I walked out of the elevator and onto the 21st floor of the iconic downtown building.
It should have been a familiar site. I’ve visited the office a hundred times for various meetings; but this time, something was different.
Globe lights hung from the ceiling. Drinks were being served. Strangers were beginning to arrive. A few people were pacing, rehearsing their presentations as microphones were being tested.
Three months earlier, a group of nearly twenty strangers from the world renowned creative firm, Leo Burnett, had chosen to work together and design leaps of their own through a newly launched program called Leo Leaps.
The participants’ projects ranged from making short documentaries and designing a line of jewelry, to creating AR/VR Storyboards and gathering staff recipes for a company cookbook. It was incredible to watch these busy professionals carve time for learning new skills and creating meaningful work.
After three months, the group was ready to host a special storytelling night to share their Leap Stories through 4-minute talks in front of colleagues, friends, and community members.
It was a remarkably special night. You can watch three of the short videos at the end of this note (more to come). They will make you smile.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN.
In March, my friends and I began shipping Leap Kit – a tool to help you design a short experience or project in order to learn, grow or change something in your world. It’s been roughly three months and we’re curious: What Leap have you been working on? What are you designing or attempting? And…Would you be willing to share your story?
We’ve just created a place for you to share your Leap Story with us. Can you take five minutes to do so here: www.Expinstitute.com/LeapStory?
Submissions are open until Sunday at Midnight. Then, next week we’ll read stories and personally reach out to hear more from you and how our community can continue supporting your endeavors.
BUT WAIT…HOW DO I CREATE A LEAP STORY?
This isn’t about being an expertly skilled and fanciful storyteller. You can start with a simple framework to put your story together.
In 1991, Kenn Adams developed the concept that nearly every story has a spine – the bones that make it stand and be seen. At the very core, a story is nothing more than a beginning, a middle, and an end. Beyond that, there are a few pieces that help a story take its shape. Here’s an overview of Adams’ StorySpine:
Once upon a time… (gives the listener a sense of where you are and when the story is taking place)
And everyday… (sets the scene and allows you and your characters to be known)
But one day… (this is where the story shifts, you are faced with a challenge or choice)
Because of that… (this is the choice that needs to be made)
Because of that… (this is the outcome of the choice)
Because of that… (this is the new scene, or reality, in which the character now lives. there are challenges,surprises, or tension throughout these days)
Until Finally… (the tension has built to its climactic point here and a new choice or outcome is presented)
Ever since that day… (the long-term effects of the choice and its outcome are stated here)
The moral of the story is… (what’s the point of the story? what was it all about? what are readers/listeners walking away with?)
In his writings, Adams shows how the StorySpine applies to the classic American story, The Wizard of Oz:
Once upon a time there was a little girl named Dorothy who was carried by tornado to the magical land of Oz.
Every day, she journeyed toward the Emerald City in order to ask the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz to help her get home.
But one day, she got to Oz and she met the Wizard.
Because of that, the Wizard told Dorothy that he would only help her get home if she killed the Wicked Witch of the West.
Because of that, Dorothy encountered many dangers and was successful in destroying the witch.
Because of that, the Wizard agreed to take Dorothy home in his hot-air balloon.
Until finally, on the day of their departure, Dorothy ran after her dog, Toto, and missed the balloon.
And ever since then, Dorothy learned that she always had the power to get home on her own, which she did.
And here’s the story of someone who’s taken a Leap, Hugh Weber of OTA:
Once upon a time, after 20 years away from his small, landlocked hometown of Milbank, South Dakota, Hugh Weber returned to the region to live with his wife and kids.
And everyday he felt pressured to keep his head down and not do anything to stand out – the same pressure that had pushed him to leave after he’d finished high school.
But one day he realized there must be others like him in the area who wanted to work together to build something new. So, he and his family decided to host events to empower regional creatives. But had no funding.
Because of that Hugh invested nearly invested his own money to host some of the initial community-building events.
Because of that he would have to sell enough tickets to the event to recoup his investment.
Because of that he became dependent on the support of the creatives in the region where he lived. He didn’t know how he’d be able to keep supporting this creative community without greater financial support.
Until finally, a friend told him to seek out a grant from a foundation that supports community-builders and culture creators. He and his creative friends sent a proposal for funding and the foundation agreed to help them!
Ever since that day Hugh and his creative friends (who collectively refer to themselves as OTA, because they serve the “ota” states: MinnesOTA, North DakOTA, South DakOTA) have been hosting empowering events that support community builders and culture creators in their region.
The moral of the story is that, in order to leap, we must often overcome a cultural inertia that is resistant to change and may frown upon standing out in the crowd.
GIVE IT A GO!
The power of StorySpine is that it offers a simple structure to build your story. Include your own personality and details to make it yours.
Take some time and give this your best shot. You have the space right here: www.Expinstitute.com/LeapStory and you have until Sunday at midnight.
If you need help, you can just reply or send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org. The team and I are here to help.
So, what’s your Leap Story?
ps: If you would like to learn more about Leap Kit and purchase your own, stop by: leapkit.expinstitute.com.