Story is with us all the time. It’s so automatic, so integral to our human experience, we don’t notice it’s there.
Life is built on and around stories.
Imagine, not telling your spouse about the pelican you saw learning to fly inches above the surface of the bay, catching its beak in a wave, and then tumbling out of control. Imagine, not telling your best friend what it was like growing up without a father. Imagine a successful company without a story to tell.
Think about it: Without story, there would be no friendship, no schools, no media, no religion, no political movements, no psychotherapy, no community, and no businesses.
Story helps us understand ourselves and the world, and make sense of life’s complexities.
When I was nine, I wrote the story of my family. It was a tough time. My mother had died, my father had remarried, and I found myself in a blended family of seven. I’d been the oldest of the three children my father had had with my mother. Now, I was number two under one of my two, new stepbrothers.
I don’t remember how much I wrote, or even if I finished the story, but I knew intuitively that writing it was essential. And while I was writing, I felt the presence of an imaginary reader. By telling this “reader” I was telling myself, and creating meaning out of a situation that felt confusing and chaotic.
Story is the complex, connective tissue of human experience. And, oh, yes; story differentiates brands and informs and inspires customers and communities, too.
It is as natural and necessary as breathing.