Today marks a special day in the history of Get Storied.
It’s with great excitement and gratitude that I announce our launch of Story University—a global learning community dedicated to transformational storytelling. We’re going to start deliberately, with a deep intention for sustained community-building. You have an opportunity to be there with us from the ground up.
Before I tell you more, I want to go back to the beginning of this journey…long before Get Storied was birthed. (If you want to go straight to the chocolate sauce, skip to the big announcement below.)
I. How it All Started…at the Dawn of the Internet Age
Once upon a time, I was an idealistic, bold, and naïve 21-year old.
Fresh out of college, in 1998, I became a social entrepreneur, working at the intersection of business and social issues. It was a special time, just as the Internet was about to change all our lives. I was determined to make a big difference, yet honestly, I was flying blind, fumbling about as I went along. Somehow, I experienced overnight success, with national recognition and funding from the likes of the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations.
Yet, deep down, I sensed something big was missing.
The way that people talked about business and social innovation just didn’t sit well with me. The language felt pathological, prescriptive and patronizing. I wrestled with the demons of this “well intentioned” paradigm to the point of physical and nervous breakdown (my first of several to come).
Just two weeks after September 11, 2001, I let go of everything, and moved into the Kripalu Center for Yoga in Massachusetts. This was my home for six months. Yoga opened the door to a new way of living from the inside out. For the first time in my life, I learned to simply “be” rather than attach to my identity of “doing,” “needing to make a difference” or “proving myself to the world.” I also began to gain confidence interacting with the unseen worlds that had always come so naturally for me to see and feel.
Story would become (and remains) my yoga.
It wasn’t easy at first. In the fall of 2002, I started working in the field of organizational storytelling, long before the current hot trend of story. Inspired by Peter Senge, I hung out my shingle as an Organizational Learning Consultant, convinced the world was ready a bigger message. For the first six months, I didn’t make a dime.
People didn’t know what the heck I was talking about. (Most of them, anyway.)
Thankfully, a few early clients believed in the greater potential of story. Organizations like NASA, Ernst & Young, Marriott, YWCA, and The Nature Conservancy took a chance on me and together, we made some strides—big and small.
People were definitely curious about story; they just didn’t quite know how to interact with it. I was still learning myself. In my gut, I knew there was something really big to this journey I was on. Unfortunately, for too long—it was a lonely path.
A lot has changed since then. Get Storied is now a team of six, and we continue to work with some of the biggest organizations and deliver workshops around the world on a monthly basis. All along, we’ve been on a mission to teach others how to think, feel, and see in narrative. We put much of our global learning platform on hold while I recovered from an extended illness.
We’re ready to once again gather the tribe—with a new series of public programs.
II. StoryU Launches on May 17-18 in SF, June 28-29 in NYC
When you’re doing something innovative, revolutionary or up-and-coming, it’s easy to feel isolated. Like nobody gets it. I know this all too well. Like a lot of entrepreneurs, I spent way too much time trying to figure it out all by myself.
You don’t have to do this work alone. We’re building a learning community that gets it.
Story University launches this spring, starting with two live beta events, one on each coast in the United States. These 2-day weekend intensives, Level 1: Get Your Story Straight, will be held in Oakland, CA on May 17-18 and then in NYC on June 28-29.
Level 1: Get Your Story Straight focuses on innovation and brand storytelling. Whether you’re an organizational leader or a coach/consultant/advisor to organizations, you will learn powerful principles and practices for business transformation. This is for visionary leaders and mature start-ups working at the intersections of two converging worlds, overwhelmed about what to convey. It’s for anyone taking a risk or pushing the boundaries, who needs to translate complex issues into a simple, elegant story that others can remember and relate to.
Level 1 is just the beginning. StoryU is a comprehensive learning pathway to unlock your biggest story. As we roll it out, our next level courses focus on overcoming your ego blind spots, how to facilitate deep culture shifts, and the chance to become a certified practitioner of StoryU’s approach.
Keep in mind: we only have room for 100 participants in each city. It’s our way of ensuring an optimal experience for those who join us in this historic launch.
If you’re interested, registration opens next week.
It’s time for the next chapter of your story.