Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:52
When people ask me what “I do?”, I like to tell them “I’m a professional story teller!” I speak. I write. I’m a blogger, photographer, audio-recorder, rinse and repeat. I’ve worked as a broadcast journalist, photojournalist, speech writer, and a copy writer.
I’ve worked for publications, radio stations, TV stations, and advertising agencies. I’ve been a PR agent, and a Mad-Man, (without going to work on Madison Ave in NYC). I write words for public announcements and newsletters. I’ve produced 30-minute TV programs, and 30-second radio commercials. I’ve been a preacher and a teacher, and now I am a professor of mass communication. Like I said, “I’m a professional story teller!”
Without a doubt, my most successful communication projects, presentations, or publications have most often been wrapped around a story. People love stories. People get wrapped in your message when it’s a story. I believe in the power of story.
Story is where we came from.
Story is where we are right now.
Story is where we’re going.
Story defines who we are.
Story connects us to family, and introduces us to complete strangers.
Story helps us to learn how to tell others who we are.
Story makes strangers new friends.
Stories are powerful. A good story has an introduction, problem or conflict, supporting characters, and a hero or protagonist that ultimately finds resolution. Maybe that hero is you, maybe it’s somebody else?
A story is full of unknowns and questions, but somehow we find a tie that pulls everything together so that we have answers. It eventually answers our questions. Or, leaves us with an intriguing mystery.
A story is personal. It has a human element. If the story were about ideas and concepts it wouldn’t connect with you, the listener.
Stories have action with passion. It takes us on a journey from one place in time to another. It feeds our desire to want to hear more about the resolution
Stories are provocative. Stories are full of suspense and tension, so hold your breath!
Last Summer I read a book by Donald Miller called, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. What I found out is that not only do I write, blog, speak, etc… but I AM a story! A living story. A story for which I am the author. I get to decide what the conflict is! How I overcome obstacles, and ultimately the resolution
While we are living stories, unlike a movie or, ink-on-paper, we cannot turn to the end, or fast-forward through the hard times or the boring years. Sometimes our day-to-day story is boring! At other times it’s very compelling. If we are the author of our own story we get to determine and write what’s about to happen, what the stumbling blocks will be, and when we are about to get out of our comfort zones.
If you are the author of your own story, it’s not a flash back, but a sneak peek-flash forward! Maybe our greatest challenge is to believe that we can write a better story and then live it out? Maybe it’s to believe that this problem or issue we are experiencing is only temporary.
Turn the page. Please! Don't just close the book, turn off the movie or or try to forget what you're doing in life. Move forward with a plan.
In my principles of communication class I teach my students, that in every life there is a turning point. A turning point is an event or encounter at some point in time that makes such a profound impact that it changes the way we think and live our lives. To be sure, there may be many of these turning points in our life, so reflect back and be prepared when the next opportunity to grow intellectually, physically, spiritually and socially comes along.
Are you living out your story with a happy ending? Will you hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant? If not, write a better story. You only get one lifetime story, write it well!
As I was finishing writing this blog post I ran across a meme on Facebook. I have no idea who wrote this but it said, “One day you will tell your story of how you have overcome what you are going through now, and it will be part of a survival guide for somebody else.”
I believe in the power of story and that our lives should be tales worth telling. Don't you?
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Steve Shaner, is a professional storyteller that delights in traveling to meet new and old friends. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Please also check out Steve's other blog,