When I hear business owners say they can’t think what to write about or if I’m struggling to come up with an idea for an article, it confuses the heck out of me. With all the hours, all the minutes, all the seconds in the day, we only need one moment of inspiration to spark a story. And yet, some days we struggle to find the magic.
If you’ve spent any time online among marketers, business coaches and consultants, you’ll have heard that you need to be ‘authentic’ in your branding, which means ‘telling your story’.
Apart from that advice being annoyingly vague and obvious, there’s a deeper problem around story-telling that I notice.
We overcomplicate what a ‘story’ has to be
I put this down to how we’re consuming news and information online. All the drama! It’s like we feel we have to go big and bold and have some kind of epic adventure in order for our stories to be valid. To compete with all the noise out there.
Even Google’s at it.
Here’s a definition of ‘story’ I found when I did a quick search.
an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment.
“an adventure story”
The primary definition on Google uses the example ‘an adventure story’. It’s only an example, of course, but it adds weight to this idea that a story has come to mean something awesome, something epic.
And how many of us feel like we’re having adventures every day?
I’m willing to bet not many.
But I’m going to challenge that. (Would you expect anything else?)
Last weekend, I was lucky enough to visit one of the best restaurants in Brisbane for an 8-course degustation menu and wine matching.
Just a posh dinner?
Far from it. In those 8 courses, we travelled all over the world, experimenting with foods and flavours we’d never even dreamed existed.
Froths and foams and purées and jus.
A twist on my favourite cocktail, the Hemingway Daiquiri.
Total delish-ness in the shape of barbecued octopus.
And all things liquid nitrogen-ised.
Four and a half hours of foodie heaven, gorgeous company, and smiles galore. A location I hadn’t even heard of until I’d been gifted the tasting night for my birthday. And dare I say, an adventure on our doorstep.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last few weeks, it’s this.
Adventure is a state of mind
Given the fact I’ve decided to stay put for the time being and – deep breath – settle in one place for a while, I recognised the need to satisfy my Inner Explorer right here where I am.
Jetsetting isn’t the only way she can exist. Instead, she can adopt a mindset of…
- curiosity – what if I just got in the car and drove somewhere new, why don’t we go to coffee in a different part of the city, what would happen if I turned left not right?
- transposition – yes, I’m sitting in my city apartment, but by sipping a margarita I can be on the beach in Mexico, by whipping up a spag bol while listening to Italian opera I can be in a Florentine piazza, by Skyping my family on their farm I can be in the beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside.
- imagination – to hell with habit, what can I do differently today?
Adventure is in those small moments. It’s a way of being. An attitude of doing something different. A view of the world that looks through a lens of possibility and potential.
And those small moments create the story worth sharing. Not the epicness of it all, but the enquiring mind.
The ‘what if…?’
Just like an adventure doesn’t have to be overcoming a divorce by climbing Mt Kilamanjaro, in a swimsuit, backwards, with one leg, a story doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing, rags-to-riches, crazy insane.
It could be a split second in your day, a perfect moment, a flash of fear, a new-to-you experience, where you looked at something with intrigue and put your pen on the page. Take a tiny detail and turn it around. See something that sets you off on a tirade. Create an adventure on your doorstep. And start by telling that story.
Your turn to practice. What did you see? What did you learn? What would you like us to take away from your experience? Make it meaningful to your message.
Tell me a story in the comments below.