Stories for Self-Motivation in Business

Cathy Goodwin
2 min readJun 6, 2023

Business storytelling can be used for more than marketing. Tell these stories to yourself and see what happens.

Image by Cristofer Maximilian on Unsplash

Motivation often gets presented as one of those “soft” topics, even as woo-woo. Yet researchers find that people who review a certain type of story before attacking a difficult task will enjoy increased productivity and better outcomes.

For instance, management researcher Adam Grant studied workers at call centers who solicited donations for scholarships. One group heard first-hand stories of how these funds have helped real people; the other got the usual training materials. The group who heard the stories raised significantly more money and spent more time on the phone.

In his book, Sell With A Story, Paul Smith calls this type of story the “inspiration story.” It’s the one you tell yourself when you need to rev up your passion for action. In his example, a biotech sales rep gets motivated from this customer’s story:

“Before my doctor prescribed your drug, I barely had enough energy to leave the house. Now I can sit my grandkids; I can get down on the floor to play with them; I can travel. So thank you. You gave me back my life.”

Your Own Motivation Story

Try this experiment. Keep a file of notes from grateful clients. Some can be turned…



Cathy Goodwin

Create a compelling marketing message that attracts your ideal clients through your unique selling story.