storytelling tommy deuschle

How to create opportunity through the power of story

The power of story gives people vision, hope, new opportunity and incredible investments of all kinds, according to entrepreneur Tommy Deuschle.

Living in the troubled African country of Zimbabwe, the transformational impact influencer and media producer has learned many lessons on how to survive and thrive through adversity.

Tommy believes that human connection, shifting your lens, and most importantly storytelling all have a role to play in transforming your life and overcoming any social, financial, personal and work-related challenges.

Tommy’s insights come at a vital time, where the ramifications of the global pandemic continues to create massive hurdles globally.

Tommy told KnowHow founder Bushy Martin on the Get Invested podcast that his belief in the power of story came from his own experiences and ventures in Zimbabwe.

“The reason I believe in the power of story is I’ve seen how it has shaped different people in a nation that has experienced real global setbacks, and in some cases, economic collapses. And so I’ve seen the power of stories in the midst of fear. I’ve seen the power of story in the midst of victory. And my goal is to help share the best stories to the world, because we can always do with a better story,” he said.

“Number one, I saw the power of story give vision back to people. Number two, I saw the power of story give hope to people. And number three, I saw the power of story actually get investment where it seemed like investment was impossible, and all kinds of investment, such as relationship investment or capital investment.”

Tommy talked about the impact of breaking down fear and looking at life through a positive lens. He said this allows people to ‘change their story’, to see the possibilities and not overreact in difficult situations.

“We’re only ever born with two things. One is the fear of loud noises, and the second is the fear of falling. But every other fear is actually learned. We get taught to fear,” Tommy said.

“My parents did a good job at teaching us not to fear, and they didn’t react when crazy things would happen. They didn’t react when we had an economic collapse or we had a dictator that made bad decisions.

“It was always a response. ‘What could potentially come out of this?’ And I I think that’s what makes great leaders great is instead of reacting to fear and making that the teacher, how about we look through this with a different lens and say, ‘what could the possibilities be in this?'”

Breaking down this fear and removing the negativity from a situation will also give hope and help people to take a risk and be bold and confident in their ideas and journey.

“I realised quickly how fearful people were to bring their idea to the table. And I was like ‘this has to be crushed’. In order for us to really get the gold, we’ve got to be willing to get through the dirt and and the dirt is the bad ideas,” Tommy said.

“So, [my philosophy] was this: no idea is a bad idea. And in fact, if you give a bad idea, you get rewarded. You’re like, ‘that was a bad idea. Well done.’ And so you actually took away the fear of ‘what if I come up with the bad idea’ by saying we celebrate bad ideas.

“And the philosophy behind that was if you give a bad idea to a great team, that bad idea can become great. If you give a great idea to a bad team or a fearful team, that great idea becomes nothing. And so it’s like, how do we allow everyone in the room to feel like they can participate in shaping the best ideas that come to the table? So there was that and then there was no negative comments. And so you’ll be surprised when you take negativity out of the equation, how much hope and how much vision can come into a room.” 

But having a vision and powerful story is only half the equation. Tommy highlighted the need for human connection and rich relationships to truly thrive in any situation.

“Someone once told me that people don’t invest in projects, they invest in people. And so I’ve spent a lot of my life in whatever I do really getting to know people, because once you get to know the gifts and the value of who they are, whether (or not) you’re in a failed nation, you start going, ‘man, I can imagine what could potentially happen if we were to do something together where you were able to thrive’,” he said.

“Whatever team, whatever leadership, whatever community that you’re in, the stories you create, the company, the services and products that you do, if we can have a goal of creating belonging where people can thrive and their gifts can thrive, then you’re building something that’s investing in people. 

“You’re building something that’s going to last a lot longer than you, as opposed to just being staunch driven towards a singular dream.

“I’ve seen many people become super self focussed about what they’re supposed to do and they actually miss a bigger component of the richness of the people around them. 

“So in anything I’ve ever done, investment wise or capital wise, I always come back to ‘am I investing in people?’ Because at the end of the day, that’s going to be the greatest thing in the world – a richness of relationships.”

Listen to the full interview here.

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