So, tell me about yourself?
Cue flash of anxiety as your brain floods with questions you have no time to think about:
Where to start? What to include?
How to be engaging, credible, memorable?
How to be interesting, fun, authentic...
... WITHOUT taking forever, talking in circles, or sounding like a self-promoting jerk?
Before you know it, you are vomiting up your chronological history
... in a 60-second play-by-play.
You watch yourself do this as though from a great distance, wishing it was over already.
10 seconds in, you practically see their eyes glaze over.
And from the way their gaze is flicking to their phone, or their watch, or the area just past your shoulder -- as though there is a more interesting person lingering just behind you -- you can tell that they are no longer listening.
They are waiting for their turn to talk.
Your stomach sinks as it dawns on you…
This person has the power to connect you, hire you, open doors for you…
... and you have already lost them.
Or maybe it shows up elsewhere for you...
At the team meeting, when the VP cuts you off again...
Or when you hear your ideas coming out of someone else's mouth...
(... and everyone else swooning as though they're totally original!)
Or when someone else's problems somehow become your problems...
Or when the conversation turns to MONEY, and your heart starts to hammer...
You feel it whenever they size you up, put you in a box, slap a label on it...
... before you’ve even gotten to the good part!
This is what happens when you follow the script:
You unconsciously allow others to make the meaning of who you are and what you're doing.
But YOU are the only one who has the right to exercise creative license over your story, wherever it shows up.
So why keep giving your power away?
What if, instead of surrendering control of your story...
... You could leverage it, to attract and create the future you want?
What if you could OWN your story?
You know this is possible, because you've seen other people do it.
Within minutes of breezing into the room, they've got the person across from them nodding and laughing and saying "you know, that reminds me..."
They are comfortable and confident sharing themselves with whomever they meet.
They are transparent and sorry-not-sorry about who they are,
AND where they have been.
They are unafraid to show the dark parts, and the challenging parts, and the parts where they fell on their face.
They even laugh about it now!
They can speak their truth clearly, without apologizing or making others defensive.
They don’t worry about de-positioning themselves or over-sharing or getting too personal.
They don’t sound practiced or scripted, like they spent hours getting their story just right.
It doesn’t feel like they’re trying to sell you something, or to convince you of something, or to justify themselves.
In fact, it doesn’t seem like they’re trying at all.
They just sound like an authentic, whole, multi-dimensional human being, standing comfortably in all of their flaws and complexity.
Not bothering to hide behind a title or a resume in the name of appearing professional.
They are at ease with themselves... in a way that
swiftly puts others at ease.
They know that it takes one brave person to drop their mask first, and risk being truly seen...
... So that others can find the courage to do the same.
And this is why others respond to them with relief;
with bright eyes and laughter and stories of their own.
This is why they seem to get all the opportunities that other people miss...
Because in a world that can feel stuffy, self-important, and like everyone is taking themselves way too seriously...
Anyone who dares to show up as a whole human being?
Feels like a breath of fresh air
Hi, I’m Jessica.
And today, I am a professional storyteller and creative business coach based in Oakland, Ca.
But years ago, when I was first starting out...
I didn’t realize how often the biggest opportunities get decided (and distributed) inside a single conversation.
The first time I courted a BIG prospective client, I spent two days crafting the perfect proposal; the book Made to Stick open on the dining room table, my laptop surrounded by a growing collection of coffee mugs gone cold.
Later, the client would say it “brought tears to his eyes”
for how “poignant” and “needed” my ideas were.
I left his office certain my proposal had worked; that the position was mine.
But then weeks went by…
Which turned into months…
And then I finally got the news…
… The contract had gone to someone else.
And not just anyone else -- an old white dude someone else.
I told myself I didn’t want that contract anyway.
Then I moved to San Francisco with no job, no apartment, and no friends to speak of.
All I had was three contacts who had agreed to a meeting.
This time, I didn’t spend hours laboring over a fancy proposal.
Instead, I submitted the obligatory resume (which showed a colorful pie chart attributing 20% of my education to "school") and showed up in a blue dress from Banana Republic.
Sitting across from the bemused CEO, a view of San Francisco Bay sweeping out to my right, he asked me over tented fingers why I wanted to work there...
... Given that I had no relevant experience to speak of.
I looked out the window, and thought about it… and told him a story.
A true story, about how backpacking in the woods as a teenager changed my perspective, and made me realize how important it is to connect people with nature...
... Which (I think?) is what the organization was all about.
Three days later, I was hired for a job I was completely unqualified to do.
… Despite having ZERO of the “5 years’ experience” and “demonstrated track record” that were “required” for the position.
Although I’d had insights about the power of story before, this was the moment my brain short-circuited and I realized how applicable that power is to every facet of our lives.
Since then, I’ve personally leveraged story to:
Generate my first paying coaching clients (while still working full time)...
Build a freelance business from scratch, in a niche no one had heard of at the time...
Escape the 9-5 entirely and become my own boss...
Quintuple my rates in my first year of business...
Move countless prospects from “I can’t afford it” to “I can’t wait to get started!”
Land lucrative contracts with top Bay Area accelerators, universities and nonprofits...
Get hired as adjunct career coach at U.C. Berkeley-Haas School of Business...
... and publish 100+ stories and articles -- which has generated tens of thousands of dollars in surprise revenue, when (out of the blue!) readers reach out to say “I’m ready now!”
And I’ve partnered with all kinds of people to help THEM refine the true stories that got them exactly what THEY wanted:
To get that investor to say “let me know where to send the check.”
To get that partner to say “let’s demo this in twelve of our buildings.”
To start (and grow!) their own freelance business...
To turn hesitant prospects into eager paying customers...
To deliver paradigm-shifting TEDx talks...
To land leadership roles at top companies (like Google, Apple, Nike, HP)...
To land dream jobs in new industries (with little to no direct “experience”)...
To gracefully negotiate their highest salaries yet...
Even once, to craft the perfect wedding vows...
... And another time (swoon!) to successfully adopt a baby boy!
"I learned more actionable steps from you than I did in 2 years of business coaching and 6 months of a high-end entrepreneurial coaching program. Thank you!"
Janis McKinstry, Holistic Wellness Coach
"We are bringing all his cuteness home in the next week or so... Thank you one last time for everything you did in making this dream come true for Michele and I!"
Manthan Gandhi, New Adoptive Dad
"You have no idea how much this means to me. Thanks again for being a wonderful, wonderful human who has helped me heal from the inside out."
Kate Jestin Taylor, Designer & Illustrator
limited only by your imagination
... Unfortunately, our imaginations tend to be rather limited… at first.
(And this isn't really our fault -- many of us were raised NOT to let our imaginations run wild.)
This is partly what prevents people (even some of the savviest business people!) from seeing their story as an asset.
Think about this for a second.
If you had enough perspective to see your story as an asset...
... You would NEVER let it waste away on a high, forgotten shelf.
You would never call it "nice to have; not need to have."
You would know that nothing could be further from the truth.
Because an asset is not meant to sit in a corner, gathering dust.
As in, put into service of generating more and more results.
So if you ALREADY saw your story as an asset...
You would have already started to wonder...
How you might leverage your story, to create the life you want the most.
And even then!
Even once you DO decide to invest in your story...
It's very likely you'll do so in pursuit of a finite story goal:
i.e. the ONE story that will help you get the ONE YES
... that could change your life and catapult your career in the right direction.
… And it will only be AFTER that first finite story has been developed and delivered...
... only AFTER that first intoxicating TASTE of results...
... Only THEN will you start to wonder at the
Assets are meant to be leveraged
Truly, if there is one thing I know, it’s this:
What YOU can achieve when you own your story is
... that great storytelling opens up.
Make no mistake: you invest in your story once, and that investment will serve you again and again throughout your life and career.
I know, because I've done it -- not just for myself, but for hundreds of others, in dozens of different ways..
Now, I've distilled everything I’ve learned from over a DECADE of getting results with story...
... and I want to give it to YOU.
own your story
6 week accelerator
Break the script, pique their interest, & play a bigger game in Business and in life
This 6-week course will show you step-by-step how to weave simple, concise and engaging personal stories into every conversation, so you can
skip the small talk, connect authentically with anyone,
and start showing up as a whole human being.
Assuming you want to get eyes to light up, influence important decisions, and be 20x more memorable...
… Without feeling like you're selling yourself or needing to convince anyone of anything...
... In fact, while feeling more grounded and sincere and unique...
... In a way that inspires deeper intimacy and trust...
... In that case, well... I made this just for you.
imagine that no matter who you're talking to...
You can easily share who you are, what you’re doing, and where you're going...
... in a way that instantly resonates and gets their eyes to light up.
Imagine being completely free from the past stories you’ve outgrown...
AND the ones others tend to project onto you...
Imagine having a personal library of relevant stories to choose from, according to the situation...
Imagine actually looking forward to the tell-me-about-yourself question!
Imagine looking forward to when a prospective client asks, "so... how did you get into this?"
Imagine how this level of comfort and confidence would impact not just your high-stakes conversations...
But ALL your relationships, now and in the future.
Because owning your story is not just about getting great at telling concise, concrete personal stories.
It’s about embodying the kind of PERSONAL CREDIBILITY that cannot be matched by anyone else in the universe.
That’s what happens when you own your story...
You stop wasting so much energy trying to be who you think others want you to be...
you become a true original
And once people see THAT side of you...
That's what makes them want to hire you, fund you, connect you, refer you...
That's what makes people pay 2x or 5x (or 10x!) what they might pay someone else...
... Because there's simply no one else like you.
What you'll get
When you invest in Own Your Story, you’ll get:
My unique framework (the M.A.G.I.C.C. method) for telling simple, concrete personal stories that connect instantly with others
6 high-quality, easy-to-digest, actionable video lessons delivered weekly to your inbox
Weekly action steps to help you digest and apply each lesson IRL (in real life)
6 live coaching/Q&A calls with *yours truly* to keep you on track every step of the way
A private Facebook community to connect and test stories with fellow students
Lifetime access to all materials -- so your stories can continue evolving as YOU do
COURSE Overview + OUTCOMES
Module 1: M is for Mindset
Learn the neuroscience of story (imagination, empathy, attention, and decision making), the difference between an "expert" and a "guru," and secrets to mastering the mindset of one who can "change consciousness at will." Walk away with newfound confidence in your natural ability as a storyteller, excited to start flexing your muscles.
Module 2: A is for Authority
Learn how to excavate the infinite source of your story authority and how to chunk it down into concrete stories. Walk away with crystal-clarity on what makes YOUR story unique, and a starter "Story Bank" to develop into a personal library of simple, relevant, and contextual true stories.
Module 3: G is for Grounding
Learn the art of making meaning through story, and discover what meaning you want YOUR story to make. Walk away with a new perspective on and awareness of your "WHY," and knowledge of how to show others the world through your lens --without moralizing or data-dumping!
Module 4: I is for Improv & Structure
Learn how to structure a story to make it short and shareable, without memorizing a script OR sacrificing meaning. Walk away with a fully developed short story to practice delivering live in a natural, unscripted way -- and confidence in your ability to transform any future experience into a concise and relevant story.
Module 5: C Is for CHaracter
Learn the subtle arts of creating enchantment (aka the "Lean-In effect") and revealing character -- the keys to telling multi-dimensional stories that keep your audience hooked, while activating empathy, imagination, and trust. Walk away with ability to tell longer stories without losing your audience, and absolute conviction that sharing your multidimensional stories is a gift to others.
Module 6: C is for context & Call to action
Learn to identify the contexts where story can serve you in business and in life, and the secrets of weaving them effectively into everyday conversation -- without anyone being the wiser! Walk away ready to implement your deep storytelling skill set in a way that moves people beyond enchantment, to the place where they are inspired to take action and say YES to you.
"Jessica has her MBA in storytelling, and much more."
Sean Conway, co-Founder & CEO of Pillow Homes
"The investor was so connected and blown away by the idea. He said he rarely hears an idea he believes in, and that the way I framed it was unique and unlike anything he's heard before."
Dasami Moodley, Senior Product Manager
"Jessica is not only a master storyteller, but also an incredible guide and teacher. She helped me construct stories that will be a cornerstone in my business and help my brand stand out. I cannot recommend Jessica enough. She is badass, brilliant, honest, and the person you want in your corner to construct your story and take your life and business to new heights!"
Danielle Leslie, Founder of Culture ADD Labs
This it the same stuff that
Silicon Valley CEO's, Forbes 30-Under-30's, and Berkeley-Haas MBA's
pay multiple thousands of dollars to access.
And I want to get it in YOUR hands.
RISK-FREE Satisfaction guarantee
I want this course to be the best investment you ever make in your communication skill set. If you complete the course and don't feel you've gotten value out of it, I'll give you your money back within 60 days of your purchase. Just show me that you did the work, and you'll receive a full refund!
"This feels so much more in line with our deeper mission... thank you for helping me unlock my true story, and all the power that comes with being able to communicate myself and my brand effectively."
Micah Clasper-Torch, Founder of CityBird
What's the alternative?
You could hire a storytelling coach or consultant for $6K... but you won't have the benefit of a community to test and tweak with (and potentially partner with down the road!)
You could attend a live class for $500... but this doesn't include ongoing personalized feedback as you apply what you learn in the real world (and on your schedule!)
You could DIY (do it yourself) for free... but with no blueprint and roadmap, no expert feedback and no accountability for your success, you risk spinning in circles for years.
also, Did i mention?
Register before Feb 28th and you'll also get:
My unique 3-step system for answering the "Tell Me About Yourself" question with ease, authenticity and grace
A suite of practical resources and recommendations for your further exploration, based on a DECADE of story research and experimentation
Frequently asked questions
Q: What can I use story for Again?
Anywhere and everywhere you could stand to benefit from connecting with, engaging, inspiring, or influencing another human being, whether in person, on stage or in print.
Which is to say, all the things that are too big and awesome to do alone. As well as your more standard applications -- building a personal brand, starting or selling a company, building a body of work, sharing your hard-earned wisdom, leading a team, landing your dream job, attracting dream clients, speaking your truth, pitching your ideas, entertaining and influencing your friends, general networking ninja-hood, etc etc...
Q: What happens after I register?
After registering, you'll receive a welcome email containing everything you need to know, including a detailed course schedule and a brief intake survey.
Then, get excited! The course begins on Sunday March 4th 2018.
Q: When does the course start?
The course officially begins on Sunday, March 4th, 2018.
The first module will be released on Monday March 5th.
The first live coaching Q&A will take place Wednesday March 7th.
Each week thereafter, a new module will be released on Monday with the live Q&A to follow on Wednesday for the 6-week duration of the course.
Q: I want to be a better storyteller, but it seems to be a lot of talking about myself, and that feels icky.
Poor storytelling -- boring, irrelevant, self-congratulatory, everything-I-touch-turns-to-gold stories -- make everyone want to stick forks in their eyes.
But great storytelling -- the kind that draws people into a genuine human journey, complete with ups and downs and surprising discoveries -- tacitly gives others the permission to reflect on and remember themselves as they truly are, versus the persona they present to others. This makes great storytelling a gift to others, rather than a self-selling tool (although it does have that convenient side effect!).
Q: I don't have an awesome "hero's journey" story. Is this right for me?
Absolutely! One of the many gifts of story is how many different kinds and sides there are. Although a hero's journey story can be appropriate if you have a TED talk coming up, the reality is that most storytelling takes place casually and contextually about everyday human experience. That's what this course is all about!
Q: I've been told I'm a bad storyteller. Are some people just a lost cause?
Nope! Story is foundational to how humans remember, communicate, decide, and make sense of our lives. While some people do have a natural flair, simply by virtue of being human you have everything you need to become a better storyteller -- but just like in sports, you need to exercise and practice!
Q: How much access do I get to YOU?
I'll be there live coaching you every step on the way during our weekly Wednesday Q&A's via Zoom video conference. Bring your burning questions and I'll be there to answer them!
Q: What if I can't make the live Q&A's?
Not to worry -- Q&A's will be recorded and shared with all students, even if you can't make it live. If you send your questions in advance, I'll do my best to answer them!
Q: Isn't storytelling a fluffy soft skill? Why would I pay for it?
Oops! You must be in the wrong place. I'm assuming you already have exactly the life you want -- dream job, dream business, dream income, dream clients, dream relationships... Congratulations! If that's not the case, come back after you've tried everything else.
to your one wild and precious life