How to Tell Powerful Stories: Part II

from Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle

from Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle


This is part 2 of a series of posts I’m writing on How to Tell Powerful Stories. If you haven’t read part 1, you can read it here (it only takes 2 min).

To reiterate:

Those who tell the best stories become the best leaders. (Jennifer Aaker, Stanford GSB).


Miyazaki’s Spirited Away

Miyazaki’s Spirited Away


Hiyao Miyazaki is a Japanese film director who is internationally recognized for his masterful storytelling (Spirited AwayPrincess Mononoke, &Ponyo).

He is often compared with Walt Disney and Steven Spielberg. One of the reasons why Miyazaki will go down in history as one of the best storytellers is because of how he portrays his protagonists (all heroines).

In part 1, I explained how leaders must design their stories for empathy and to highlight someone that their followers can relate to. Miyazaki repeatedly (and brilliantly) tells the story of a young girl who is trying to do good in a world full of evil.

We’ve seen the power of this storytelling recently on the big screen (The Hunger Games; Mad Max:Fury Road; & Starwars: The Force Awakens)

How can you make your follower the hero of their own story? Follow this formula.

The Formula:

A sympathetic ordinary person named _________________________
who faces extraordinary odds _________________________________
to achieve something quite remarkable _________________________

Simple Story Arc:

ACT ONE: a young girl named Ella is orphaned and left to to be raised by her cruel step-mother who favors her step-sisters.
ACT TWO: Ella falls in love with a prince but the prince has no idea who she is and no way to find her except for a glass shoe that she left behind.
ACT THREE: The prince is finally able to find Ella against all odds and they live happily ever after.

Act 1 raises the emotion of empathy and desire for the protagonist to solve her problem. Act 2 introduces tension and conflict because there are so many obstacles in the way. Act 3 dramatically resolves the tension and brings resolution.

As you prep to tell your next story, try to story board with these three acts in mind. Run it through the grid of the formula and make sure you execute those key components well.


Practice storytelling with your team. Have them come up with a compelling story in 1 minute using the formula. Try this 2–3 times and see what kinds of powerful stories your team can create in a short amount of time! Enjoy!


Use the formula: An ordinary person who is facing extraordinary odds to achieve remarkable results. In part 3, I might write on how to craft what I call your, “Signature Story” the strategic story of that enhances the brand of the organization or leader and drives growth.

***You can read part 3

FYI: This article originally appeared on my website/medium.

Eddie Park is Pastor of Teaching & Discipleship at EvFree Fullerton and one of the hosts of NexGen Leadership Podcast. Eddie had worked in the business world for companies such as Merrill Lynch, Yahoo! and Hulu. Eddie is a passionate communicator who wants to use his gifts to love people and change lives.

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