I cried when I read your letter. I cried for you. I cried for me. I cried for all the girls this has happened to.Because we’re not alone. Sometimes when I’m walking down the street, I try to process the statistics. I try to see it in their faces, the way they move, the way they dress, but we’re good at hiding things. And I was one of the best. Could storytelling for business be of real value to your business?
I grew up in a small lake town in the Midwest during the ’70s and ’80s—I spent my summers in a bathing suit, running around with skinned knees and a Kool-Aid-stained grin—I’m not saying my life was perfect; I was a quirky kid. I wasn’t into sports. I liked to sing and dance, which was pretty weird in my community, so I spent much of my time alone in the woods, making up stories and games to keep myself company. I was lonely, but there was an undeniable spark burning inside of me. I knew that one day I was going to use my talent to get out of there and do something spectacular with my life. Does the act of powerpoint training really add value?
When I turned thirteen, boys started to take notice of me; I even won a beauty contest, which made the other girls hate me. I was long and lean with tanned skin and hair the color of spun sugar. I loved having the attention. It was fun—a lot better than talking to myself in the woods. I had a quick string of boyfriends, sometimes a different one every few days. It was innocent. Pushing each other off the dock. Holding hands under the water. A few kisses under a capsized sailboat. Studies have shown that storytelling in business really works.
One evening, toward the end of summer, I got invited to a bonfire/campout. This wasn’t any bonfire, this was THE bonfire with all the cool kids. And I was about as far from cool as you could get. I couldn’t believe my luck, and when the hottest guy came over and handed me a wine cooler, I felt like I was dreaming. I remember actually pinching myself to make sure it was real. He was three years older than me, absolutely gorgeous, an athlete, an all-around dream guy that everyone wanted to be near, and he was talking to me. He asked me all kinds of questions about myself. Laughed at my corny jokes. Introduced me to all his friends. Does powerpoint course really work?
Didn’t pay any attention to the high school girls vying for his attention. He even wiped the chocolate from the corner of my mouth from the mess I made of my s’more. He made me feel important, cared for, like I mattered. And I kept thinking, if he sees something in me, maybe everyone else will, too. It felt monumental, like after this night, my whole life was going to change.And I was right.