Vulnerability & Courage

I want to share a story with you.

This is a story about another story – one that my client James Stafford recently wrote and posted to his website, and sent out to his subscribers.

James wasn’t trying to build his list or get more clients or establish his brand. His company WME ( was already going strong, helping entrepreneurs create profitable, successful websites.

James wanted to do something different: share his own life story, in the hope of making a difference in people’s lives.

“This month is my anniversary,” he told me. “It will be 10 years since I stopped drinking. I want to tell people about what brought me to that decision, the journey it’s taken me on, and some of what I’ve learned and experienced.

“I don’t know if anyone will even be interested,” he added. “But I feel like maybe others could benefit from hearing about how my life has changed.”

We started talking about all the different experiences and lessons he wanted to share, so we could decide exactly how to present them. We finally settled on beginning with the exact day 10 years ago that he had his last drink.

And after a lot of work, a lot of soul searching, and a lot of editing, it was ready to give to the world.

“10 years ago today I made a choice,” James’ story begins. “A choice that changed everything for me… a choice that would take me on a journey of self-discovery.

“I was sitting in the passenger seat of my mother’s car as she drove me to the airport. The previous 15 years flashed before my eyes….”

You can click the link below to read the rest of the story. But before you do I want to tell you about what happened as soon as James posted his story – 10 years to the day after the beginning of his sobriety.

Almost immediately responses began pouring in. People spoke about being brought to tears when they read it: What a powerful message…. I’ve been there myself… What you did took great courage…. Thanks for making the world a better place…. You inspire me…. You showed us we can all create our own path….

James’ story started getting picked up and forwarded to more and more people. He’s received hundreds of comments and emails. And it has now been seen by more than half a million people.

And the number one reason for this amazing response is that James had the courage to be vulnerable.

Certainly it’s a wonderfully written story. As you read it you’ll recognize the story elements I talk about in my book and my presentations: the six essential steps the hero takes; the empathy created by the setup; the actions the hero took in pursuit of his goal; the overwhelming conflict he faces; the climax; and the aftermath. You’ll see how the details of setting and character bring the story to life and make it more vivid and emotionally involving.

But more than anything I want you to see that because James had the courage to share his deepest fears, his shortcomings and his pain – his humanity, in other words – he’s been able to touch everyone who reads it.

And whether you’re writing a book or a blog, a movie, a novel, or a speech, THAT is how your stories can change people’s lives.

Keep Writing – and Stay in Your Essence!

– Michael

To finish reading James’ story, and the others he has posted since that first one, just go to


And if you, too, are interested in becoming one of Michael’s Master Coaching clients, CLICK HERE.