how can you use the art and science of storytelling to make your life better? You can do this by consciously writing your personal story and sharing it with your clients and potential customers. Why would you do that? Your clients must know you before they trust you. A long time ago, when humans used to live in very small communities, everybody knew each other. They knew your family and they knew your traditions. In today’s society, that is not the case anymore. People have been burnt before and they do not trust strangers. Storytelling is one of the best ways to create trust between you and your clients, so they have a chance to know who you really are.

Here is a quick outline for you to create your personal story:

1) Past: Where did you come from? What was the biggest adversity that you overcame? What did you learn? What was the most significant thing that happened in your life growing up?

2) Present: Why are you doing what you do? What do you love about your life now? What drives you now?

3) Future: Where are you going? What does your future look like?

At this point you are wondering, “Roberto, what is your story?” Here is a very short version of my professional story. When I was growing up in Brazil, I was a paperboy at the age of 15.  I looked at soccer players and TV stars and told myself, “One day I want to have that.” The “that” wasn’t to be a soccer player or movie star, but to have that element of passion and fluidity that most successful people have. Some people were just made to do something. My quest to find and live my soul purpose started at a young age. I moved to America when I was 25 and like most Brazilians who come here, I struggled big time. I remember being so embarrassed when I went to look for a job because I could not speak English at all. I was so broke that I slept on the floor for 3 months because I did not have the money to buy a mattress or a bed. When I was growing up in Brazil I learned a quote that has helped me overcome any adversity. The quote said, “determination today leads to success tomorrow.” With that in mind, I decided to follow my dreams. After working very hard, getting an MBA education, and being part of a successful business in San Diego, I ended up working as a speaker for the # 1 success coach in the world, Mr. Anthony Robbins. After 6 years of experience and over 2,700 presentations, I moved on to have my own training company and empower people around the globe. My passion today is simple yet powerful: help people become an even better version of themselves. Today I live in San Diego with my beautiful girlfriend Dennaye and my vision is to positively impact as many lives as possible around the world. Now, as you can see, I have a short version of my story that I tell during my presentations (of course I always customize and change it a little bit). The key is to have a format that you can use during your one-on-one or one-to-many presentations. Your prospective clients cannot trust you if they do not “know” you first. In my opinion, having a “Who am I?” story is one of the best ways to do that. Who are you? What is your story?

To Your Success

Roberto Monaco

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