Bo Eason is a former NFL player who played safety for the Houston Oilers. After 4 seasons, he retired and is now a playwright and actor with a renowned show called “Runt of the Litter”. Not only does this man have many accomplishments, but a fun fact is that he’s my story coach. He shared with me about why a story is the most important thing you can have during an interview at Marketing Impact Academy. You can watch the interview down below or continue to read and learn about why Bo Eason believes a story is the most important thing you can have.
Bo Eason’s new book is called “There’s No Plan B for Your A-Game” and is set to release on September 3rd. You can pre-order your copy here.
Tell Your Story
Recently, I was able to speak in San Diego in front of an audience of about 400 women’s health and fitness coaches. As a motivational speaker, I told my story and after I got off the stage a girl I’ve never met before asks “do you work with Bo Eason?”. This was the greatest compliment I’ve ever received and I was thrilled to say “yes, yes I do.”
While speaking with Bo Eason I asked him, “what do you think it is about your style that makes people so attracted to you?” He responded, “what makes you stand apart is you hear all the time ‘tell your story’, but I don’t think people know how to do it well.” The biggest question was, “Why not?”
When it came to the people Bo was working with, he told me that the most important aspect about them that stood out was their sense of freedom on stage. They weren’t trying to “paint by the numbers”, and in fact, most speaking & story coaches try to get people to be something they’re not. In reality, everyone already has what they need inside of them to be a great storyteller. Eason states “if you’re a great coach, all you’re doing is looking for those true moments, and you’re going. That’s you – that’s who you are.”
How to Tell Your Story
As mentioned before, Bo is my story coach and an encouraging one. Most coaches don’t encourage you and that’s what sets them apart from the good ones. While on stage, he mentions how you can find your story by helping others be more like themselves. An example he used was me. As someone who is more charismatic and has a bit of a background in theater, he was able to use that information and tell me “Let’s do more of that, Jimmy”. So with the encouragement of using qualities I have along with my struggles, I was able to utilize that to tell my story and get where I am today.
Continuing on with the interview I asked: “do you think they’re all trying to put them in one cookie-cutter?” His answer was a flat out yes. Regardless of the subject, any great coach, for instance, an athletic coach, will only try to free up the athlete because freedom is where the full expression comes out. Another fantastic example he used was “if you’re training somebody to be fast, you’ve gotta free them up. Otherwise, they’re running all stiff and they’re trying to do what the coach is trying to get them to do – which is wrong.” Finding freedom is finding people like you, and you’re ready to blow up. Having this freedom gives your body language a story. People who don’t have freedom will carry themselves as if they don’t have any power at all with no accomplishments in their life.
What I love about Bo is that he has us do the homework of storytelling so often and when he gets on stage he forgets about it. The biggest lesson I learned from him was co-creating with the audience. Coupled with how I come from a theater background, for those who don’t know when you go into an audition you’re told to not look at the auditors in the eyes. Rather than looking in their eyes, you should be looking over their heads, but what does this have anything to do with the lesson I learned? I learned that you should find someone and lock in immediately – it calms both you and the other person. This is when the magic happens…
I asked Bo, “How many times would you say you’ve performed your play?” and believe it or not he said:
“I performed it 1,300 times.”
So I asked him about how he had to find ways to make his story sound like he told it for the first time, every time.
“Yeah, the only way you can is by locking in on somebody, somebody who’s never heard the story. So, I know the story, and I’ve told it 1,300 times, but that person in the audience has never heard it, and you’ve gotta co-create it. You recreate it in real-time with an audience member, but the minute you do that, the whole audience, how it occurs to them is that they only think you’re talking to them even though you’re talking to another person.”
They think it’s towards them, and that’s the intimacy that we’re missing in most speeches, in most storytelling, and in most performances. If you were in the audience, in most cases you have no intimacy with the performer because they don’t even know you’re there. They’re giving you a performance with such disconnect that they don’t even care if you’re there.
Does Anyone Really Care?
This leads us to say that storytellers are on autopilot because we tell the same story over and over. This can be terrifying, but it’s exciting because even though I’ve told my story a million times there are so many moments where I’m not sure what to say or do next, but that’s where the magic can happen. Leave room for yourself and the audience and find that connection with someone in there who hasn’t heard your story. As soon as we connect with our human, all of us know what to do because it’s a human attribute. We know how to make connections with people.
With more people trying to become a personal brand or creating a side hustle for themselves outside of the corporate world you might see them carrying a camera around. Does this mean that people are getting better at telling stories? Or is there still a big gap and they’re not sure what they need to do?
Bo shares with us that “I still think they can get a lot better ‘cause I think most of us think that no one cares about our lot in life – our story. Even when I first started telling my story about when I was an NFL player, I thought to myself, ‘Well, who gives a crap “that I played in the NFL? “Does anyone really care?’ And it turns out that people do care if you tell them the story of how you got there, the struggle of how you got there.”
It’s always a struggle because you need the conflict. Human beings, your audience, and your potential audience are only interested in one thing…struggle. They couldn’t care less if you climbed Mount Everest if there was no struggle.
However, most people only want to show the end result. The cars, the big house…but the reality is that nobody cares. For example, my 100-pound weight loss story. When I was just starting out posting fitness videos, people were assuming “Oh, Jimmy you’re always fit.” I gained fans, but my business tanked because people would think they can’t do what I’m doing because I’ve always been this way. So I started taking the time to remind people where I came from, my struggle. The same concept applies to speaking. People will say they’re super complementary, but I tell them “do you realize the very first time I ever auditioned in college, I had my script in hand with a literal leg twitch that ‘I couldn’t control’.” People don’t realize and see all the hidden hours that go into practice and work, but you have to remind them where the struggle is.
Bo explains his perspective by saying “I think you bring up a great point. Most speakers in a coaching or training position are always talking about how easy it is and how little they work and still get more money. You hear it all the time, but that’s not how it occurs for me…For me, the harder I work the more I get paid typically.” He continues “There are probably exceptions to the rule, but I think we should start talking to people about how much rehearsal and practice it takes. Tell them the truth because look, we’re human beings. We know how to work, but we’ve gotten away from work being like this noble thing like it’s a bad word. I’m just not comfortable with my life in the hands of amateurs, and I am not comfortable with my kids’ lives in the hands of people who think mediocrity is as high as you can possibly go.”
This all comes together because people want to avoid the pain of working, but somehow still reap the benefits. Life, unfortunately, doesn’t work that way so, without pain and struggle, there is no benefit to reap, but that’s what I love about Bo. I’ve tried to adopt that exact expectation because he does so well with it. Bo can get you where you want to go, and you’re going to go through some rough times, but you won’t be doing it alone.
There’s No Plan B for Your A-Game
Additionally, if you haven’t already heard Bo recently wrote a book. From being a playwright and now an author, I’ve asked him to give us more details on his newfound project like what sparked that and how long this has been planned.
Bo: “It’s so funny ’cause I just don’t consider myself a writer, and as it turns out, I wrote a play. I’ve written screenplays, and now I wrote a book, and I still have the hardest time calling myself a writer.”
Me: “An author?”
Bo: “…or an author. But I met this great agent named Celeste Fine, and I’ve been offered a lot of book deals, and a lotta people go, “Well, you should write a book.” This has been for years since I wrote the play, and I’ve always said I don’t know what to write about and do we really need another book?”
There’s always someone out there coming out with a book, and Celeste Fine tells him “your book is about what you’re obsessed about, which is being the best in the world at what you do. That’s the book I want you to write.” That’s when the inspiration struck,
when somebody gives you the vision for something, you could talk all day about it.
Bo continued on and said “I thought I was the only person in the world that was thinking how to be the best at this thing, but it turns to that there’s a whole bunch of us out there that are thinking about how to be the best at this thing. I started cranking away, started writing, retraced my steps, and tried to figure out how did I become the best safety or how did I become the best speaker or even how did I become the best playwright? How did those things come into being?”
The key takeaway is that although all 3 of those things are completely different, they are all actually in the same. The principles are the same and I find this relatable with my weight loss and building a business. When you think back on your journeys, you begin to see where the parallels are.
Bo Eason’s book is called “There’s No Plan B for Your A-Game” and is set to release on September 3rd. You can pre-order your copy here.
If you give yourself a plan B, you’re gonna take plan B. So forget about plan A. It ain’t working out.
With the interview wrapping up, Bo left incredible advice that I try to live by and I feel that it would benefit you as well: “I’ve operated my whole life like there’s no safety net. If I don’t come through for myself, I am done.”
There come many points in your life where you’ll find your back against the wall, and all you have is yourself. Sometimes you have to put yourself there and say “hey, there’s one way, and that’s it!”
BONUS: if you pre-order your copy of “There’s No Plan B for Your A-Game”, go to Bo Eason’s website right after to receive FREE additional and exclusive content.
I just want you, my readers, to know what a huge impact Bo Eason has had on my life because I was talking to somebody earlier about this. The very first time I’ve heard him speak was actually at Marketing Impact Academy and I always thought I was this weird unicorn. I had so many thoughts at the time thinking about how I was this huge sports fan who was obsessed with football growing up, but I was this musical theater kid that was onstage. However, the day I saw him speak, I was like “there’s another unicorn!” Bo was my guy, I knew he would understand me.
At the very end of the interview, I thanked him for letting me know I’m not alone and that he’s making me be a better me. I truly appreciate it.
Everyone, you’re not alone and I’m here for you too.