A Foreword That Touched Hearts and Souls
My coach Jennifer Sertl recently wrote the Foreword to our book "Personal Branding, Storytelling and Beyond". It has touched thousands of hearts and given a beautiful beginning to our book. And as they say, "Well begun is half done" I am reproducing the Foreword for the blog readers.
“If a story is not about the hearer he [or she] will not listen . . . A great lasting story is about everyone or it will not last. The strange and foreign is not interesting--only the deeply personal and familiar.”
All cultures throughout time have use stories to keep history alive, teach community and create demand. Ever since language began – we were telling stories on walls in caves and now we are telling stories on walls in clouds. Stories are how we breathe. We know now that robots are being taught empathy through literature. So clearly stories transcend technology. Stories are primal. As children we are great at telling stories. We know so many stories by heart. Why is it then that when people are asked to tell stories as adults there is trepidation, fear and even sometimes denial of the value? As children we were not afraid of being judged; as adults we want to get the story right. A significant paradigm today is that authenticity is more significant that perfection. Personal Branding, Storytelling and Beyond is a vital handbook for this global and digital age. What Dr. Amit Nagpal and Dr. Prakash Hindustani have given you here is a working framework with a checklist and clear guidance on how to cultivate your voice, amplify your voice, and ultimately use your voice as a fulcrum by which to leverage a goal, cause, company, or community that is important for you. It goes like this:
identityà voice à conversation à tribe à community à platform
Whether we like it or not, we are all on a global stage and our impact is being measured. Already we are hearing about people getting jobs based on analytics and the concept of you being more an algorithm than flesh is gaining momentum. Passively you are participating in your story: every “like”, “RT” or endorsement both subtle and explicit is telling a story about who you are and what you value. Your auto-autobiography is being written by simple responses on social sites. Whether we like it or not, stories are being told about us based on analytical data and doors are being opened or closed. We can let that happen accidentally. We lose our leverage and our power if we are passive. Dr. Amit Nagpal and Dr. Prakash Hindustani urge you to claim some control of what data points say about who you are at your core and what you value. The place to regain control is to discover your voice, cultivate your voice and ultimately reverse engineer the qualities you would like to leave behind in your digital trail. They address this at an individual level; they address this at a corporate level. This book is for everyone who understands that we are in the storytelling economy whether you believe it or not, like it or not. Invest the time and energy to get some clarity and claim your voice from two experts who have helped individuals and business all over the world.
As this is being written we know that there are one billion people active on Facebook. 310 million active users are on Twitter. More than 100 million people use Instagram every month. Archimedes says,”give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it and I shall move the world.” The world is being moved both in positive and negative forces based on how individuals are organizing communities at scale. The Arab Spring is one of the best examples of how powerful these mediums are even to overthrow a government. The idea of “brand management” is laughable as businesses need to realize that the consumer owns the brand and marketing divisions are more for listening than for positioning. Today an individual can be a brand. As a simple example I joined in May 2009 and realized it was a global platform. The best I could do was to share ideas and concepts that would transcend cultures. Like a lighthouse I had a strategy to participate in a constant pattern of engagement and emitted a certain point of view like an S.O.S pattern. Immediately individuals and organizations began to affirm the value of this point of view. Like a lighthouse, I didn’t try to catch anybody. I didn’t change to be more seductive. I simply honored my voice in a constant way and found that those who valued my point of view found me. I have 85 countries and 525 cities following my work. One boat that came in is Dr. Amit Nagpal. Through resonance an immediate bridge between India and New York was constructed. We choose to collaborate together simply because the synergy was so powerful.
Through expertise in television, journalism and blogging Dr. Amit Nagpal and Dr. Prakash Hindustani have been scanning the macro, interviewing and featuring branding thought-leaders, and synthesizing best practices. It is fantastic to see the way they have organized this very easy format. It is an active workbook. They define terms, help you understand all the tools available and help you set a framework that allows you to clarify, own, and claim the impact you want to have. There are methods for individuals. There are methods for those within an organization working to capture the gestalt of their business pulse. Building credibility in the storytelling economy requires continuity on the themes that matter most. Decisiveness of your filter and commitment to it will allow you to avoid information overload. Personal Branding, Storytelling and Beyond asks you the questions that will allow you to carve out your clarity. Whether you think you are or not, you are creating impact in social space. Impact is not an option. The question is do you know what kind of impact you are causing? Is the impact you are making worthy of you at an aspirational level? Will your choices open doors for you today and tomorrow? There are answers to these questions and you will find them in this field book. It will be an active informative process and will lead to many very positive doors opening. The one that will mean the most to you will be unexpected and full of serendipity.
May your storytelling journey be illuminating and fulfilling.
Co-Author Strategy Leadership & the Soul