If you don’t believe a new story can dramatically change your future as a freelancer…

People write to me with gentle challenges like, “Hey Nick, I love your enthusiasm for stories. But honestly, I don’t see how simply changing the story I tell can improve my future as a freelancer.”

OK… so you doubt the power of stories to influence your life?

You don’t think stories have the power to create change?

Let’s try a short experiment…

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Don’t blindly accept the popular narratives other people follow.

story of you notepad

We are all exposed to a wide range of narratives that are often accepted as truths.

But for the most part they are not truths. They are opinions. Stories.

And we’d do well to question them.

Let me share a couple of examples I have bumped up against recently.

One from my work life and one from my personal life.

Narrative #1: To get stuff done, you need to focus, distraction-free.

Sounds reasonable, right? I’ve told this story myself.

And then…

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Freelancers: Telling the right story is like unleashing your own superpower.

superpower stories

Some of the most powerful stories we hear are the ones that support the narratives that define the countries we live in.

As I’m Canadian, I’ll use one of the dominant Canadian narratives to illustrate my point.

One of the stories that defines “being Canadian” is that we’re really, really nice.

We’re polite and friendly. We love animals and the environment. We welcome refugees with open arms. We make sure all our citizens have access to health care. We say please and thank you.

Really… we’re just super-nice people.

So goes the story.

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3 Things you have to get right when selling with stories.

Selling with a good story

Recently I’ve been seeing a surge in the number of companies jumping on the “story” bandwagon.

A few days ago I was traveling back from the UK. At the airport I saw three references to story. One on a poster, one in a duty-free flier that was thrust into my hand just after I got through security, and the one you see in the photo above, on the pages of an in-flight magazine.

All mention story, but not one of them actually told a story.

It’s as if the writers believed that just using the word “story” would make some kind of difference.

It doesn’t.

If you want to tap into the true power of storytelling in your marketing, you have to actually tell and share a real story.

And to give your story power, it has to get three things right…

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Can a good business story be fictional?

(What follows is the outline I wrote in advance of recording the video. They’re my talking points. Not a regular post or article. Just an outline.)

This question is from Julia, who took my course on Selling With Stories.

She asks, “You say a business story has to be true. But can’t a good fictional story be used to teach a valuable business lesson?”

Ouch… Julia, you’re right. You got me.

As you say, I have said that a business story should be true. And I say that to discourage people from making up stories that are obviously false and manipulative.

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Every good business story needs a leaping zebra.

(What follows is the outline I wrote in advance of recording the video. They’re my talking points. Not a regular post or article. Just an outline.)

Great question from Stephan, who took my course on Selling With Stories.

“For business communications, is it enough just to describe something that has happened? Is that a story? If told well, does a description of something that happened at work qualify as a story? I guess I’m not quite clear on what a business story actually is!”

Thank you Stephan. That’s a terrific question.

Let me try to answer you with some examples.

Here’s a description of an event…

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