I usually teach business storytelling to entrepreneurs or Silicon Valley businesses. So I was a bit surprised to find myself in a renovated old dairy barn at TomKat Ranch, facilitating a storytelling workshop for the Women in Ranching program.
These women are first generation ranchers, fourth generation ranchers, and everything in between. They can herd cattle, butcher a pig, and fix a fence. They are scientists who study soil health, the microbiome, grassland regeneration, waterways, human health through food, and agriculture’s impact on climate. They are artists, craftswomen, and activists. They are grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and daughters.
But they all share a core mission: To heal our relationship to land, environment, and food through regenerative ranching and agriculture.
They passionately share the truth about how changing our relationship to the animals creates better health for the animals and healthier food for humans. They demonstrate how ranching can regenerate grasslands that can better sustain in times of drought, and ultimately help heal our climate. These smart women can take you in-depth to the science behind what they do.
Unfortunately, this is a time when conventional ranching stubbornly defends its practices while climate activists demonize beef, the ranching industry, and its impact on global warming. In the midst of this conflict, regenerative ranching and agriculture is the quiet, sane voice of wisdom. It’s the solution we don’t realize we need. But statistics and slides alone usually don’t get through to people, especially the ones who need to hear it most.
That’s why we need stories. We are 22 times more likely to remember a fact when it’s embedded in a story. Story also takes us beyond facts and figures and can transcend resistance. Story brings us to core human values that evoke empathy. It can call us to action by appealing to our hearts and emotions.
For example, I may not understand what it’s like to be a fourth generation rancher, but I do understand heartbreak, loss, passion, and love for land, animals, and family. Probably you do too. That’s how story connects us and makes a new concept or cause very real and personal to a listener.
I taught these women how to tell their Origin/Mission stories – why they do what they do, and how they got to where they are today. With the right structure and key elements for a vibrant story, these stories put a vivid personal spin on real-world missions and impacts. They are critical stories to have on hand for any mission-based project, product, or business.
My clients have used mission/origin stories to:
- Raise funds for a company or project
- Teach new concepts to their teams, colleagues, or at conferences
- Inspire action or activism
- Get new clients or participants.
But most importantly, these stories connect with the audience in a way that is meaningful and alive.
I knew that the Women in Ranching participants needed their personal stories to help convey the power and science behind their missions. But at first they hesitated. They asked, “Does my story really matter? Is it presumptuous of me to share my story?”
One by one, as each woman shared her story, and the listeners fell in love with each story, they realized that the personal, human element is what inspires, motivates, and activates people. This wasn’t just a fun storytelling workshop for our entertainment; many of these women practiced their stories to share in the coming weeks at conferences, universities, and training programs.
If you have a mission behind anything you do, your story matters – probably in ways you don’t even yet realize. Think about the times someone inspired you by telling the story of how they got to where they are today. It may have touched, motivated, affirmed, or encouraged you. It is a gift to share your journey to inspire and teach others.
How could your story convey the importance of your work and why you do what you do? How could your story inspire others, bring in new clients or customers, or motivate your team to new action?
Would you like some guidance on how to turn your life experience and mission into a vibrant story that has impact? I’d like to give you a free 30-minute session. Let’s talk about how storytelling fits into your work and business. You can schedule your first session online – and I look forward to hearing your story!
Thanks for reading! Now a special request — if you know anyone who has a powerful mission or purpose to their work, please share this article. I want them to know their story matters too. Thank you.
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