Why you need a story

Why we Need Stories

“As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.”
~  Seneca

Without stories, we would just get up work and go back to bed. Stories connect us, they are the glue that keeps us together.

Stories made Sunday school bearable. You might not remember how to do algorithms, but you do remember that story your favorite teacher told you. You might remember how she or he told the story.

Maybe you even remember that one special teacher because of that story.Maybe you even remember how it made you feel. I still remember that bearded teacher somewhere in the seventies who told us so many stories. Even though I can remember all those stories, I remember how special I felt because he shared so much.We remember the Ted talks that are personal because those stories connected us to something in ourselves. We believe someone because we believe her story. A beggar without a story is ‘Just another beggar’. A beggar with a story is someone we can relate to. Feel compassion with, reach out to. ‘This could happen to me…!‘Our entire humanity is built on stories. The Bible, The Quran, the Bhagavad Gītā, Beowulf, mythology, fairytales, those super important family stories. “Did I ever told you how my grandmother got on a boat and… “We need stories to make sense of the world around us. A law makes more sense when we know the story behind it. When you hear the story why your friend was late for your appointment she’s immediately forgiven. But only when it’s a good story!Why do we want to tell our story to our customers and clients?We want to find a way into the hearts and mind of our customers and our audience. And the fastest way is to tell them your story.BUT a story is also important for you. It’s a vital part of your brand. It might provide you with a personal red thread.Am I acting in accordance with my own story? Am I aligned with my story? Here are a couple of examples of well-known people who use their failures, problems, obstacles and blackest moments as a way to relate their audience. They use their story as motivation. “Look”, they seem to say: “See how deep I had fallen and now look where I am. You can do this too.”There is one important distinction. You and I are not (yet) as well known as Maya Angelou, Ellen or J.K. Rowling. When they are on a stage we already filled in the gaps. we know their story, we know their hardship, we know their work. When we get on a stage, sit in front of a camera, or write a blog, we are a tabula rasa. We have to feed the imagination of our audience with words. We have to tell them who we are, what we do, how we can help them. That’s why every word counts in the story you are about to write. When you listen to the stories of these people imagine you don’t know who they are. What do you hear, what do you feel? Do you feel motivated, impressed, in awe, do you want to get to know them better?

Do they have something for sale? If so what would they sell? Who are they ‘selling’ to? Would you buy it?


Maya Angelou about writing ‘The Story’ and understanding the other (but also yourself!) and a special defining moment.


J.K. Rowling using failure, imagination as a strength and ties that to her personal experience. And… takes it to a whole new level by telling stories about those who are often unseen and unheard


Ellen is using wrong choices (dating men 🙂 tragic events and resilience, stumbling and falling, coming out of the closet as a way to underline the huge success she is today. Imagine you didn’t know what she’s been going through? How would you look at her?


Barack Obama  is using his story to connect to people and convince people to vote. “In no other country is my story even possible.’

Gary Vaynerchuk is one of the biggest names in social media and online entrepreneurship. He is also an immigrant who built an empire out of nothing. He uses his story AND his traits: resilience and perseverance as a way to inspire young entrepreneurs to not give up and to show that overnight success doesn’t exist.

Well, I don’t think I need to explain anything about this Ted talk…