I recently attended a quietly inspirational SMPS event – a talk by Jelly Helm. Here’s part of the SMPS pitch:
“You’ve seen his work with the Portland Timbers, Nike and Starbucks. He’s been featured in The New York Times, Fast Company and Men’s Health. Now, Jelly Helm comes to SMPS to share his passions on storytelling. Join us to learn the importance of storytelling in our A/E/C industry.”
I’m a fan of a good story and after checking out Studio Jelly’s website I was intrigued to hear what he had to say. He was actually very low key yet powerful. He disarmed us with some cute pictures of himself as a young child as he told us what we all know – how stories are an important part of learning and understanding our world. And how storytelling is becoming increasingly important in our professional world as we see the rising use of social media.
But he also talked about things I was less familiar with – he encouraged us to explore Joseph Campbell’s’ work, especially The Hero with a Thousand Faces and The Power of Myth, and Campbell’s assertion that ultimately all hero stories use the same basic plot device. And guess what – this device applies to our own narratives too! He introduced the concept of spiral dynamics. I tend to be turned off by mystical stuff, but Jelly is clearly inspired by it and he expresses a profound belief in humankind’s potential to transcend and become “whole” – he said “you have to step into your own story, into wholeheartedness.” And we all know this is what makes something compelling – if you believe your story and have a conviction about the truth of what you are saying others will believe you too. Your passion will be evident. Helm advises us to ask ourselves “what is our purpose?” and then to have the courage to reveal that purpose. Truthfully.
“No one can compete with me when I’m at a passion place – because I’m not even thinking about competing.” -Jelly Helm
Photo: Studio Jelly