Before she became a Hollywood producer making movies like “Wild” and HBO hits with Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon starred in a movie called Pleasantville. Warning: spoilers to come. Witherspoon’s character and her brother, end up inside an idyllic black and white TV show - think Leave it to Beaver - and bring their knowledge of the “real world” with them.
Imagine if you hit the remote control and landed inside the Brady Bunch or Gilligan's Island or even Charlie's Angel's, bringing all your 2020 knowledge with you. In the world of the “Pleasantville” everything is 1950s unicorns and rainbows, but in black and white. Books exist but the pages are blank. No stories.
If you’re from a small town, you know that nothing causes a bigger stir than the presence of newcomer.
The ignorant but happy residents of Pleasantville are fascinated with the knowledge these newcomers bring. The things they know are exciting and new. One day, In the town soda shop (that generation's Starbucks) someone asks “What’s outside Pleasantville?” Bud tells the story of Tom Sawyer. As he does, the previously blank pages of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn fill with words and the story. People are stunned. Enslavement? Freedom? Totally new concepts in this wonderland.
As people in Pleasantville gain knowledge, one by one, they go from existing in black and white to existing in color. Those with this "new" knowledge become "colored." Those without, monochrome. How do you convince people to hire you and invest in you?
How do you make them trust that you'll inform their world for the better and help them solve problems? Open doors. Introduce ideas.
Usually, the minute you try and get someone to trust you, their guard goes up. They end up trusting you less.
How do you avoid that most basic trap?
Tell a story.
Reese Witherspoon acted out this story.
Later, she stepped into the role of telling the stories when she became a producer. That brought her more money, power and influence.
It increased her reach and completely transformed who she is in her profession.
Are you acting out other people's stories? Or instrumental in how your story unfolds?
Seth Godin says,
“Leadership is getting people to fall in love with your version of the future. In order to lead, we tell stories.”
You can tell stories that captivate people. Anyone can.
When you don't tell stories, you risk being stuck acting out others stories. The lion.
When you tell the story, you call the shots. The lion tamer. Feel like you don't have any stories?
Use someone else's just like I did here. Learn more and grab some free career resources at https://www.courtneykirschbaum.com Courtney