Power of StorytellingI’m about to admit something I”m not proud of…. you ready?

I watch X-factor.

There I said it, now let’s move on.

If you haven’t been following X-factor, let me fill you in.  In a nutshell, it’s American Idol.

You have Simon Cowell, Paul Abdul and L.A. Reid (who I might add, is much better than Randy Jackson).  The main difference is that each judge on the show mentors a group of the contestants that they have selected — helping with song selection, staging and over all production.

There is something educational about the show.  There are a few life lessons to be learned: ‘successful people are constantly stepping out of their comfort zone’, ‘how to deal with adversity’, ‘in order for something better to enter your life, something usually has to leave’.

And there is a POWERFUL influence and business lesson to be learned.

Let me tell you about Chris Rene.

Chris is currently 1 of 4 contestants left in the competition.

Here’s the kicker:

He’s not the best singer
His music is  not in the most popular music genre
He’s not the most presentable

So why is he in the quarterfinals?  Because, “he with the most powerful story wins”… and


Chris is a methamphetamine addict.  He has been since he was a young kid.  His family tried to help him with his addiction for years — to no aveil.

Then one day Chris wrapped his car around a tree and went from the hospital, straight to a recovery facility to begin his healing.

He credits his counselor Tim for contributing to his sobriety in a big way.

Chris’s story is a classic hero’s journey:

Slavery (drug addiction) + Event (car accident) + Transformation (treatment w/Tim) + Freedom from Slavery (Sharing his message on X factor)

EVERYONE is rooting for Chris.  We love rooting for the underdog.

Last night, my point, was even further proven.

Right before Chris went on, they did a clip talking about how his father was musician too — and Chris’s hero.  They showed pictures of Chris with his dad at the piano.

Chris narrated that he learned to play the piano from watching his dad play.  Then he talked about how his father had tried to help him with his addiction so many times.  And each time, Chris let him down.

He told us that four years ago, his dad got cancer, and the whole family came to the hospital.  Each person was allowed to ‘whisper’ in his dad’s ear to say goodbye.  When it was Chris’s turn, he whispered in his dad’s ear, along the lines:  “dad I’m sorry I messed up so bad and I never made you proud, I promise I will make you proud one day…”  And then his dad died.

Watching this at home, my heart ached.  I was flooded with memories and emotions of the time I had to say goodbye to my grandpa (basically my dad).  It was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life.  And I was young with little regrets.

I could only imagine what it must’ve felt like to have lost your hero and having the weight of regret, knowing you will never get the chance to make him proud.

One of the teachings that I hold close to my heart is…” the definition of hell is: dieing and meeting the person you could’ve been.”

My heart went out for the guy…I WAS EVEN MORE connected to him.

Making his story even more captivating, as he was closing his clip he got very emotional and he said, “Tonight, I know, I’m finally going to make my father proud….” and he started crying…I doubt there was a dry eye across america.

That is the power of story.

My guess is Chris just story told his way into the finals because:

“He with the most powerful story wins.”

What is your story?  What is your company creation story?

Please share below.  I would love to hear it.


  1. Amber Anderson on December 15, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Hit the nail on the head! Everyone relates to a story and influence is everything! great read!

    • Jeff Sterling Paro on December 15, 2011 at 9:07 pm

      Thanks Amber…you're becoming the queen of influence! I saw your last videos!

  2. Wynn Austin on December 15, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Jeff Sterling Paro this is such a wonderful story with a powerful message. It is so true and being a fan of the show It definitely made sense. The powerful part was I felt all those things about Chris Rene but didn't even know it. But that is the power of a story. Wonderful job my friend!

    • Jeff Sterling Paro on December 15, 2011 at 9:06 pm

      Thanks Wynn! I appreciate the feedback and support…you ROCK!

  3. Nai-Ad C-Ara on December 16, 2011 at 1:02 am

    thank you so much for sharing this heart-warming story…

  4. Dennis Verner on December 16, 2011 at 1:27 am

    Personal stories are do powerful and they connect people. Thanks.

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