THE STORY LAB

RESOURCES, THOUGHTS, AND insights FOR  business owners who want to amplify the good they're already doing in this world

telling better brand stories, TOGETHER.

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I remind myself not to speed.  Tillotson Avenue has evolved into a bit of a power path for the university police and the state highway patrol. Digital speed limit signs flash when you’re driving too fast, and ominous, radar-equipped SUVs conspicuously tuck themselves into alleys and driveways.  The courageously feckless disregard the warnings and speed […]

What are we doing all this for?

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Story

He lays his head on the pillow beside me and I make a silent mental note: Keep an early bedtime if you want to reserve an hour of magical conversation with your kids.  I throw my book on the floor and stare at him as he screams back at the invisible Frank Sinatra who sings […]

A journal entry on how story starts and ends

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Story

It’s a weird phenomenon, really >> this fact that for so many of us, drawing the throughline between our stories and our brands can feel. . .  grueling impossible frustrating tiring hopeless pointless [fill in the blank]. I’m sure there’s some super smart psychological explanation for all of this H.A.R.D., too, but brass tacks, real […]

Two Ways to Find Your Brand Story

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Tools

Imagine with me for a hot second that the moment you took your very first breath and cried your first hello to the world, the doctor looked at your mom and said, “Congratulations! Here’s the minute-by-minute guide on how to raise this child. It’s worked with the last 300 children I’ve delivered, so it’s guaranteed […]

With brand story, it’s always personal

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I don’t know if haunted is the right word, but over the last year or so, I’ve been visited by a memory over and over again, and I can’t seem to let it go.  It’s as if it’s showing up, trying to teach me something, but I’m just not connecting the dots.  When I was […]

A scary woods and a magic mushroom

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Story

When I was 11 years old, I moved to a new school in northwest Ohio that was colloquially referred to as The Academy.   Their motto was “Excellence is our tradition,” and it wasn’t just a feel good mantra, either. They meant it.   For most kids at The Academy, any grade below an A- induced the […]

Challenging the thin storyline

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Tools

A few weeks ago, I permanently closed my business Instagram account.  It was a decision I had been mulling over for months, but like a kid who can never escape the social pressures of junior high, I kept tuning in, kept playing the social capital game, kept trying to fit in to the Millennial-powered platform, […]

Why I left Instagram (as a business owner)

Woman holding a phone looking at her Instagram feed

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Story

In 1910, Russian filmmaker Lev Kuleshov changed the way films would forever be edited.   He had a hunch that if you just zeroed in on an actor’s face, a whole range of emotions could be communicated. And his theory blew the lid on the whole bag of audience manipulation tricks.   Using the EXACT SAME editing […]

This one tool will change the way you see (and tell) your story

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Tools

We are all stepping into story with a very particular paradigm. We each have a worldview that shapes how we see and how we tell stories, and that worldview shapes the TRUTH we emerge with.

And when you don’t know what your paradigm is, when you’ve not done the work of discovering the pieces of your own worldview, then story loses its power – over you + over everyone else in your orbit.

13 Ways to Write a Story

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Tools

To play on the words of Karl Marx, deconstruction has become the opiate of the marketer.  Or slightly more practical, we marketers have become drunk love with criticism.  And as I dig into WHY that might be, I think it all circles back to Darwin >> We’re all fighting to survive, believing that if we […]

Want to tell great brand stories? Start with the .1%.

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Story, Tools

You’ve felt the burn of your heart pounding in your chest, racing to marathon-level speeds as you wonder if you’re going to be able to show up with the right words to convince the right client to buy the right package so you can build the right business.  You’ve gone through all the story-finding bootcamps, […]

Here’s why your sales copy keeps missing the mark

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Story, Tools

Long before I was born, author Earnest Hemingway coined a philosophy on writing called The Iceberg Theory.  The idea behind his theory is that as a writer, you should know so much about your idea that you’ll actually need to use FEWER words to engage the reader.  He explains it here:  “If a writer of […]

Why your brand story needs a worldview (and how to find it)

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Tools