How to Story Vision


Every January, my dear friend Theodora Lamb and I invite a group of entrepreneurial-minded women together to shape the story we want to live in the year ahead. I’ve created a story vision board for the past 9 years (one for every year I’ve been running Narrative Communications!) and it never ceases to amaze me the power that these boards hold.

Theo and I wanted to share the magic we uncovered, and also bring vision boarding to a whole new level by introducing a storytelling component – we call it Story Visioning. We come together to create the story we want to live for the coming year, and we share those stories with others. Storytelling is only one part of it – it’s about giving voice to our dreams, being a listener for others, and holding each other accountable. Most importantly, it’s about celebration – celebrating our stories as a community by recognizing what’s possible when we give weight to our wishes.

So how do we do it? Here’s a simple guide that takes you through our Story Visioning process.

Step 1: Gather Supplies

Gather as many magazines as you can (of all genres) and collect things like greeting cards, photos, or images you feel connected to. You’ll also need scissors, a glue stick and a large poster board.

Step 2: Set Intentions

We use our workshop to get people thinking about their coming year – we work in small groups to talk through questions like “What stories do you want to tell at the end of the year?” and “Name the different components of your life and think about what you want or don’t want in each one”. We then encourage each person to land on ONE WORD that encapsulates what they want 2018 to feel  like / bring / offer. This is helpful when crafting your board as it gives you a theme / direction to follow.

  • FYI I divide my life into 7 parts and think about each one separately first then as a whole: Family, Career, Marriage, Friendship, Health, Spirituality, Service (charity). Last year, my word was ‘Bright’ and embodied my desire to be more intelligent (learn and read more) as well as to shine brightly! I liked the double meaning of the word and it helped me pick images and words that represented what “Bright” feels like to me. 

Step 3: Find Images & Words

Go through magazines, cards, photos and rip out anything that you are drawn to. Don’t worry about making sense of it yet (or deciding if it’s vision board worthy!) – the key is to use your intuition and be impulsive. We often tear out words or images that we don’t understand the meaning behind until we start to craft the board.

Step 4: Choose a Style

There are so many ways to set up a vision board once you have all the pieces you want to use. We give people lots of examples, but ultimately it’s up to you how to set it up in a way that feels good. A few examples to get you thinking:

  • A Tree: at the bottom of your board, paste images and words that represent your roots (things that ground you) – move up to Soil (things that nourish you), Trunk (core values), Branches (ways you want to impact the world) and Blue Sky (how you want to feel) and your words and images will follow along this style. 
  • A Peace Sign: Divide your life into 3 categories: Self / Others / Service. Put images and words on bottom of board that represent things you want for yourself. On the left hand side, put images down that connect to your relationships (friends, family, partner) and on the right hand side, put down images that connect to your service (work, charity, giving back). 
  • A spiral: Start with your key word at the centre of the board and then spiral out with images and words that represent that word in different ways or areas you want to highlight. This is like a nautilus shell – you start at the core and move outward with your thoughts and wishes. 
  • Or you can simply cut and paste things haphazardly! There are no rules, just go with what shows up for you at the time. The key is to not overthink it!

Step 5: Paste away!

Once you have torn out your words and images and placed them on your board to see what fits where, start gluing! You can paste things on top of one another, or leave lots of blank space if your intention for the year is to have more room to explore. Either way, just start pasting and don’t worry about it being perfect.

Step 6: Story Telling

The most important part is to share what you have done with someone (or many people!). We call our process Story Visioning as it’s all about creating the story for the year to come. You might not even know why you chose a word or image until you start talking about it with someone, and then suddenly it dawns on you! It’s also key that you put your Story Vision Board somewhere you will see it throughout the year – it can be hidden just for you (I keep my hung on the wall in our office closet!) or it can be visible for others to see.

Step 7: Story Reflection

Finally – we also do a Story Reflection evening every December where we re-gather to share what happened in our year and how our Vision Board supported us throughout the year. We remind ourselves and each other of the stories we set out to create, and then we share what the year truly entailed (highs and lows).

Theo and I will be hosting our yearly Story Visioning in January. Reach out if you want to learn more!


Turning a Brand Narrative into a Story Book

I first started working with Melmira Bra & Swimsuits 4 years ago; I knew the four sisters running the business, a business their mother started in 1992, and when they reached out wanting help crafting their future story, I knew it was a perfect fit. After spending time with the five Heenan women, I then reached out to their staff, their customers, their suppliers and their friends to gain a deeper understanding as to what was behind the ‘Melmira Magic’.

Once I had all of those stories harvested, I set out to create a Brand Narrative that encompassed the many ways people experienced their store, both in person and online. It became clear that Melmira was a place you grew with – they weren’t focused on one demographic or one kind of person – they were attracting a wide array of women, many of whom were going through their own journeys. From aging to empty-nesting, breast cancer to corporate demands, starting out a career to entering puberty, each woman I spoke with had a personal connection to the Melmira story.

And so, we set out to craft an illustrated book that showcased the many journeys of the Melmira woman, and we drew out stories and mantras associated with each stage. I enlisted the support of two fantastic entrepreneurs, Lisa Hemingway of Backyard Creative, who designed the book, and Marina Billinghurst who brought each story to life through her illustrations. The result was phenomenal – a book you can read as you sit in their beautiful fitting rooms awaiting the coveted Melmira experience. I came up with a tagline for their narrative – The Art of Fitting – as that’s how they make each woman feel, like a work of art.

It truly was a magical experience – just like Melmira!













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Working Mom on the Road

When my daughter was born last year, I knew I would struggle with the whole ‘balance’ thing. I was looking for a way to be both the kind of mother I had growing up AND the thriving entrepreneur running her own business. My first challenge came when she was 5 months old and I was invited to Yukon to work with a client, Ranj Pillai.

Ranj was running for a seat with the Liberal Party of Yukon and he wanted my help to create a compelling, and authentic, narrative to build his campaign. He also wanted me to connect with Champagne Aishihik First Nation as he knew they could use some support in telling their story to a wider audience.

IMG_1930I asked my own mom to fly up to Whitehorse with me so that she could look after my daughter while I met with my clients. For the most part, it was all relatively easy to set everything up. Hanna was great on the airplane, and we rented an apartment to have the same comforts of home. Where it proved difficult was the 2.5 hour back country drive to the CAFN General Assembly. The drive itself was hard because of all the twists and turns, not to mention the gravel road, yet the trickiest part was my attention span. I would be listening to an elder share her story and I would see my daughter fussing in the background. I would sit in on a panel discussion and my mind would wander to my daughter, wondering if she was hungry or needed me.

The hardest part was letting go of who I was before and accepting my new reality. I’m a working mom, and with that comes highs and lows. I get to go out into the world and help people understand their impact in a whole new way. I also get to show my daughter that I turned my passion into a career. I also have to accept that my memory isn’t what it used to be, and I can get easily distracted. I will never be fully one or the other; I can’t compartmentalize my two worlds.

Coming home from that trip, I sat down with my husband and we laid out a plan for how we were both going to run our own businesses and be the kind of parents we wanted to be at the same time. We have since introduced a schedule that works for both of us, and while we do change it from time to time, we can now plan accordingly. We can set up meetings on certain days knowing our daughter is being taken care of. We also set up safety nets; when Hanna gets sick, we need to be able to shift things around. We have enlisted the support of our village – friends, family, neighhours – to help us raise our child.

And when it comes to travel and being on the road, I’ve decided not to focus on that right now and instead work with local businesses so that I support my own community! As for Ranj, well he won his seat and went on to become Deputy Premier! I hope to work with CAFN later this year, since I got to see first hand the power of their story and I want to help them share that far and wide.

Story + Ritual

It’s been a while since I updated my blog, and with good reason! We had a baby girl in January and life has been full on ever since. It has been such a transformational journey to get here, and one thing I’ve learned is the importance of ritual in my daily life.

IMG_1251My friend and colleague, Paulina Cameron and I have been working on a blog series (and hopefully a book one day soon!) surrounding ritual in our rites of passage, and it opened us up to the conversation surrounding ritual and story in our work. We chatted with the wonderful organizers of Social Venture Institute about creating a workshop for their conference in Vancouver, and last week we presented Story + Ritual, How to create a story-making culture. In our workshop, we explored the way we talk about our work and the elements that make up our values. We then discussed how we can form and commit to rituals that turn our stories-into-action.

Being an entrepreneur, I’m not taking an official maternity leave. Instead, I’m finding ways to integrate my work into my new life (it helps to have an entrepreneurial husband who can commit to being the primary parent a few days a week). One way to do that is to introduce new rituals that allow me to juggle all of the balls up in the air while still being grounded and mindful. I’ve been developing new daily rituals (including lighting a candle when I’m in ‘work mode’) as well as holding onto yearly rituals (such as crafting a vision board for my year).

Both Paulina and I have new babies (her son was born 6 days earlier!), and so we decided to bring our little ones to the conference one day. While it was amazing to be out and reconnecting with my work community, it was harder than I thought to be present and focused. I had to leave several workshops if she fussed or when I realized I was no longer paying attention (how did 15min just pass?!). Navigating this new world will take some time, but I’m amazed at how it can all come together if my values are aligned and I have support along the way.

When Paulina and I presented our workshop, we left the babes at home with our husbands. It allowed us to engage with the room at a deeper level, and also to get a bit of a break. My business is such a huge part of my world, and it felt so good to give it my undivided attention. I’m now back to work part-time, working when time presents itself and being open and honest with my clients and collaborators. As a female business owner, I feel compelled to change the conversation surrounding work + parenting; work might not look the same as it did before, and yet we need to move toward a more integrated way of working and living. My husband is from Sweden so he is used to this type of work/life integration. I’m hoping we can encourage and create a more shared parenting environment so that both parents feel they can stay connected to their work and their family without compromising either.

In the mean time, I will continue to explore how our stories and our actions shape the work that we do and the communities in which we live.

Here are some notes from our workshop 🙂

Story + Ritual: How to create a story-making culture

about: story

Your story defines your culture and if you don’t know what stories are being told surrounding your business, you don’t have access to your culture. The culture of an organization is the story-in-action. If your culture does not reflect your values, mission or vision, your brand has no power. In order to access your story, start by asking questions:

The Art of Asking Questions:

  • Establish trust and a safe space
  • Ask big and wide – don’t be too specific
  • Share and be open – storytelling is a two way street
  • Encourage visualization – focus in on sensory details
  • Listen and then ask questions based on what you heard

about: ritual

Rituals are actions undertaken with intention, filled with meaning beyond their appearance. They remind us what is important, and return us to what matters. Our rituals lead us to create habits that enable us to live out our values daily. Culture is created by collective actions, or rituals, taken by a group of people. They can be agreed upon or invisible, and yet they are the glue that bonds the team together. 

Components of rituals:

  • A value or purpose needs to be defined
  • An action, or series of behaviours, that is practiced with meaningful intention
  • A dedicated time and frequency
  • A commitment – in writing!

Home with Jana Lynne White

IMG_0051I had the privilege of speaking with Jana Lynne White on her new program HOME on Roundhouse Radio the other day. Roundhouse Radio is setting a new standard for radio in Vancouver – they are sharing real stories from people of all walks of life and celebrating those stories publicly. This is such an important aspect of storytelling – we need story listeners. We need to hear the stories that are happening all around us; we need to acknowledge them so we can grow from them. We become witnesses.

I am so excited for the future stories Roundhouse Radio will share; it’s definitely giving me a new perspective on my city and the stories that surround me at any given time.

Listen to my interview as Jana and I chat myth, story and archetype. Enjoy!




Why Stories Matter

I was asked by a friend and artisan Meredith Nicole of Oden Gallery to share my thoughts on storytelling and craft. Here is the article I wrote for The Province’s blog as part of Meredith’s 5 part series.


As we walk through our home, my husband and I are often struck by the amount of stories that fill up our space. We love to support local artisans, especially when we have a personal connection to their work.

I started Narrative Communications six years ago so that I could tell stories for a living. I’ve learned that the best stories are those that have rich, emotional qualities, stories that reflect who we were, who we are and who we want to be. In my line of work, I come across more stories than you can imagine and every single time I am struck by the raw emotion we, as humans, feel when we tell a story.

Storytelling doesn’t need to follow a linear timeline; we can jump between the past, present and future as we dance between our dreams and our reality. The one thing that all stories have in common is a catalyst; something that pushes us into, or out of, the narrative. For artists, that catalyst is often something deep inside them, something that needs to emerge or be expressed.

As a Brand Mythologist, I get to meet creatives all the time who are passionate about their craft, their material and their clients. In my experience, there are three types of stories that my artistic clients tell:

megan-1The Artist’s Story: The first type explores the artist’s personal story, their reason for being, and it is often something they have been asking themselves for a very long time. A few years ago, I worked with renowned artist and painter Tiko Kerr and it struck me how much of his own story, and his view of the world, showed up in his work. We spent countless hours digging into his narrative to understand the trajectory his life has been on through his art. It was a magical experience for me because I got to step into the mind of one of Vancouver’s most beloved artist and allow that story thread to weave it’s way through his pieces, both old and new.

The Client’s Story: The second type is usually based on commission – art that is made specifically for someone based on who they are or what they like. This is one of the reasons my husband and I love walking through our home with guests; we get to tell them how each piece of art contributes to our story. When Johan and I moved into our new home last year, we wanted as many locally-sourced, artisan pieces as we could afford. It was serendipitous that I met Meredith Nicole just before we moved when I was facilitating a brand storytelling workshop. Johan and I asked Meredith if she would build us a custom bed that reflected our story and she was immediately brimming with ideas. In the end, Meredith crafted us a bed made from a fallen cherry tree from the Okanagan; we loved the warmth of the wood and the fact that she built in shelves for maximum storage. The pièce de resistance was when she engraved words from our wedding ceremony into the headboard, As we stand beside the ocean tide, words that epitomized our rainy Tofino beach wedding just months before.

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screen-shot-2015-09-11-at-9-08-18-amThe Material’s Story: Finally, the third type of story many artists tell is that of the material. This is the most esoteric of them all, and often requires suspending reason and falling into our imagination. There are many reasons artists choose to work with certain material; cost, durability, ease. Yet for some, like Brent Comber, the material chose them. Brent is fourth generation North Vancouverite, and his ancestors worked with wood. Brent believes that when he works with wood, he connects with and reveals the stories that exist within the material. One afternoon, my client, the Capilano Suspension Bridge, called Brent Comber to see if he wanted a rotting tree that had to come down in their park. They told him the tree was likely 1,600 years old, and Brent knew at that moment that he had a story to tell. He decided to carve the tree into giant spheres to highlight the tree rings and give equal importance to every part of the tree. I had the privilege of helping him tell the story not only of the sphere, but of the tree itself.


Branding MBA schools

IMG_8953Last month, I presented a workshop at the EFMD Conference, a gathering of MBA schools from around the world. I opened the three day conference by speaking about the power of storytelling and the need for story making environments.

Over the course of an hour, I shared with the heads of some of the world’s top business schools the idea that in branding what we feel is often more important than what we think.

Storytelling has a direct connection with our emotions – our stories focus on our memories, our dreams and our sensory experiences. I wanted to paint a picture for the room that allowed them to feel my story first before I asked them to feel theirs. The remarkable thing that happened was that I actually felt the energy in the room as I did this. By being vulnerable and sharing parts of my story that are personal, I could feel the eyes in the room connecting with what I was sharing. I knew there were likely others who had experienced what I was sharing, and this was connecting them to me in a way that I could not have done with facts and figures.

After I shared my story, I was able to guide them through my Brand Narrative process with the understanding that being open and sharing something meaningful does in fact create a connection. I had people coming up to me over the three days reflecting back what I shared. It mattered to them. They developed an emotional connection to my story, therefore they developed an emotional connection to my brand.

Storytelling isn’t a science – it’s an emotional outpouring.

It’s a chance to be seen and heard, a chance to share something that matters and to hear something equally important back. To tell stories is to live and breath, and yet somehow we have lost that when it comes to talking about our work. When we first meet someone, we have a short amount of time to capture their imagination. We want them to connect with the story we are sharing, especially when it’s a story about something as intangible as a business school.

When branding a business school, like branding a business itself, you need to gather as many stories as you can and look for patterns and themes, similarities and differences. Being able to capture those stories and create a ‘meta-narrative’ is what I do with brand mythology.

Mythology transcends time and place. It holds the stories we all relate to, because at some point in time, we created that myth. A business can tap into that power – they can create their own mythology, a collection of stories that people have in and around what they do and why they matter.

Branding a business school needs to be about more than just academics. It’s about possibility and it’s about change, it’s about overcoming a challenge and the desire to make your life better. That is the ultimate mythology = The Hero’s Journey. It exists in all of us, and it definitely needs to exist in the brand of a business school.

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Sign up for my newsletter and stay tuned for more posts on using The Hero’s Journey in your brand storytelling!

Story Workshops

IMG_8566Spring is in the air – and for entrepreneurs that can often mean change.

A brand is a living, breathing ecosystem. You need to continually feed it so that it can grow, adapt and transform. I’ve been feeding my business lately by sitting down with some of my amazing fellow entrepreneurs and seeing what kind of magic we can create together. Spring feels like the perfect time to announce a new collaboration!

I first met Lizzy Karp in Palm Springs last year during the Loaded Bow retreat for female entrepreneurs – but we had both been told many times before that we needed to meet. When we did, sparks literally flew! We shared our own stories about how storytelling has influenced us in our lives and our professions. We talked about our mutual love of books and of building community. Needless to say, we knew that one day we would work together and do great things.

Photo 2015-01-20, 9 31 11 AMLizzy and I are proud to announce that we are now offering immersive storytelling workshops and mythology sessions for boards of directors, steering committees and small groups that work within larger companies. We recently worked with Aphrodite’s Organic Café, creating a custom staff training workshop that engaged their entire team by tapping into personal stories as well as the larger Aphrodite’s brand story. We convened 40 employees and connected them with the stories that were, the stories that are, and the stories that can be.

We hosted an Irish Wake to honour the stories of the past. We guided everyone in a group meditation to picture a meal that changed their life. We imagined new possibilities through some future storytelling. Most importantly, we brought people together.

Both Lizzy and I are conveners. We bring people together to share stories and to feel. Emotions are one of the most important aspects as to how we operate, and we want to honour those emotions by creating space to story-tell and to story-listen.

We will be unveiling more details soon. In the mean time, if you are interested in having us create a story-infused workshop for your team, drop us a line!

Megan & Lizzy


Power Sources


I first met Robin Bancroft-Wilson of Aatma Crystals through the SVI community in Vancouver and was struck by her genuine spirit. She radiates positive energy, and that must be why she was drawn to crystals. From what I understand, each crystal holds a specific energy, and we are often drawn to a crystal because of it’s energy source. My crystals have become power sources, reminders of the intention I first envisioned when I held each of them. They are wonderful guides in my daily meditations.

When I learned that Robin offered energy cleanses for new homes and business environments, I was instantly intrigued. My husband and I had just bought a house and I wanted us to feel like the space was ours and not the previous owners. Robin helped us create an intention for how we wanted to feel in our home, and it made us look at each room differently. I imagined conversation in the dining room, abundance in the office, creativity in the kitchen – and suddenly the house started to feel like our home. I was creating the future stories that would soon be present in these walls.

Robyn helped us bring our individual energy into each nook and cranny, and our love into the whole space. She helped us become fully present and aware of our surroundings through ritual and ceremony – the salt, the sage, the singing bowl – all of these were powerful tools that she used to weave our stories into the story of this house.

Every day I am reminded of the power of intention – rather than setting tangible goals, we can set intentions that are based on a feeling or an emotion. Ultimately, you let go of how things will unfold and you trust that everything will fall into place according to your intention. After living in our home for 6 months, I can honestly say that the intentions we set forth for our new home have already come to fruition. Whether it was the salt in each corner of every room, the vibrations from the Indian singing bowl, or the smudging effect from the sage – there was power in the simple act of walking through our home with fresh eyes and love in our heart.

It was the ritual that engaged us and the ceremony that allowed us to celebrate our new home for what it truly is – a place where our intention lives.


Power & Beauty

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 2.44.47 PMI am honoured to be interviewed for EcoDiva’s Embracing Power & Beauty campaign. I first met Garcy, the co-founder of EcoDiva, in Palm Springs on a Loaded Bow retreat. What has struck me ever since is how much beauty there can be in power when it comes from the heart. Thank you Garcy for epitomizing the beauty of power.

EcoDiva: When do you feel most powerful?

Megan: I love this question! Mostly because I’ve just realized that I feel most powerful when I lead with my heart. When I first started doing this work, I didn’t always trust my emotions – I thought they were a sign of weakness. I thought that power was associated with someone who does not waver, does not quiver, does not cry. Now I know better. When my cheeks flush or my eyes water, it’s because I care so deeply about this work, about the people connected to this work. My ability to feel is one of my greatest gifts, and there is power in that.

EcoDiva: Being recognized as a “powerful woman” these days doesn’t always have a positive vibe that comes along with it. What does being a powerful woman mean to you?

Megan: A powerful woman lifts others up whenever she can. She doesn’t look for path of least resistance – she walks toward the fire. I believe the road ahead of us involves a massive re-structuring of business culture – we need to create work environments where people don’t have to choose between work and family, between stress and boredom. For me, a powerful woman sees beauty in vulnerability and strength in failure. She fights the good fight and knows when to listen.

EcoDiva: Do you have a personal mantra, or a quote that has been helping you lately?

Megan: I love the quote from Albert Einstein “Although I am a typical loner in my daily life, my awareness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice has prevented me from feelings of isolation.” Working on my own, I need to believe in that invisible community. Technology has actually helped me with that – with Twitter I connect with likeminded people around the world, through texting I stay in constant contact with my female entrepreneur breakfast club, and thanks to Skype, I can see my clients even when they are across the country. Although, there is nothing like meeting a friend for coffee, a client for lunch or going on a retreat with values-driven companies like Eco Diva Beauty.

Read my entire interview here!