Do you think in stories?

Wait, what’s that? Don’t you know what that means?

Well, you aren’t the first person to wonder what the heck I mean by thinking in story. Here’s something you should probably know …

To find a good story and then tell it, you have to develop a way of thinking the honors the imagination.

Because when you think about it, it’s our imagination that is holding us back from telling better brand stories.

One of the best skills you can develop to benefit your brand storytelling the most is your ability to think in pictures.

Most small business owners are able to list achievements, their product offerings and their timeline of growth.

But not many can tell stories that paint a picture so clearly, that your audience feels like they lived it with you. That’s what story thinking will help you accomplish.

Thinking in terms of story happens naturally as you start to look for them and more importantly, start to tell them. You’ll start to recognize the experiences, the images in your day that other people will relate to and find to be meaningful.

The best thing about the stories you tell is not that they convey meaning, but that each person’s interpretation of the story will find the meaning for them. That’s why the imagery is so important – it allows everyone to experience the story and not be just a passive bystander to the story.

Why Thinking in Story Matters

Our communities are designed around the stories people tell. It helps us to understand how to stay safe, deal with authority, manage time, understand right versus wrong, handle trade, overcome adversity and everything else that is important and contributes to our way of life.

When you start thinking in story, everything becomes possible because you can imagine it. When you know what you should do, but don’t feel like doing it, calling up the right story can tip the balance in your favor, because you can see it.

Think about a story that involves your first love. Notice how you change when thinking about it. That’s the power of story and when you get the elements right and tell the stories that resonate with your ideal customer, your ideal customer will change right along with you.

The key to finding stories and to start thinking in story is to learn which stories raise the little hairs on the back of your neck.

Find the stories that make you feel!

Then learn how to tell them in a way that makes others feel what you’re feeling.

It’s stories that have the greatest power to motivate someone into action, including both you and me.

In today’s story guide, you’ll take some of the answers from your work in Finding Your Stories and let your imagination run wild. In other words, you’re going after the pictures that bring your answers to life.

Where You Might Get Stuck

The biggest problem with letting your imagination loose is the fact that your analytical brain will want to stay in charge. To help your imagination win the battle, I’m going to send you back to asking questions to conjure up some pictures. Where was I? How did I feel? What was I wearing? Was it hot and cold? What noises did I hear around me?

You get the picture, right? Questions are the lines that connect the dots. And when all the dots are connected, you have an image. When you’re struggling to create a story, whether in words or images, always go back to asking questions.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is when you think in story, or in pictures, you are able to show the emotion and the details that are more likely to resonate with your audience. You show that overcoming a challenge or pain point is possible. You give hope.

So start thinking in story and watch how your business story evolves.