Creating inspiration with story

Rembrandt, old woman reading

In a time of change, people are likely to be feeling confused, uncertain, or even afraid. 

The best way to get them to do something new is by inspiring them.

And the best way to do that is with story.

Human beings are hard-wired for stories. We connect with them, engage with them, and remember them in ways that simply don’t happen when we receive the same information in other ways.

As screenwriting guru Robert McKee explains, when facts and emotion are combined into story they create meaning:

“When an idea wraps itself around an emotional charge, it becomes all the more powerful, all the more profound, all the more memorable… In short, a story well told gives you the very thing you cannot get from life: meaningful emotional experience.”

Even more than this, Princeton neuroscientist Uri Hasson has discovered that:

“Story is the only way to activate parts in the brain so that a listener turns the story into their own idea and experience.”

Story is the best way to deliver a vision that your stakeholders and audiences will find so meaningful and inspiring that they adopt it as their own. Then they will want to make your vision happen because it will have become their vision.

Story is not only the best way to create the motivation needed to implement change, it is a way to do so that enables people to adopt the story as their own, and so inspire and lead themselves through change.

What is the story you are currently telling yourself and the people around you about where you are going, why, and how you are going to get there? Is that inspiring you all to move forward?
What would happen if you made your story more inspiring?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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