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Student Stories

Lesson 8 from: Storytelling for Leaders: How to Inspire Your Team

Cory Caprista

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Lesson Info

8. Student Stories

Next Lesson: Connect the Dots

Lesson Info

Student Stories

I want you to pick a story that's going to be embedded in your Me section. Okay, so let's use Sam's as an example, so we don't get lost here. We have the Me, We and Urgency for Sam's topic of getting people to care about science. So his Me was, it gave me wonder. So instead of just saying science gives me wonder, I want you to pick a story, if that's what you're going to stay with, you can pick a different one. But let's say you stay with wonder. Pick a personal story about wonder, where the lesson was, here's what wonder gives me. And we're going to use the structure of Challenge, Choice, Outcome. And you can think about what lesson will connect to your audience. In this case, we decided already that Sam was going to connect to his audience with wonder. So that's the lesson. Now he's gotta pick a story that he's gonna put in there. So he's saying, I'm Sam, I'm here to talk to you about why science, and caring about science is so important. I'd like to tell you a quick story about wond...

er and its effects. I had this experience in school with a teacher with a skateboard. And you go and tell that story and then you say the lesson of that is wonder can change your life. It can send you on a new path, if we're really present and it goes into We. Here's why you should care about wonder in your own life. And then call to action and sense of urgency. Okay, so I'm going to give you a second to draft a story of Challenge, Choice, Outcome. Right, with the character and the lesson for your influencing topic that's gonna go in your Me section. So it's about you and why you care. This is what's going to help you connect with your audience. It's gonna have a lesson there. Okay, if I could ask you to just pause wherever you are and look up for a minute. I'm going to tell you a quick story so you can make sure you understanding and then I'm going to give you a little more time to talk. So I want to tell you a version of this around a topic. So I'm here to talk to you about why overcoming adversity and fears, things that are hard for us, why that's so important and what you can get out of it. I really care about that. One of the ways that this was driven into me and I didn't really realize at the time, but when I was a kid, we lived in the time of VHS tapes. We didn't have the internet yet. I'm what they call Oregon Trail generation, meaning the internet happened when I was like an eight year old or 10 year old, something like that, so I'm a cusper. So we still had VHS and we didn't have a lot of channels. We didn't have the internet, so I watched a lot of the same movies over and over again, but I watched one movie in particular over and over again, and that movie is Top Gun. (laughs) I wore the tape out on that thing. And one of the key parts of that story is, the key character, Maverick, best friend dies. And it really messes him up. He has to decide is he going to give up his whole path in his life because of this mourning and this pain or is he going to get over it and go after the highest version of himself and honor the memory of his friend. Do something amazing even though it's hard. And that ended up being really important for me to maybe have that put deep in my DNA by watching that movie over 50 times. Because my mom passed away when I was 24. And there was a period of time for me where I felt like I was just going to shut everything down. I wasn't really living very well. I'd been drinking a lot, didn't really have a purpose, didn't really have a clear path. And there came a point where I realized, I'm reacting to my mother's death in the exact opposite way she'd want me to have reacted. And it really reminded me of that moment where Maverick is holding Goose's dog tags, looking at em, squeezing em, like am I going to get in the game or not? And just like Maverick, I decided to get in the game. And restructure my life, put it back together, start doing something of value and substance. So for you what I want you take from that and how it applies to you is I'm going to ask you to tell a story that really matters to you. I'm going to ask you to influence us around something that matters and tell a story. You might have a lot of fear or challenge in that. It might be something that's really hard for you. But I think in doing this particular, playing this game with me of telling the story, that you will be able to practice overcoming resistance, to be a higher version of yourself. And right now is important, because we're in this class and you have an opportunity to overcome it right now. So that's why I'm asking as we go forward to really lean into the opportunity to try. To practice, to tell your story and get over whatever resistance is there because on the other side are treasures. Alright, so that's a version. Yes, clap for me, yes Mandy, clap for me, yes, yes, yes. (audience clapping) Yes, yes, yes. Any questions about that? Did that clear anything up? Do you have any concerns before I send you back to jotting down some notes again? Yeah, Sam. How do you choose a story? How do you know which is the most compelling? Or do you just pick one and go because it's making a choice? Make a choice, you answered your own question. We get better over time, I plan this out a little bit but I didn't want to plan it out too much 'cause I wanted to be on equal footing with you. And it just kind of popped into my mind, oh this story about Maverick fits in to my experience with my mom, which is really around what I'm asking you all to do, which is do something hard that might have a benefit on the other side. So, you just kind of find your way through it. And also don't be afraid to bend things a little bit. I bent that story a little bit about my mom to talk not just from loss, but also any kind of adversity. So I kind of bent the lesson to fit in how it could attach to you. So I would say any story that has any charge to you or any meaning that you like to tell that has a resonance for you, they're going to feel that on the other end. So anything that has resonance, great, and if it doesn't work so well, try a new story that fits in there. Just keep workshopping it, go with what's there, though. That's what I'd recommend. Okay, who's willing to give us their version of the story? I'm going to ask you this, what's your influencing topic? What do you care about, like what's the Me part? And then just go into the story. So give us like hey, here's my topic, here's why I care, why I'm even talking about it, and then here's the story that I think goes with that. Yeah, Lauren's in, yeah. Yes I got the eye roll which means I'll do it but I'm not sure. Oh my god, here we go. Here we go, back in the saddle again. My influencing topic, is accepting people for their flaws and supporting them no matter what. I have one older brother, one brother, that's it. He's two and a half years older than me and he has a lot of dependency issues. He lived away from me most of my adult life. I went to Arizona State, he stayed in New York. We kind of were separate, we still talked here and there but didn't have a super close relationship. Recently, he had moved back to Sacramento and I went over to my dad's house where he was living and I opened his bedroom door and it was crazy, clothes everywhere, bed folded up like he doesn't even sleep at all like bottles of Vodka, like handles everywhere. I was like how have I just like pushed this away. It's almost like I was in denial. And my dad handled the situation completely different. He was like change or we're done. Where I came at it was like, well you can't force someone to change. When he's ready, he will change. I made the choice to just support him and have conversations like are you ready to go to rehab? What do you want to do, and he's like no, not yet, I can't afford it. Well, if it was paid for would you go? And he's said no, and I said okay, I don't want you to die, but I'm not going to force you to do something you don't want to do. And so, maybe like in June, he did decide finally to go to rehab and he's been sober since, which is a huge win. And I just feel like the lesson in that is you have to support people. Ignoring the issue won't help and to really just accept people for their issues and be there for them. Beautiful story, thank you for sharing that, really appreciate it. (audience applauds) So if you don't mind, it was such a great job. I don't have notes for you on the story. It was powerful, it was beautiful. How does that relate to us, so let's just link it together now, let's put it all together for people. You told that there's the lesson, how's that relate to all of us? Well I'm sure everyone here knows someone who has a dependency issue or some sort of problem in their life that you can either run towards it or run away from it. And so what's your call to action and why is now the time? That's a good question. So just, blocking all the structure out, if you could just look at me and say you asked me to go out and do something, if I could do something that would support that mission, what would be a good thing for me to do? I mean, I feel like it's like now or never, like that person could be gone tomorrow. So you need to enjoy the time that you have and go now. Be in their life. Right. That's the urgency piece, that's really important. You don't know how much, you might be the only link that they have at that point, you might be the influence that tips them over the edge to get help. What could I do to, if I did have someone, any recommendations or anything you'd like me to is it like thinking through and picking a person that I could focus on? Is it calling, texting that person? What would be an action I could do? Reaching out, reaching out, supporting. Reaching out to that person? Supporting. IN what way, what would I do? I'd say just something kind, something loving? Yeah, just let them know, like, I'm here for you if you ever need anything. Beautiful, that's your call to action. Think of someone that might be struggling in your life. Reach out to them and tell them that you're there for them if they ever need you. And now's important because you don't know if somethings going to tip over it could be gone tomorrow. Or if they have no one else. If they have anyone else, so it's now. Now or never, boom. That's powerful, right, did you feel that as we got there, could we get another round of applause? Thank you for thinking it over. (audience claps) So you start seeing, I think everyone in this room is now in that moment, thinking about who's the person they should send that note to. I know who I'm gonna send the note to. It's also my brother. So I'll be sending him a text after this, once I reclaim my phone from hiding. I'll be doing the same thing, just a little interjection, it's a reminder. It's really important, so you can see when someone tells the right story with the right structure, right, they're influencing and they have it together and there's a story that has impact. You then are compelled to action. Beautiful, let's do one more, at least. These are really powerful. I think by the end of this you're going to be the happiest if you hear the stories, like that one. So who is willing to go next? Mandy, awesome, so let's kind of go slow. If you want to link it all together, you can. Or if you want to do it in stages, we can do that still as well. But definitely start with just what is your topic and then we'll go in yourself, no matter what. So my influencing topic is taking risks, to do what you actually want to do. So career focused, and then why I'm here. This one's tough because my motivation for the talk is like, it connects with We, so I don't know do I need to say. Why does it matter to you, first, before the We. It matters to me because so many, again it's like linked to We. So good, so we found out a little sticking point here. Stay with yourself, so think about your own life. If you were to live without following your dreams or your passions, how would that life be for you? Did you live that way before and how was it? Yeah, so it matters to me because I've been in jobs that I have strongly disliked. It's such drudgery to go to work everyday, when you're not feeling an alignment, you're not feeling happy, you're not empowered. What kind of Mandy is that to be around? I'm not a great person to be around. I'm not my best self, I'm not vibrant. So what I'd love to hear then, is a story. That's the Me, do you have a story that connects to that? Like about where you weren't vibrant and then decided to change and became vibrant? Totally. Can we talk through that one then? Yeah, okay, so I spent a couple of years living in Whistler, Canada, and I had a great job. Really loved my job, if my boss ever watches. I really did and I was a general manager of a fitness and rock climbing gym and as things happen you transition. If you're not continually growing in your position, in skills or empowerment, I just felt really trapped. That was also the product of living in a 10,000 person ski town. Whistler's beautiful but it kind of felt like it was comfortable enough where it was lukewarm water. It's comfortable and it's good enough but I may get stuck here and I'll end up being in a ski town and not living my dreams and so it was just such a beautiful moment when I quit that job and moved to San Francisco without any job because I was so clear of what I wanted and how much we spend the majority of our lives working. If you're enjoying your work life everything else is positively impacted by that. What was the outcome of moving to San Francisco? We're dying to know. The outcome of moving to San Francisco was more parts of me thrive now then they ever did in Whistler and I have had a series of really empowering, amazing careers. You know, developed the best community and friendships of my life. And so it was obviously scary moving here. I remember San Francisco is really expensive to live in. I remember sending some person $5, before I even got here to like secure my apartment. And it was a trusted source, so obviously everything worked out in that regard but it was definitely a commitment for not necessarily having a concrete what you're doing next, right. That's where most people get stuck in career. Can I pause you there? Yeah. Double click on the lesson for us. What was the lesson of all that story, it was great. What's the lesson? So the lesson is don't get caught in lukewarm water because taking that leap of faith and that jump will lead to beautiful, fresh ocean. Beautiful, so now connect it to the We for us now. So now we're your audience. You just told a story about yourself. Here's the lesson, how does that relate to us? Every single one of us can relate to that in our careers. And you might be in that position right now. This could be a good reminder of what you can, taking risk to be able to get to what you are actually passionate about. Beautiful, so that part was really obvious for your particular story, the We makes a lot of sense. What's the call to action, we're like edge of our seat, what do we do? The call to action is sit with yourself and are you in the right position and are you doing something you're fulfilled about? If you don't, it's a no for you. If it's not that, then like sit with yourself and yeah, I'm a big journaler and I recommend, my call to action is journal, sit with it, have that moment of reflection. If it's a no, then start exploring what that could be. Great, so you got crystal on that. Why is now the time for people? Now's the time because life is short and we really don't know when our last day is. It would be, living a lukewarm life isn't worth living if you can avoid it. Beautiful, applause for that. You nailed it. It's like find those points in your story where you can just crush it and put your hands up and they go 10 from the Russian judge, 10 from the Chinese judge. You can tell at the end of her story, you can put stories throughout the whole thing. She said, now is the time, we don't know how long we're going to live. She could have told a story about someone in her life or someone in life dying overnight so every step of the way you could be telling stories. I asked you to do one story, just not to get complicated. You can see how the story gets so much more rich or excuse me, the influencing becomes so much more powerful when we have the story that adds richness. And that story when we're influencing someone especially when we're talking about being a manager or leader or professional or just even in society, people want to know who you are first. They want to trust you and believe in you first and then they might follow you. That's why I'm forcing everyone to tell a story of self as the beginning of this process of learning how to tell stories. Because if you can nail your story of self, everything else flows. I'm loving these stories. We have a little bit more time and we can hear one more story if we have someone who's ready to tell it. And I think we'd all love to hear one. Or we can come and sort of wind down to wrapping. So do we have another story teller in the room that would like to give their story? Sam, bring us home, great, rule of three. That was the third one. Perfect. So just the story part? Up to you, you can do it stage by stage if you feel most comfortable or you can link it all together in one flow if you feel ready. I'll try and link it all together. Great. I'll take a stab at it. Ah a black diamond, I'm a black diamond. Well, you know, that's part of the fun. So I've seen first hand how engaging scientific curiosity and understanding of the world and approaching life with a sense of curiosity and wonder can be. This was made evident to me at a very young age when I was in probably fifth grade and my dad and I decided to drive out to the middle of nowhere, in the desert of Texas to the McDonald Observatory for a star party. Which is as nerdy as it sounds and it was amazing. Highly recommend it. And we were at this party and they had this gigantic telescope that they had been pointing at the sky to like observe cosmological bodies. I got to look through the telescope. I saw the moons of Saturn and I saw the great red spot on Jupiter. But the point that was really interesting was when the telescope operator turned it to this particular part of the sky. It looked like any other part of the sky except it had a big dark patch in the middle of it and there were no stars there. I was like why is this guy showing me this part of the sky where there's no stars? It's like there's nothing interesting to see here. And I remember because it was like the middle of west Texas, this guy in a deep southern accent said, son, you know what you're looking at right now? I said, it looks like nothing. He said, that's a black hole. And I was like boo, my mind was blown. I didn't realize that what I was looking at through that telescope was something more massive than a million suns and so powerful that light couldn't escape it. But it wasn't there, I couldn't see it. Why that's important to all of us is to realize not only the lesson of, just because you can't see something doesn't mean it's not there. But it's also that wonder is all around us. I ask my audience as a result of today just think about a topic, something that you're curious about about life or the universe and go try and learn something about it. Great, round of applause. So what a great story to go with. You really picked a great story. Did we notice one thing he left out? One link in the chain? The We, right? So you nailed the Me. We were so with Sam, yeah? And then you nailed the request at the end. It was like find one thing and learn more about it. But what we missed was, how does that story really relate to us in our own lives? If you could go back just for a second, you just told us that great story. Wonder is all around us, just 'cause you can't see it doesn't mean it's not there. How does that relate to our lives? How can we see ourselves in your story? I think that living a life, approaching life with curiosity makes it a lot more interesting, a lot more educational, and a life without curiosity is just not that interesting. I don't know if that's compelling. No, it's good. Frame it in terms of you. Talk about, instead of Me now, cause we did me, really like talk about me, 'cause I like to think about me. 'Cause I have a giant ego, and everything's all, the center of my own solar system, right? So when we're talking, we slip over to the We part, we make it about them, which people love when things are about them. So how would you maybe phrase that now, 'cause we've already said wonder is important, how, if I'm just walking around, it's about me, how do I feel? Like have you ever walked through life and then seen something that was really beautiful? Experienced something that was really beautiful? A beautiful piece of music, a beautiful sunset, all of those things can be explained and understood by science. Anything that you appreciate in life has a scientific aspect to it. Great and then we would link to, so when I'm asking for that. Great, even that little bit, it wasn't that much on We, but we all kind of said, I remember the sunset I saw recently, I was in Venice, beautiful sunset. It came right to my mind. I thought about music and I was even thinking ah man that feeling of when you realize something's been there the whole time but you didn't know about it. And then you find it and you're like oh my god. Did you realize how cool this thing is? I know it sounds silly, but I'd never been to Yosemite before, living in California my whole life and I finally went, it was maybe five or six years ago, but I went and it was like, you guys, Yosemite, though, right? It's that thing, it had been there the whole time. People had been knowing about this the whole time. Or they'd be artists like from the 60s or 70s, that you hear their music and you're like, how did I not know that song, that artist, where was I? It changes your life even though it's been 60 years since that music came out. So that's what I saw in my head, just from that little thread and I hope you all felt something like that, too. So Sam can understand that even that little moment putting someone back in themselves and reflecting in their own way makes a huge impact, now we're with you. And now we're willing to be moved.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Cory Caprista - Storytelling Workbook

Ratings and Reviews

Sang Hyo Lee

The live audience group is too small. Always the same people are giving input to Cory. Would be better if the group size is twice the size. He's constantly asking his group who wants to share. This makes it awkward for everyone in the live lesson.

Katarína Hiklová


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