The Breakthrough

“The most powerful delivery system ever invented for an idea... is a story.” —Aaron Sorkin, Oscar-winning writer

Why understanding and applying story design is the secret to your success

Every person on the planet has a head full of ideas. It’s the nature of our brains; it’s how they work. Our eyes and ears and fingers and noses send sensory information to our brains. Our brains piece it all together and compare it with our memories of past experiences — and they formulate ideas. Thoughts. Concepts. Perceptions. Billions of tiny electrical impulses bouncing between neurons.

To make sense of all that information, we create stories intuitively. Our brains assemble those thoughts and ideas, and the experiences of our lives, into a chronology. Like a constant ever-shifting puzzle, ideas are pieced together to reveal meaning — based on our life’s events, on the people involved, and on the outcome of it all. And then those stories guide us forward through our journey.

We view our entire world and every moment of our lives this way. The story of our youth informs our perception of adulthood. Our connection with the places we have lived is determined by the impact of the stories of our experiences there. Our work and our life’s mission and our enthusiasm and our passion... they are all driven by the stories inside our heads.

So What
is a Story?

A STORY, simply put, is “a narrative account of incidents or events” — which can be real or imagined. Stories are assembled in a way that is designed to entertain, explain, evoke or inspire. And stories are literally everywhere. We hear (and tell) stories, big and small, throughout our lives. They help us make sense of our world.

Every person has a story — where they’ve come from, where they’re going. Every place has a story — the story of its past and the events that shaped it. Every business has a story — how it came to be, and why. Every product. Every innovation. Every design. Every client. Every competitor. Every team. Every client reaction. Every strategic problem. Every personal ambition. Every human relationship. Every failure and every success.

That’s why understanding the dynamics and nature of story is absolutely critical to getting you from “Where You Are”... to “Where You Want to Be”. To most professionals, storytelling is either a trendy buzzword or an impractical waste of limited time and resources (or both). But to those who understand its actual power, story is their secret advantage.

is the Key

To understand its power, consider that the HUMAN MIND is built to solve problems. Its purpose and function is to navigate us through our world. To keep us safe. To identify dangers and opportunities. And to build an environment in which we can survive and prosper.

Its defining feature is IMAGINATION — the ability to see and visualize with our mind’s eye things which are not physically present. Imagination enables us to see the potential consequences of our actions, to rule out dangerous choices, and to tap into effective ones.

Story invokes our imagination automatically. We're hard-wired for it. By its very nature, story requires the audience to see and visualize things which are not physically present. It requires the active use of our imaginations — both for the storyteller (as she designs the story) and for the audience (as they experience it). And as a result, it shapes and expands the minds of both.

Stories can take us in directions our imaginations would not otherwise go. They can harness empathy by showing us the world through another person’s eyes. They can explain and simplify complex ideas. They can connect the listener emotionally to a mission and purpose. Imagination, innovation, creativity, deep analysis — the power of story is unlimited.

How to Use
the Power
of Story

Because STORY is fundamental to human thinking, ANYONE can learn how to tell stories effectively. The basic principles — like "Beginning, Middle and End" and "Hero, Goal, Obstacle" — can help you generate simple stories quickly. Additional techniques can help you make any story compelling.

But it’s important to understand: The POWER of storytelling rests in its ability to take the ideas in your mind and put them into another person (the listener or reader)’s mind — in a way that sticks. Because that’s how the human mind works. For an idea to truly stick, it must have impact — both emotional and intellectual — and it must be experiential in some way. That's why, to harness the POWER of storytelling, we need to make sure our stories are effective.

One of our key goals at SuccessStory™ is to help our clients understand how to identify the components of their changing stories, and then turn them into an engaging experience for their target. Because when your audience “goes along the for the ride”, they become immediately sympathetic to the hero, and invested in the story's outcome. Your ideas are conveyed in the clearest and most powerful way. And they connect.

Our Breakthrough

After decades of analyzing story (and the story development process) helping thousands of writers create movie-length screenplays (two hours of twists and turns and emotional highs and lows) — Jeff made a startling discovery. When you break down the dynamics of storytelling into a simple step-by-step process, not only can you understand how to tell better stories — you discover how to see stories everywhere, as well.

When you see the world (and its events) through the lens of STORY, the neurological process actively engages the creative areas of your brain. This leads to more powerful and intuitive creative thinking in almost every aspect of life and work. So while storytelling itself is a skill, the ability to identify the story in everyday moments and situations takes your imagination and creative thinking skills even further.

This discovery led us to our greatest breakthrough, which is that STORY DESIGN can be applied to literally any scenario. And when applied to business, it can transform results. It can improve individuals’ productivity and innovation. It can bring together and amplify the power of teams. It can give organizations who employ it a whole new “data set” through which to identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. And it does all of this in an engaging, fun, natural, intuitive way.

Tools and Techniques

To really harness this power, and physically deliver this breakthrough to you, we have applied it directly to the challenges, problems and needs of the business world. At SuccessStory™, we have created an array of powerful tools and techniques to help you apply storytelling in your organization, and use story design tools in your work.

We do this by first identifying the SUCCESS outcome you want. That could be the feeling your business or product gives a customer, or it could be the fluid working dynamic of a team, or it could be a breakthrough innovation your organization introduces to the world. Then we show you how to design the STORY of that success — your SuccessStory™ — using our powerful proprietary tools, and showing you how to adapt them to your needs. The results are legitimately transformative.

So whether you need help creating simple stories that engage your audience and promote your company... or complex multi-episode narratives that build an extensive ongoing interaction over time, we have the tools that can get you there. We start with simple storytelling, and expand those new skills into a broader understanding of your world.

And when we’re finished, you’ll see success in a whole new way. ...And you’ll be ready to tell the story.

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