Mark W. Johnson

Story, Storytelling and Being Born on St. Patrick’s Day

In Uncategorized on April 12, 2010 at 9:04 am

I’ve decided to take the Chris Brogan challenge and dive into the topic of “Story” in my life.  Chris said in his blog post “get a copy” of his book. So I did. I ventured out to Border’s  on Sunday afternoon and picked up a copy of  “A Million Miles in A Thousand Years”

After asking the lady at the store to find me a copy I grabbed a seat out-of-the-way to check out this book that had impressed Chris so much. The first thing that jumped at me was the Max Lucado quote on the jacket. OK…heavy hitter Christian guy. Not what I was expecting, but OK I’ll dive in and see what this book is all about. After reading the first 107 pages I can say this book lives up to the hype Chris gives it in his blog post. Which also includes a video if you haven’t clicked the link I included above.

So back to the challenge. My topic is …. The importance of Story in my life.

Story has always been important in my life. I was born on St. Patrick’s Day. As those who know me, blarney is second nature. From being a genealogy buff  that always wanted to know the story of my families history to my political involvement that always focused on the person running and what their story was. Being an evangelist for a product, a person, or a company involves a great deal of story telling if done correctly. I have always “sold” things by getting people involved in the narrative of the story so they could see themselves as a part of the story. But in his book Million Miles in a Thousand Years Mr. Miller reveals a deeper meaning to the word Story and how it fits into what we do each day.

One example that comes to mind of showing people how they fit into “a story” was when I was in college and helped restart Zeta Psi Fraternity at the University of Illinois. One of the guys that wanted to get involved, but unsure if it was for him, came to talk to me in my dorm room one night. I explained to him that a fraternity is nothing more than what a bunch of guys do when they sit around and watch football and order pizza. The individuals usually organize ordering the pizza or any other activity based on their personality types and each play their own part in getting things accomplished.

After about 10 minutes of using this analogy my friend Evan saw a role for himself in the organization. In the end I was able to show his part in the story. The story of creating something on Campus that we 21 guys who said yes got the chance to put something back on Campus that other young men have been able to enjoy for the last 15 years.

What I got out of Million Miles was that while good at storytelling myself for a long time to accomplish helping get someone elected or sell a company’s service I have lost sight that there are some blank pages in my story that I need to start working on right now. I am glad this book was written and commend Mr. Miller on writing such a lighthearted book that at its core delivers a message that is anything but lighthearted if the reader takes Story seriously.

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  1. […] Challenge Update In Uncategorized on April 19, 2010 at 1:00 pm I wrote here last week about Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles in A Thousand Years in response to Chris […]

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