Crafting Stories to Change the World (part 2)

Telling Powerfully

The challenge we face in a world swarming with media input is to create and craft powerful narratives that allow us to effect change in our world. External media-based stories can be overwhelming, numbing and pervasive. Crafting and honing stories that stand independent of those sources is a useful beginning.

And one of the stories to start with is that it is possible for an individual to effect powerful changes in the world.

  • When Thomas Edison pro- claimed, “I’ll make an inexpensive light bulb,” he started a powerful story.
  • When John F. Kennedy promised to put a man on the moon within a decade, he started a powerful story.
  • When Martin Luther King Junior said, “I have a dream,” he told a powerful story.
  • When Rosa Parks said, “I’m not moving,” she told a powerful story.
  • When a young child first says, “I can read that myself,” she is beginning a powerful story.
  • When you say, “I will make this work,” you are creat- ing the future for yourself and your community.

After any powerful story is told, there is still more work to be done. Even the most powerful story may fail if it isn’t framed or presented in the proper context, but without a powerful story the old story will persist, and a new path is impossible.

We tell stories all the time.

Why not make your storytelling more powerful? You can learn to listen for the powerful (and the disempower- ing) stories that others tell, to distinguish which stories are useful and which inhibit growth. You can create and craft a more powerful story, learn to deliver and shape your stories more powerfully. You can lay the foundation for colleagues, coworkers, partners and employees to hear these new stories as they develop. Through stories, people, businesses, and organizations can invent innova- tive responses, and change both perceptions and actions.

Together we can move rivers, build buildings, reshape communities, improve education, grow our economy, defuse conflict, create wealth, help the less fortunate, and leave the world a better place for our children and grand- children.

Once upon a time? No. Now is the time to begin.

<To be Continued>

This is part of an ongoing series of articles based on my “Crafting Stories to Change the World” workshop for businesses, non-profits, and individuals interested in making a difference. More information at