The final stage in the four steps to powerful storytelling is the Transformation & Return.
The most important part of storytelling — to keep it from being relegated to just an anecdote – is that you must share how someone changed. Someone was one way at the beginning of the journey and now they are another way. You have to share how a person or a set of persons is different and how that has meaning for whomever you are talking to. A transformation has to have occurred, and it leads people to believe they could change, too. Otherwise, what is the point, right?
Luke Skywalker found his courage and his place (not to mention his father much later down the road). Frodo’s quest lay in a spiritual awakening. The series of events I shared over the last few days about James Dyson could have been reduced to just a historical timeline by an inventor. But, in his story, he can say to this day, other manufacturers try to copy Dyson technology. It changed the entire vacuum cleaner industry’s focus. And, I am sure if he were here to tell you his story he would talk about epiphanies he had along the way, how he is different and what lessons were learned.
When you think of a story you wish to share in an organizational setting, think about what was transformed. How were you or the company changed? How is your department, company, industry better? How was that customer’s life changed?
But, it doesn’t end there. The final part of this step is to then share what it means and how life is better for others. After their journey where the hero achieves a victory, they return home not to go back to life the way it was. Frodo returned to the Shire forever changed and eventually passed on to the West. Luke Skywalker continued to fight the good fight with his friends. And, James Dyson, now successful, didn’t settle for just changing the vacuum cleaner industry. He birthed a foundation, the James Dyson Foundation, which seeks to inspire and encourage young people to study engineering so that they may bring the world better design and innovation.
This is where the story can be elevated from survival and individual gain to inspiration and community gain. A story that can convey a message, wrapped in a narrative with meaning, can inspire change in people just by them listening to it. And, we all know that — from the business world to the non profit world – we all could use a dose of inspiration right now.