I want to share with you a story, a moment, an event out of the life of Walt Disney that changed his life, the lives of those there, and continues to impact the world to this very day. Now when you read that kind of “lead line” you might be tempted to think – there is no way any moment can live up to that kind of hype.
Ah.. but this one does. So turn back the pages of Disney history with me.
It is October 30, 1934.
Walt had spend the afternoon moving about the Disney Studios making an unusual request of select artists. Walt gave each person 50 cents and told them to go grab themselves some dinner and come back to the studios that night, at 8 o’clock, and meet on the soundstage.
It was an unusual request to be sure, even for Walt. But in 1934 you could get a nice dinner for around 35 cents, so the artists had a little extra pocket money, and were more than willing to come back to the studio after their unexpected dinner on Walt. Forty people returned to a darkened soundstage, a semi-circle of chairs, and one lone light on the floor in front of the seats. As they got settled in, they didn’t have to wait long.
Walt came down and joined them. He said, “I’m going to tell you a story. It’s been with me all my life. I’ve lived it.”
For the next three hours, Walt told his team the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
He acted out each part, sometimes circling back to recapture a moment he missed. The room was completely caught up in his story. One report said, “Walt told the story better than we put it on the screen.” By the time it was over. Walt had told the story in such an amazing way that although they didn’t know how, they were all convinced they would tell this animated story on the big screen, although nothing like that had ever been tried before.
Walt’s ability to tell a story carried his listeners to a place they had never been before but would never forget. He told the story and as a result, a group of people believed they could dare to do the impossible. The result was a classic, a bit of history, that started an entire series of events that continue to impact the world to this day.
Walt once said, “In learning the art of storytelling, I have discovered that language has an anatomy. Every spoken word, whether uttered by a living person or by a cartoon character, has its facial grimace, emphasizing the meaning.”
Walt was saying that the story… is heard and seen and the way we tell it is important.
Your life is a story. You are telling it every single day. You don’t always realize it but you are constantly telling others a story.
How well are you telling your story? Are you sharing a story that encourages others? Are you telling a story that gives others the freedom to dream? Is your story a story that inspires hope and creates a desire to keep trying in a sometimes tough world?
Your life is a story.
Lives that impact others tell their story well. They aren’t afraid to tell their story and they tell it by making it about others and not themselves.
That is the art of a great storyteller… Walt did it that night in 1934, he told a story and caught everyone in the room so that it became their story as well. Make sure you live your life in such a way that your story is worth telling and that it is a story that will make the lives of others better… forever.