Here’s Why Stories Always Have and Always Will Inspire Your Team
Stories inspire us in so many ways and for so many reasons:
- Connection – when we see, hear, or even feel for the characters in any story – a movie, television show, a song, or a story we hear from a leader – we begin to connect on a deeper, more human level.
- Humanness – it’s been said that what makes a leader great isn’t one’s “leadership-ness”, but instead it’s their “humanness”. When leaders tell stories about their past, where they’ve been, or from whom they’ve learned, they become more human. That humanness draws us in, opens our hearts and minds, and inspires us into action.
- Vulnerability – many leaders believe vulnerability is a bad thing. In fact, many leaders put a great deal of effort into masking or hiding their vulnerability. The reality is, vulnerability is once again human, and it’s relatable. Why? Because even though we all come from different places, spaces, generations, and backgrounds, it turns out we’re all human beings facing the same issues and concerns. When we’re secure enough, in our own skin, to express vulnerability, it strengthens relationships and builds trust. Masking vulnerability does the opposite.
- Mirror neurons – science teaches us the principle of mirror neurons. In fact, some of the most successful salespeople and sales organizations in the world leverage it. This is the idea that as I’m telling you a story, your “thinking brain”, your Neocortex, is chilling out and going to sleep; while your “emotional brain”, your Limbic System, is firing on all cylinders. The more you listen to my story, your feelings start to spark and light up like fireworks at the Magic Kingdom at the end of a magical day at the park. You’re then compelled to tell me a story back, about yourself or something you’ve learned in the past. Therein lies deeper levels of relationship building, connection, respect, and trust. That’s what inspires people.
- Insight – stories always have and will always be a great way to teach new ideas, practices, and techniques. With each new idea or skill, we gain a little confidence. ”To inspire” means to fill somebody with the urge or ability to do something; especially to do something creative. Learning is inspiring, and when others gain insightful knowledge from the stories we tell, they become inspired to do more and become more. That’s our role as leaders.
- Crystalizes a vision – some call it picture painting; the art of sharing a story in such a way that people begin to visualize what you’re describing. This is a skill and an art that comes in hand, often, as a leader. When we’re able to get people to “see and visualize” where we’re headed and the future we’re creating together, they become inspired.
- Builds passion for possibility – stories transform us by helping us see, feel, and believe in what’s possible. Without stories, which by the way are the root word of history, we’d lack the knowledge of what our predecessors experienced and learned; and therefore, we’d lack the inspiration to realize what could and should be possible in the future.
“That’s what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination.
We instill hope again and again and again.”
~ Walt Disney, one of the greatest storytellers of all time
In the same way, Walt Disney and others have been able to captivate, connect with, teach, and inspire generations of people for decades, you and I can do the same thing for those we lead.
It’s all in the power of storytelling.
Tell your story, and ask to hear someone else’s. Inspiration for both parties will soon follow.