JKWhitehead & Associates

What’s Your Story and Why Is It So important?

What’s Your Story and Why Is It So important?

Storytelling is fundamental to the human search for meaning” – Mary Catherine Bateson

There are some great stories floating around social media. Everyday news pop up, along with the recycled. This past week it was the Crime Stoppers video from Louisiana that went viral as a solemn State Trooper explained exactly what he was going to do and what was going to happen to a burglary suspect once he was apprehended; it even made it to our local news. What is your story? Can you tell it succinctly, with clarity, with passion? Why is this question so important?


Storytelling is as old as the hills. “[It] is an ancient art that hasn’t changed much in several thousand years” (Steven Denning, 2005). It is still significant to many cultures as a way of passing down history, genealogy, values and laws. Stories can be used to tell others who you are (your personal journey) and builds trust in your authenticity as a person. This is especially true if the story you tell focuses on a specific change you’ve experiences, or the significance of a life-changing event that had a positive impact on you. Stories can also influence how others perceive you and/or your company as a brand. They can be a vehicle for the presentation of your values. Storytelling allows you to put what would be a conventional business plan into a more engaging context.

We value stories because they are like reports of research projects, only easier to understand, remember and use” – Gary Klein

Perhaps most importantly, stories allow you to share your vision. Storytelling is a way to take people with you into the world you envision; to demonstrate your own interactions and success.

My posts to date have revolve around leadership, leadership development and the challenges faced by leaders. The original perspective was from the viewpoint of my own journey as I transitioned from being an employee, to being self-employed. Although it still has some of that, I realize that the lens I have been using is storytelling. What I have been doing over the past year is really telling stories. In most of my posts I have used personal examples to illustrate my point.

There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.” –J.K. Rowling

Steven Denning in his book The Leaders Guide to Storytelling (Jossey-Bass) stated “With the right kind of story at the right time [organizations, groups, and individuals] are stunningly vulnerable to new ideas.” No one is immovable, given the right story and the way it is told.

So, what is your story?

Stories are a communal currency of humanity.” –Tahir Shah, in Arabian Nights


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