Edwin Catmull was with LucasFilm when it was bought by Pixar and Steve Jobs. Catmull was a huge part of developing RenderMan which is the ground breaking software used to create the world’s first computer animated feature film, Toy Story. As president of Pixar, Catmull has had a hand in, and won 2 Oscars for, some of the best movies ever made, including Finding Nemo, Toy Story 3, Up, and a dozen others. In his book Creativity, Inc. Edwin reveals a longstanding belief at Pixar; in the beginning, all movies suck.
Isn’t that fun? Go ahead and apply it anything in your life. It doesn’t matter what it is, in the beginning it’s going to suck.
I like to take that approach to Story. No one is born a great storyteller, and good stories don’t just appear out of thin air. Whether you’re the POTUS, a marketer, or a drunk uncle, if you’re a good storyteller, you’ve practiced your trade over and over and over again. Such is it with the rest of us, and such is it with every story you will ever share.
Verbal storytelling is a particularly interesting skill, and there are 3 starter stories for companies:
1. The Origin Story
2. The Why it Matters
3. The Impact
The Origin story, for instance, is the story of how your company came to be. There are a million ways to do it, and they often change, but a good strategy is to start by establishing context (either personal or public), create some turmoil or a moment where everything changed (make me feel the pain), and then wrap with your, or your org’s, passion. This process can take weeks or months to even get the story to a place that feels good, and then you’ve got to get good at delivering it and perfecting it.
But what’s been even more interesting is that this idea helps me be more successful in life, in all areas. The idea of “in the beginning, everything sucks” helps me to see that I’m right where I need to be and if I’m working to be better, it’s ok that I’m not as proficient as I want to be.
Let’s be ok with things sucking in the beginning and let’s all cut ourselves some slack. So go ahead and start because there’s no pressure.