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Story Module

Lesson # 3.2 - The Success Story Formula (Part 1)

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Lesson 3.2 - The Success Story Formula (Part 1) | Click To Read More . . .

Hi, I'm Jon Gunzel and welcome to the next lesson in the Stories to Success System.  In this lesson we are going to learn all about the structure of a story and how to use your story to get your potential client to take action on starting the ride of their life.

There's a lot to cover in this module so we've broken this lesson into 2 parts.  In this first video, you'll hear me tell my own story.  At first just listen to the story as if you were a new client trying to find out more about me.  

Then, in video two, we'll break the story down so you can see and understand the structure that makes it work.  So let's get started, come grow with us on the journey of a lifetime.

{S2S Splash Intro}

On September 24th, 1993 I was playing in our Homecoming football game.  It was just before halftime and we were behind by a touchdown.  The visiting team was driving down the field and as captain of the defense, it was my job to stop them. 

I lined up in my defensive end position put my hand in the mud and waited for the ball to move.  I saw the center's fingers turn white from gripping the ball just a little tighter and I fired off the line just as he snapped the ball. 

As I charged across the line, I saw #9 hand the ball off to the tailback and my target was set.  Like a laser, I streaked to my target ready to end the drive in its tracks.  I was double teamed by two blockers and still closing on the ball.  We were head to head.  I leaned forward and hit the ball carrier with all of my might. 

As our helmets cracked together like thunder, my last thought was, "No one could have survived that hit!"

Then everything went black.

Let's back up for just a second.  You see in 1993 I was a junior in high school.  Already a Blue-Chip All American, a National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame Scholar Athlete and recruited by every major division one college in the country. 

Letters and phone calls from head coaches like Bill Walsh at Stanford, Jim Lambright at Washington and Tom Osborne at Nebraska and many more were a daily occurrence for me.  At the homecoming game we even had a scout from the Green Bay Packers in attendance. 

I tell you this, not to brag, but to illustrate how real my dream of playing in the NFL was.  I KNEW it was my purpose in life.  

Everything in my life had a reason because of that purpose.  I ate for football, worked out for football, studied for football, slept for football, you get the idea. 

Because I knew my purpose, and was working in it every single day, I was happy!  I was really enjoying my life.  I was focused, determined and none of it felt like work.  I just "played" every day and every moment of play got me closer to my goal of playing professional ball.

Have you ever had a dream so strong it made you overcome any obstacle with ease?

Anyway, back to the story.  When I woke up, I was lying face down on the field.  It was quiet.  Too quiet.  Slowly I regained the feeling in my arms and legs and struggled to my feet expecting to see the tailback in a heap and my team dancing in the endzone. 

Instead, the field was empty.  The scoreboard clock read all zeros and both teams had gone in for halftime.  I staggered to our sideline and sat down on the bench, alone. 

Now we lived in a small town in Arizona and we weren't really aware or equipped to deal with neck injuries.  So it was my mom and my father in law that came down out of the stands and took me to the hospital, where they took x-rays, said everything looked find and sent me back out on the field the next week. 

But the damage had been done.  From that moment on, not a single college would even return my calls.  I went from the top of everyone's recruiting board to non-existent in the blink of an eye.  For them, it was just business, for me, my dream was over.

I played my senior year and even though I set all kinds of records on the field, no scholarships were offered.  I ended up walking on at the University of New Mexico.  I had earned a starting spot alongside future Chicago Bears Hall of Famer, Brian Urlacher. 

A week before the first game, we had our official team physicals and the doctors thought it would be good to double check my neck in their new MRI machine (the first one in New Mexico).

I agreed to the test and sat in the office waiting for the results.  After a long time, the doctor walked into the room.  He shook his head and said, "Son, how did you even walk in here?"  Your neck is so badly damaged, you shouldn't be able to walk.  Son, your football career is OVER.

The words went through me like ice.  I've had that feeling a few times in my life.  Like when I was in the police academy on September 11th, 2001 and watched the twin towers fall.  Or when my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age four, or when my parents were each diagnosed with cancer and died within 10 months of each other  

OVER!  How can it be OVER!  I spent so much time, energy and effort on this, it can't just be done! And yet no matter how much I hated it, my future was already gone. 

I thought to myself, I guess that's what happens when you put everything you have into a dream and it fails.  I'll just have to find some other way to make it work in this world. 

I started looking for opportunities and everywhere I looked I found one.  First I changed my major 12 times.  I studied everything from psychology, to communications, to business.  Next as manager of a furniture store, then in construction, building homes in Oregon.

Have you ever chased opportunities like that? 

Then I wanted to be in nature more, so I joined with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.  But then I wanted to be closer to my wife and help other people so I joined the Corvallis Police Department. 

It was as a police officer that I finally felt like I had it figured out.  I was top of my class and the first ever to be hired by CPD on the very first try.  I breezed through the academy and was almost done with my year of probation when I thought, maybe this will be the job that finally lets me become who I was meant to be. 

It was just about that time, that my stomach began to hurt and a curious black patch of skin appeared under my neck.  Soon, a stomach cramp, turned into daily explosive diarrhea and I was spending more time "code brown" in the bathroom that I was on patrol. 

Doctor after doctor ran test after test and yet nobody could tell me what was wrong, let alone how to fix it.  Finally they sent me to the department shrink where a fistful of anti-anxiety and anti-depressants was supposed to make me feel better. 

A day later, I was back on the job, doped to the gills, with my gun on my belt and my badge on my shirt.  No one thought that was a problem at all.  Just so long as I could go back to work, this was just the cost of doing business.

Deep inside, I knew better.  Even the meds didn't stop the physical problems and now I had trouble focusing and making decisions, too.  I finally had to go on medical leave and was told my mental illness meant I couldn't return to my job ever again. 

I was devastated.  Here I had finally found something I was good at and it was taken away from me again!  Have you ever experienced something like that? 

I gathered my things from the office and went home.  As I sat alone in my room, the weight of my failures crushed me.  I guess I just wasn't meant to be a success.  Maybe I'm not special after all. 

My eyes searched the room for anything to bring relief.  They stopped on my pistol, still in my belt, laying on my bed.  If I can't win this game, then what's the point?  I slipped my service weapon out of it's holster and put the barrel in my mouth and my thumb on the trigger.

In what felt like one final proof of the loser I was, I didn't even have the guts to pull the trigger.  My failure was complete.

That was the low point.  I checked myself into a mental hospital in Eugene, Oregon where they gave me even MORE pills and spent the next 2 years of my life in a drug induced fog. 

Then, just about the time my mental disability benefits from the police department ran out, my wife came home and told me she was pregnant with our first child.

I took a good look at myself in the mirror.   I decided there was NO WAY I could be the father I wanted to be while I was doped up on all that medication.  I quit, cold turkey, right there.  (in full disclosure I do NOT recommend that!) 

Even though I was told the mental medications were non addictive, my body said otherwise.  I shook for 10 days straight.  Every muscle in my body felt like it was trying to break my bones.    

Finally, I was on the other side and had to face the world, medication free and decide what I was going to do to support my family. 

I took an easy job as the manager of a local furniture store, just to pay the bills.  I put myself to the side and decided from here on out, it didn't matter what I wanted, the most important thing was to provide for my kids. 

I worked hard, but deep inside I hated that job and the problem was, I knew it.  I could only hold out for about a year, before I got really sick again.  This time, I got a severe throat infection and was admitted to the hospital.

I found out later that 3 other people I knew died from that same infection in that same week.  For some reason, I was spared.  I made a decision to never work for someone dumber than me again!

Have you ever worked for someone who was dumber than you?

I now had to come to grips with the fact that my health was never going to let me hold down a "normal" job again. 

What would you do in that situation?

It was just about that time, our first son was born.  I talked my parents into buying me my first digital camera so I could sent them pictures of their grandson.  Turned out, I took pretty amazing pictures of him and I got to thinking, maybe I should be a photographer.  Opportunity had struck again!

We looked in the phonebook and saw the only competition was the same guy that had ruined our wedding photos 7 years before and I knew I could do a better job than him!

So we built a photography business.  I got some great training and we started in our basement.  From there we made enough to move to a home where we had a separate studio building on the property. 

As the business was starting to grow and prosper, our son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  Bags of medications, sleepless nights, 20 finger sticks and 10 injections a day became our routine.  It devastated us financially and emotionally. 

And yet, because I was doing something I was good at, and because I could do it out of my home, I was able to continue working and even building our photography business.  Even though Diabetes was a daily nightmare, we grew our business to six figures and built what turned out to be the most successful studio in Northern Arizona.

Finally!  I found a job that I could do despite my ongoing health problems and those of my family.  What a relief it was to finally have that figured out.

Or so I thought.  You see, although I was making good money and  being called a gifted and talented photographer by some of the best photographers in the world, I was still deeply unhappy.  I also knew that at any point I could run out of customers in my small town of 10,000 people, so I didn't feel very secure, either.

Have you ever felt like that?   Like you're getting everything right and yet still not satisfied?

No matter how much I concentrated on my family and tried to force myself, my feelings and my concerns out of my mind, that nagging feeling kept creeping in.  Soon I was dreading going to work and found reason after reason to not show up.

That's when the destructive habits began.  I came home from work and did anything to escape the thoughts in my mind.  TV till 4 am, alcohol, pornography.  ANYTHING TO KEEP FROM THINKING!

Then, the final straw.  I got a call from my mom one morning. She said my dad had a massive seizure and they had diagnosed him with a fatal brain tumor at 59 years old. 

You see, my dad was my hero.  He worked 33 and a half years in the Forest Service and only a handful of times did he ever take a sick day.  He always said he wanted to retire young and so he sacrificed his vacation time to make sure he could be done working and spend time with us. 

2 years after he retired, he was dead.  A short 10 months later, my mom's ovarian cancer took her life as well. 

The stress and pressure was greater than I could bear.  It was the perfect excuse to get out of the photography business and I was so sick of it that instead of selling it for the 7 figures it was worth, I simply closed the doors and walked away without another thought. 

The only problem was, we had bought our house and built our studio in 2007, right at the height of the housing market.  Now, without an income and without cashing in on all my hard work, we quickly found ourselves $250 thousand dollars in debt and without a job.

I gave up.  I had lost so many times, so many dreams. I just didn't even want to try again.

Have you asked yourself, "What was the point?"

I was stuck, even though the depression and anxiety was greater than ever, I couldn't, no WOULDN'T ever go back to those medications again.  The alcohol and porn were starting to destroy our marriage. 

What could I do?  Have you ever felt like you were at the end of your rope?

I made a decision that day, too.   

Instead of letting the next opportunities that came along decide my future.  Instead of hoping someone would rescue me by giving me a break.  Instead of signing up for another soul sucking job.  I knew I was made for something MORE than that!

Have you ever felt like you were Made for MORE?

I decided to reverse engineer my success. 

Now I'm a Christian and I believe we will all return to our Heavenly Father some day and that we will have to own up for the choices we make in our lives.  Whether you are a Christian or not, you probably have that nagging feeling in the back of your mind that we have a responsibility to make something good happen in this world.

Have you ever felt like you were meant for something special?

So I started there.  What would I have to do to be able to face God and have him tell me, "Well done, my good and faithful servant?"

Well, I knew I would have to use my talents, not just to help myself, but to help as many people as I could.  I knew I'd have to change the way I looked at my life, instead of just trying to survive it, I'd have to invest the talents he gave me and return a bounty on that investment.

Did you ever think your talents weren't being used to the fullest?

That was the moment it all changed for me.  The moment I decided to take control of my life and build it into an amazing, powerful life that didn't serve me, but served a higher purpose. 

The moment I decided to quit playing small by only thinking about my success and instead decided to help others solve the problems in their own lives by using my skills and talents to serve them.

The moment I decided to become the guide that helps others become the hero.

From that moment on, something amazing happened.  Because I was no longer focused on myself, I started learning how to help others.  I became a certified life coach and was top in my class at Bennett Stellar University.  I read 300 books in 1 year. 

As I learned how to help others solve their problems, I found myself also solving my own problems. 

The more I guided others to become heroes in their own right, the more I felt like a hero, too. 

All of the sudden, I had turned my life around from a tragedy into a victory!  My story had become a success! 

If you knew how, would you like to turn your story into a success, too?

Over the next 10 years I coached over 14,000 hours of face to face time with clients.  Every single one of them has had amazing successes in their lives since then.

As I sat back and reflected on the incredible transformation in my life, I realized there were specific steps along the way that helped our clients and myself to go from frustrated to fantastic. 

The first and most important step for every single one of us was to discover our own purpose!  

I'm not just talking about, "to be a good person." or "to raise a family."  Don't get me wrong, those are great goals, but they are not a purpose. 

You see a GOAL is something we want to do or accomplish, but our purpose is different.  A Purpose is bigger.  Our purpose drives us.  Our purpose encompasses all the skills, experiences and stories of our life and uses them to enrich our lives and the lives of others. 

Our purpose is what makes us leap out of bed every morning and makes our "work" feel more like "play." 

But wait!  Didn't I say my football career made me feel like my work was play instead? 

There's one major difference between what I felt was my purpose back then and what I know is my purpose today.  A true purpose can never be taken away from you. 

That's it, that's the key.  A true purpose can never be taken away from you, no matter what. 

You see, my purpose is Coaching Personal Excellence Through Outdoor Experiences. 

I help people like you discover their purpose so they can capitalize on ALL their skills and experiences and finally become the hero they were always meant to be. 

So, if you're done chasing opportunities for good, say YES!  If you're done with feeling like you're made for more without actually being more, say YES! 

If you're ready to discover YOUR own unique purpose and BUILD the life you've always dreamed of, say YES! 

If you're ready to GROW with us on the journey of a lifetime and let us guide you to get there quickly and with a whole lot of fun, say YES!

Are you ready to turn YOUR Story into  A Success?

So that's it, that's the story.  In part 2 we'll break it down and look at the structure so you can write your own success story. 

See you in the next video.

Lesson # 3.2 - The Success Story Formula (Part 2)

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Lesson 3.2 - The Success Story Formula (Part 2) | Click To Read More . . .

Hi, I'm Jon Gunzel and welcome to the second part of the Success Story Formula.  In this lesson, we will break down my story, give you the structure to write your own, and by the time we're done, you'll be writing you own perfect story that will draw your clients in from near and far. 


So you have the right mindset moving forward.  This video will cover the foundational structure of our story while the remaining lessons will cover the finer points and techniques that will really make your story convert! 


{S2S Splash Intro}


Since you got the story in the last video, let just dive right into the details now, ok?


If you'll take a second right now to download the pdf below titled Jon's Example Story, you can follow along as we go.  Just pause the video and download the file.  You can print it or just view it on your screen as you watch this video.


Let's remember why we are telling this story in the first place.  Now that we've completed the Purpose and Ideal Clients modules, we have a new problem.  How do we capture our Ideal Clients attention and convert them into customers so we can continue to live our Purpose?


Of course, the answer is with our Story.  Not just any story, but a carefully crafted story designed to take our Ideal Client on an emotional rollercoaster ride.  Our story helps us create a common reality with our client, builds trust and credibility, establishes our expertise, drops their resistance to change and finally revs them up to take action.


Put it all together in the right order and we have a powerful tool to help our clients take the action they need to get the results they want.  If you haven't experienced it yet, it can be incredibly difficult to get people to take action even when they KNOW your program will help them get results.


So our Success Story Formula is designed to address these resistances and create a deep desire to change in your client.  For that reason, your story process must have the absolute HIGHEST ethics.  This is a powerful tool and use well can help make the world a better place. 


Continuing with this training is your promise you will use this tool for good.


The Success Story Formula is broken down into 5 main parts.  The Call, The Pit, The Search and The Transformation.


First some definitions.  Gotta make sure we understand these words, right?


The Call - Short for The Call To Action.  This is a problem the main character experiences.  An event that happens that makes the main character start on a journey.


The Pit - The low point in our story.  This is the place where the main character sinks to his lowest level it comes directly after and because of the call and often brings up feelings of hopelessness, despair and ruin.


The Search - Following the Pit, our main character begins to search for solutions to the problem The Call created.  This is where we dispel myths, show our clients what doesn't work and help them see the value in our experience.


The Transformation - The Transformation is the part of the story where our main character experiences the major shift in thinking and mindset that finally allows them to break free from the problem The Call created and move to a successful and exciting resolution.


Let's break it down a little further now.


Every story has a hero.  In every story, that hero is called to action by some event that happens in their lives.   If you look at your copy of my story, the first section (highlighted in yellow) is the call to action.


By telling the story of my football injury, my client goes on a journey with me, envisioning the events and picturing the events happening to them.


I'm also able to give my personal history here, building trust and confidence in my client that I've experienced a real problem in my life and I'm not just making up a fake story.  It allows my client to relate to my experience and search for a similar experience of their own.


So, in my story, my Call To Action is when the doctor walked in and said, "Son, How did you walk into this room?  Your football career is OVER!"


Now some people think this is The Pit, but it's not.  See before that moment, my life was going along fine.  It was at the moment the doctor said those words that my life changed and I was CALLED to do action to do something about it. 


Remember our definition, The Call to Action is a problem the main character experiences that begins a journey.


From The Call, our main character moves along to The Pit.  The pit is the lowest point in the story.  The Call created a problem for the main character and The Pit is the place he finally has to confront it in all its ugliness. 


In my story, The Pit is highlighted in RED.  Of course, this is the moment I'm sitting on the bed and learned exactly what my pistol tasted like.  Why do we go here?  Well, you'll learn much more about this in the next lesson on vulnerability, but in short, it makes the story REAL to the client. 


I really debated on whether or not to share my near suicide experience.  In the end I'm so glad I did. I thought I was alone in those feelings but as I shared I found LOTS of people have gone through similar experience or at least thought about it.


We connected on a deeper level and a new level of trust was born knowing there was nowhere I was unwilling to go to get results for my clients.


Going to our lowest moment, allows our client to go to their lowest moment and gives them the gift of seeing it's possible to climb out of The Pit, too.


After the pit, the real journey begins.  The Search is the next step in our story. Most people have a problem and they have a guess at what the solution is.  The problem with this guess is it keeps them stuck not taking action. 


In The Search we identify and eliminate most of the possible FALSE solutions that our client might attempt in trying to solve their problem.  The good news is, if they are searching, they are taking action, the bad news is, that action can take 20 or 30 years of making mistake after mistake.


The Search part of our story allows us to save our clients a lot of time and mistakes by showing them our experience making those mistakes instead.


In my story, the search is highlighted in Blue. 


As you can see, I tried the mental hospital, psych drugs, getting clean from psych drugs, working for someone else, and working for myself.  It's exhausting just thinking about it all. 🙂


During each part of The Search, we want to move our client emotionally.  We want them to FEEL like THIS IS THE SOLUTION, then drop them down to, Oh, no it's not.  Then up again. Then down again.

Over and over until we've established a pattern that random searching is never going to solve the problem.


Really we want to bring up an almost desperate feeling in our client that, maybe this just can't be fixed.

That's the goal, eliminate the False solutions and get them desperate to find the answers.


Once we've got The Search out in the open, it's time to wrap up with The Transformation.


Without a doubt, this is my favorite part of the story.  Just when it looks like all is lost again for our main character, we discover the crucial moment that really DID solve the problem once and for all.


In my story, The Transformation is highlighted in GREEN. 


Now, we want to be careful in the Transformation.  We don't actually want to SOLVE the problem for the client, we only want to show them our main character solved it and that we now have the solution.  It's a balancing act of showing the right path to victory, without actually solving it for them. 


If you solve the problem for them at this point, they will lose interest in you almost immediately.  I can't tell you how frustrating it is to tell the most amazing story and have a potential client walk away going Man!  That was amazing.  I feel great!  AND NEVER TAKE ACTION AGAIN.


Instead, we want to make sure the client knows we have the solution.  We built the system. We built it for people just like them and that they can get the same results.


This is the key to getting clients excited about US, OUR PRODUCT and solving THEIR problems. 


Talk about exciting!  Now our clients know we have been where they've been, hurt where they hurt, searched for answers and eliminated pitfalls and found the solution to the problem they have. 


When we're done telling our story, our clients should be drooling with anticipation and asking you how to get into our programs or buy our products.


Whew, that was a lot to cover, but I hope you can see how powerful this step of the Stories To Success system and why we named it that.


You action steps for this lesson are:


#1  Download and review the PDF file - Jon's Example Story


#2  Download the Success Story Framework PDF File and list out the different Calls, Pits, Searches and Transformations you've experienced. 


#3  Write the first version of your story.  Try to follow the Success Story Framework as best you can. 


Don't expect to get this perfect right out of the gates.  We all have many stories and as you progress with the Stories To Success System continues,  they will ALL come in valuable. 


The point here is to get the first draft written and learn more about how your own stories fit into the framework. 


A warning here.  This is an EXTREMELY powerful PERSONAL exercise as well.  You'll probably experience raw emotions and feelings you normally avoid. 


Remember, this is the moment your story goes from something that happened To you to something that happened FOR you and now, FOR the purpose of helping your Ideal Clients, too.


Allow yourself to work through the process and discover the wins and blessings each part of the story contains.  Don't worry about length, just get the information down and it will be perfect for this round.


In the next lesson, we're going to add the first layer of depth to our story and learn why vulnerability is the KEY to deep connection with our clients.


Until then, enjoy this experience, keep up the great work and May You Never Be The Same Again!

See you in the next lesson.

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