The power of your story

All of last week, Kia and I were in Portland, Oregon. The purpose of the trip was two-fold:

  1. A much-needed vacation
  2. Attending the Storyline Conference hosted by Donald Miller

We had a great time exploring Portland – mostly just the downtown area, so I know there is a ton more to see next time we are in town. You can read a little more about what I thought and see some images of what we did while we were there.

What is Storyline?

Donald Miller has written several books – Blue Like Jazz is probably his most well-known book, and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is his most recent book. Both are what Miller describes as books about nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality.

The Storyline Conference deals with the theme of the Million Miles book – we all are living a story…how can we live it better?

Ian Morgan Cron and Donald Miller

For the most part, Don was the presenter. He did also invite a few people to share the stage with him to be interviewed. Two of these people were Michael Hyatt, who is the former CEO of Thomas Nelson Books and has a great blog on leadership and life, and Ian Morgan Cron who just released a book Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me. I read the book on the way home and found it really interesting. I suggest it.


Miller with a little help from his friends walked through what it means to live your life purposefully, intentionally, to direct your story. He takes a lot of his thought on story itself from Robert McKee and his Story writing conference and book, Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting.

A few things I learned about story and me.

This, in a nutshell is a story: a character wants something and overcomes conflict to get it. Simple. The true things in life are simple, yet complex.

We are all living a story. We are the main character in our own story (the hero). We also have other characters in our stories – supporting characters and fringe characters, possibly a villain. We all want something – possibly big or maybe small. Each of us face conflict in attempting to achieve what we want.

In the end, we are either allowing the story to guide us or we are actively participating in making the story what we want it to be. We are being intentional in how the story plays out.

So 2 questions come to mind:

  • What do you want?
  • What is standing in your way of getting it?

These are two huge thoughts that need to be addressed for most people. For some people really knowing what you want is the hardest thing to overcome in purposefully living life. When we don’t know what we want, we live life aimlessly or chase after meaningless things.

When you do know what you want that is only half of the equation. You also have to overcome the challenges standing between you and your goal. This can be people, finances, location, or any number of other obstacles. There will be obstacles, so you will in the end be measured by how you over come them.

I have more thoughts on story, and look forward to sharing them in coming posts.

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