I seek to provide transformation to others and to experience it personally on a daily basis. As a story consultant, my mission is to help transform the message of the storyteller into one that resonates with their audience on a deeper level, uplifts, creates change, and to leads the storyteller to a sale.
How do we create transformation through the telling of story? After writing my book, Change Your Story, Change Your Life: A Path To Success, I always seek ways to elevate my own message. I find that by being open to transformation in my own life, I better understand how to pass it on to others. My goal with every seminar, every one-on-one consult, and every life experience is to identify how story can encourage change in the way that we see things.
When I teach or guide, my intention is to take the storyteller to a deeper place of understanding the why. Focusing on the why leads to transformation. Three whys that have significance in this process are:
Why does the writer want to write the story?
Why are they the perfect writer for the story?
Why does the central character want what they want? Or, Why do they want to achieve the goal?
Understanding the why adds emotional fuel to your story. When we feel and understand your whys, we feel your story. It's a similar equation for entrepreneurs who need to tell and sell the story of their brands.
When I see films, watch TV, or read a non-fiction book, I'm seeking a sense of transformation. I have a desired outcome in my mind. When I can feel the why behind what the screenwriter or author is trying to say, and I understand how it applies to my own life, transformation happens. I am a junkie for transformation through story.
This year, two books that have stood out and led me to transformation are The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday and The 22-Day Revolution: The Plant Based Program That Will Transform Your Body, Reset Your Habits and Change Your Life, by Marcos Borges.
Ryan Holiday wrote his book is to guide people through using obstacles to their advantage versus getting bogged down by them. I love his quotation: "The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition." His book illuminated the path to my own transformation because I understood the author's why for writing it, and I understood my why for reading it. I wanted to learn from past leaders who encountered apparently insurmountable obstacles, what they did to get through them, and what they learned along the way. This book transformed how I view my own obstacles.
While Ryan Holiday's book led to emotional transformation, The 22-Day Revolution: The Plant Based Program That Will Transform Your Body, Reset Your Habits and Change Your Life by Marcos Borges brought about physical transformation in my life. I read this book because so many of my friends who have faced cancer believe a plant-based diet is the healthiest way to go. I understood the author's why for writing it and my why for reading. I tried the 22-day program and loved it! In addition to my internal health, I wanted to see results. The food was amazing and I loved the physical results. The fact that the transformation led to a desired visible result made it even more fulfilling.
In film and TV, the desired outcome is to transform audiences. I'll forgive a writer almost anything structurally if I feel transformed by the story. I recently saw Ricki and The Flash. I was curious how Diablo Cody would tell the story of a woman who left her family, since this is such a counter-intuitive life experience yet it happens in the world. I wanted to see if I could understand the why behind Ricki's action as well as Diablo's why for writing it. In life, we make bad choices that often lead to negative outcomes. What I took away from this story was that despite deep dysfunction and mistakes made, family is family. No family is perfect and we can find meaning in the imperfections when there is love. The question I felt being asked was: Can we find redemption by fulfilling a role that we left behind and find peace in the process? I did expect that the story would go deeper into the why behind Ricki's choice to leave in the first place, and there were parts of the story that I felt could have been stronger. However, the story did reach me. I felt her regret. I felt compassion for Ricki (played so brilliantly by Meryl Streep). I understood why she wanted what she wanted. I teared up at the end. I felt the transformation because I felt like I understood why the story was written. This is what story is about.
There is an endless market for story because all of us, in our own ways, seek to explore and understand life. By understanding the whys of story, you allow us in, you transform, and you create change.