Stories with a lesson are the most powerful stories because we leave the audience with whatever the lesson is or the morale of the story. They move people emotionally and get them to think in a new way.
My Camel Story with a Lesson
My most popular story with a lesson is my camel story.
10 years ago, I got the opportunity to go on Christopher Howard’s Adventure Club trip to Egypt.
There were 20 of us mentors and 200 people from all over the world. We would go on excursions during the day and mentoring in the evening. One day, a small group of 23 of us decided to stay for the post trip. We wanted to go to see sunrise on top of Mt. Sinai.
There are 2 ways to get up to Mount Sinai, one way is walk up 3750 steps right through the middle of the mountain or number two is to ride a camel on the side of the mountain. I decided to do what any smart girl would do and that is… to ride a camel. Imagine this, it’s pitch black because it’s 2 o’clock in the morning. We are at the base of St. Catherine’s monastery which is where the burning bush is preserved. All of a sudden, one of the Bedouin’s (native people of the Sinai desert) picks me up and puts me on the camel. I’ve never been on a camel before. The camel stood up hind feet first. My head thrust forward toward the sand and then in the next moment the camel is on all fours and I’m perched on top 13 feet in the air holding on for dear life. The camel begins to slowly walk up the mountain. There are 2,000 people who go up Mt. Sinai to see the sunrise a day. Here we go, camel after camel marching up the mountain.
When we were halfway up, my camel decides to weave from side to side. We are going higher and higher and the camel is weaving closer and closer to the side of the mountain. Then, the Bedouin that owns the camel, starts yelling at the camel his name, “Mardy, Mardy…” It’s pitch-black dead of night. You couldn’t hear a sound….except me screaming, “Oh my god.” The Bedouin calls to me and says, “Madam, Madam the camel knows the way.”
I found out later, the camel was protecting me from other camels passing. In that moment, I thought to myself, “Oh yeah, it’s not the camels first time, it’s my first time.” I relaxed and let the camel lead me up the mountain.
When we got up there, there were only boulders. I climbed onto one of the boulders and did the Rocky pose with my arms outstretched upwards. We waited. Then we saw the sun peek over the horizon. The Bedouins begin singing acapella. A beautiful sound floated over the entire mountain range. I just stood there in my Rocky pose with my eyes closed soaking it all in. I realized that in that moment, I felt closer to God than ever before. Physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. If I had let fear stop me, I wouldn’t have had that experience nor would I have this great story to tell.
How To Craft Your Story with a Lesson
Like your professional story, it begins with a time and place. Then you develop the character by explaining why you are there and what you are doing. Next you introduce the villain, opposition, or problem. In this case, it was the camel weaving in and out on that dusty trail in the dark. This is where you build the tension. It was scary and I couldn’t control my fear and at one point I screamed at the top of my lungs. Then you bring in the resolution. The resolution in my story was the Bedouin who reassured me the camel knows the way. And with the realization that the camel knew the way and that it wasn’t his first rodeo, I relaxed, and we successfully continued up the mountain.
Finally, the wrap up with the realization. I tell this story because of the lesson that lies within it. The Bedouins had a system and I have a speaker system. It’s not their first rodeo. Like them, I’ve been a speaker trainer for 17 years. It’s about trust. Trust your mentors and those who have gone before you. I needed to trust the camel and the Bedouin. Because when you do trust your mentors, there is typically a great payoff. My payoff was so big and so powerful, being closer to God. When you trust my speaker system and you step on stage, it’s like you are standing on top of that mountain hearing the applause, feeling the energy, and knowing you’ve changed lives. There is no better feeling than knowing you rocked your talk and made a difference in people’s lives.
Watch me tell the story in this video and see if you feel inspired to find some trusted mentors to walk you through your fear to success on stage.