And Michael Margolis and 2013 Changed My Story

From Personal Branding to 
Digital Storytelling

" Storytelling means revealing something beyond self-congratulations" Michael's tweet in early 2013 had set me thinking. I was also seeking a path to evolve myself (to higher emotions) and I found a goldmine called 'Inspirational storytelling'. 

More was coming, in fact Michael would change my life forever in 2013........for the better

 (Michael Margolis, Chief Instigator, Get Storied is considered 
World's No 1 Professional Storyteller
-Best Storytellers in the World

Note-I do not believe in playing with words and believe invisible intent is more important than visible words. Whether the term Personal Branding or Inspirational Storytelling is used, the intent should be to balance personal with social interest and as Michael says storytelling reveals meaning beyond self-congratulations. In simple words, "When you share inspiring success stories, a great personal brand is a gift from the Universe."

I was a storyteller by birth probably and remember recording childhood episodes (anecdotes) in my diaries. In any case, I used to write poetry, school election speeches and participate in drama, debates, compering and so on. Creative skills were surely a divine gift, which I began to hone as early as Class VI in school. Here are some of the important milestones in my journey, in storytelling context:-

It began with a story  
My blog remains the foundation of my digital, entrepreneurship & storytelling journeys. I started writing a series called, "The Joys of Teaching" in June 2010, which was shared with friends and ex-students, via email.

The first post on my blog, entitled “On Guilt and Grudges” posted on December 28th 2010, was a story or rather an anecdote of a classroom experience. And two years later, I realized the immense power of professional storytelling. 

In July 2012, I used the story format in my workshop/presentation (organized by iMET Global) and shared my story about how I became one of the 100 most influential Indians online in just one year. The audience loved the workshop conducted in story format.

Here are some useful resources for those starting out as storytellers:-

And 2013 changed my story

January 2013-Compilation of my stories
I compiled the stories I had shared in past two years in early 2013, which got a very enthusiastic response from the audience.

And I fell in love with storytelling
On one hand, I was falling deeper and deeper in love with storytelling, on the other hand the Universe was constantly sending me signals that I was on the right track. One of such prominent signals was when Ratan KK, Founder GutsGo, India’s leading digital marketer advised me to do a test to find out the selling style, suitable for my personality. The test is by well known American entrepreneur & online marketing strategist Perry Marshall and interestingly the conclusion of the test was that ‘Storytelling’ is the most suitable selling style for me. 

Global Niche Program
In March 2013, I was asked to review the ‘Global Niche program’ by Anastasia Ashman (included in Forbes Top 20 Women For Entrepreneurs To Follow On Twitter). The global niche discovery process, also led me to the fact that my global niche lies in brand storytelling.

The First Success in Coaching-A Case Study 
Dr Sonica Krishan, Ayurveda expert based in Chandigarh city of India became my first success story of personal branding & storytelling coaching. The summary of the case study is presented in this PPT presentation below. Ayurveda is deep passion of Dr Sonica and her divine gift and she is also contributing to society by sharing her gift with the underprivileged.

(A Story of Passion & Success via Social Media)

The Story Blogathon-May 2013
In May 2013, I decided to conduct world’s first story blogathon and invited my friends and other storytellers to share their stories of success, life lessons, and experiences in personal branding / social media. The blogathon got a very enthusiastic response and participants included the likes of giants/thought leaders in their respective fields viz. Walter Akana, Jennifer Sertl, Ananda Sukarlan, John Murphy, Peter Sterlacci and Isabella Mader. 

In fact, it started off with a wonderful post by the well known lady from New York city, Rory Kelly Connor (Featured Coach for the prestigious New York Women in Communications Inc.), "The Labor You Love-Fear of Giving Birth"

I wrote one of my most popular stories ever, "One Plus One Equals Eleven" at the end of the blogathon. It is a story on my collaboration with my coach Jennifer Sertl and the power of collaboration and community.

The immense success of story blogathon inspired me to compile the Top 20 posts into an e-book, which has been a great success too, with 7,000 + downloads ( in six months).  The e-book is available for free download here.

Building a personal brand through storytelling

In August 2013, Sherry Nouraini, Founder/President @CaptiveTouch invited me to speak to her Google+ group Open Social Media Initiative (via Hangout) on, “Building Personal Brand through Storytelling” and I got a very enthusiastic response from the participants. In fact,  the video has been shared by more than 30 prominent sites.

Building a Story Portfolio for AL Services
I started the process of setting up my organization, ‘AL Services’ which would slowly get into all aspects of storytelling, including content marketing/ ghost writing, training/coaching and consulting. I also started writing a series on Storytelling on ‘Hubbytes’ Blog, to explain the integrative power of story. 

I ventured into various aspects of storytelling from story writing, to website banner storytelling, PPT storytelling  to visual storytelling. Here is a compilation of my posts ‘The Art & Science of Professional Storytelling’ which includes some of the work done for clients too.

I got an invite to speak on ‘Storytelling in a VUCA world’ by Welingkar’s WE School, which opened a new dimension to me,  of 'Storytelling for corporate world'. After some time, I was invited to join the ‘Thoughtful Engagement Team’ as Advisor-Storytelling and Online Branding

The Big Blindspot of Every Culture-Maker: How to Go From “Outsider” to “Insider-The Final Twist
In my blog post (June 2013) entitled, “Indians embrace personal branding but don’t hug it tightly yet” I had shared the joke doing the rounds in India’s personal branding circles, “Indians don’t talk about sex, now they are opening up to talking lovemaking. Indians don’t talk about personal branding, now they are opening up to storytelling (for inspiring others & branding as a byproduct).” 

I was facing the following challenges in my personal branding journey in early 2013.

  • Many clients were inclined to build both personal and business brands
  • Some of the clients felt shy of self-promotion and found it selfish
  • Many clients thought social media branding was too time consuming and boring
  • Most of the clients wanted to integrate their online efforts with offline branding
  • Many successful clients wanted to integrate social with mass media, from brand integration perspective.
I had been unconsciously moving towards storytelling since the beginning of 2013, yet I had not understood its significance in Indian and other community centric cultures.  Lo and Behold, after reading the article by Michael Margolis ‘The Big Blindspot of Every Culture-Maker: How to GoFrom “Outsider” to “Insider”’, I realized I was standing on a goldmine, a goldmine called storytelling. Not only my challenges were resolved, I moved along with my clients to a higher plane.

From Personal Branding to Digital (Inspirational)  Storytelling
Storytelling solved all my challenges  mentioned above, as stories integrate individual reputation with business reputation, self interest with social interest, online and offline reputation, social and mass media and that too with a dose of entertainment. 

Storytelling benefits the storyteller as well as the audience. Inspirational storytelling in digital space is all the more powerful.

Benefits of Inspirational Storytelling
  • Focus on the other-Focus is on inspiring others and not self-promotion or self-congratulations. 
  • Communicate Your Passion-Stories are the best tool to communicate your passion. Here is an example of poetic storytelling which communicates intense passion, "Just, Just, Just 'The Story'.
  • Community oriented-Inspirational Storytelling connects more with community centric cultures like India, while personal branding may be seen as selfish/self-oriented. 
  • Expresses Higher emotions-In high context cultures like India, a term brand is seen as expression of base feelings, rather than higher emotions. Inspirational Storytelling aligns personal interest with social interest and expresses higher emotions by inspiring others.
  • Edutainment-Branding requires time, efforts and consistency but storytelling makes it an enjoyable journey too. It shares successes and life lessons, which educate the audience and do it in an entertaining way. 
  • Sharing secrets-Sometimes the storyteller can share some of the professional secrets also. Due to the high value added, stories have a higher probability of going viral.  
  • Flexibility-Stories offer a variety of formats viz. words, audio-visual, audio, visual, PPT and so on. Have questions on how to use stories? Here is a Storytelling FAQ.
And I have lived happily thereafter.
Related Posts

Best of the Best Quotes on Storytelling 

Best Storytellers in the World
Brief Profile

Dr Amit Nagpal is Chief Inspirational Storyteller at AL Services. He is an Author, Speaker/Trainer and Coach. He is also a Social Media Influencer and blogs on Linkedin as LinkedIn Influencer-MarketingHis special interest and expertise lies in inspirational storytelling, anecdotes and visual storytelling for brand building. To know more, visit

AL Services offers content development/story writing, consulting, training and other services in the area of brand storytelling. To know more, write to 


Popular posts from this blog

Mind Lost, Heart Won

Everything Connects, A Book by Faisal Hoque & Drake Baer

One Plus One Equals Eleven