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Why is understanding story so important?

Most people believe that stories live in the pages of books, but the most important stories in the world are hidden. They live inside us. They are created through the meaning we make of our experiences. Day by day. Moment by moment.

The stories we hold are our lens on the world. They frame what we see and who we can be as a result. They determine our agency -- our ability to take action and make impact.

Whether you see possibilities or problems, competition or potential colleagues depends on your story. Most people aren't even aware their story is in the driver's seat and they are being taken for a ride, all the while wishing desperately to go down a different road.

This happens both for individuals and systemically.

Here's the thing: We live in a story and that means we can change it.

Changing your personal story is the first step towards living the future you want. When you claim your story, you learn to trust yourself and your impact expands. You shine brighter and the world will beat a path to your door.

When we change the stories we live in collectively, at work and in the spheres we are part of -- when they are more positive and generative -- life gets better for everyone. Work becomes more fulfilling, community becomes more connected and everyone benefits.

The power of transformation lies in the stories we choose to activate. In life, at work, in society: It's time to tell a better story.
Story is all about agency -- your ability to take action. Have a listen...

The aspects of great storymaking

Telling a better story is about more than technique. If you want to lead with story, you need more than a simple list of elements. SOAR works with five core aspects to bring story to life within individuals and systems.

Together these aspects form a potent strategy. When you work with your own stories, you build personal and interpersonal capacity. When we work with stories together -- as leaders in work and life -- we increase our capacity for collective wise action.

Whatever the change you're seeking, your story -- and how you host it into life -- is the key. 
What is Story Activism?
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November: Rediscover & reclaim the power of your AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP


 Too many of us have been putting on a brave face, wondering where our power disappeared to and what we can do to get it back. Does this sound like you...

  • You have so much to offer, but you stop short, even self-sabotage. 
  • You feel discouraged by the leadership you see around you and long for less focus on competition and scarcity and more collaborative models.

  • You've been tapped for leadership but you're hesitating because you wonder what else you'll have to give up.

  • You feel unrecognized, even silenced, or burned out and overwhelmed. You're  wondering what it would take to claim your powerful seat at the table.

Find out more & register!

There is a way for you to reclaim your authentic power so you step into the world with joy and meet challenges with confidence! We start on November 7.

What if you could change how the world sees you?

New online workshop starts September 7th 

There are five SIGNIFICANT STORIES you need to be able to tell to answer your call in life. 

How you tell them makes all the difference. 

That's right -- out of all the thousands of stories that make up your life, just five are so key that they are the foundation for your future.

Join Story Activist Mary Alice Arthur & online host extraordinare Amy Lenzo to shape the stories that shape your future.


Longing for a larger, more authentic life? Let 365 ALIVE! be your guide.

What's the most important story in the world? It's the one you tell yourself.

Click for more information on the book & free downloads.

More about 365 ALIVE!

Join us at the fire & bring your story to life

THE STORY DOJO is an online community for exploring, ideating and practicing all aspects of story.

Take the 365 ALIVE! journey and see what's coming up.


Read the book

What's the most important story in the world? It's the one you tell yourself.

The stories  alive inside you influence whether you feel powerless or powerful, color your success and happiness, underpin every action you take. When you wake up to the stories at work in your life, you suddenly step into the position of power. Story stops being what defines you and becomes your ally.

If you're longing for a larger, more authentic life, let 365 ALIVE! be your guide.

Receive a free shot of weekly inspiration
Find out more & download a free chapter

Join the Community

THE STORY DOJO is  a community for exploring, ideating and practicing all aspects of story. Whether you are a new story enthusiast or a seasoned practitioner, we have something for you. Let us host your story to life!

We offer:

  • • Vibrant conversation
  • • Hosted exploration of how story works
  • • A safe space for your story to grow & change
  • • Digital Learning Library
  •  • Worldwide Community


 Everyone is welcome -- come and check us out! 

Find out more & join us!

I'm Mary Alice & I'm a Story Activist 

I've been travelling the world and going in and out of organizations, systems, communities and cultures for decades. In working with both individuals and groups, I realized STORY is the secret superpower of humanity. The stories we tell are creating the world we're living in. Every moment. Every day. Story by story.

YOUR STORY IS YOUR FOUNDATION & YOUR KEY TO THE FUTURE -- the roadmap for enabling your purpose in the world.

Your story acts as a beacon lighting the way. What most people don't realize is that you aren't stuck with the current situation -- you can make the choice to activate a better story.

I guide people longing to live a larger and more authentic life to uncover and craft the story that compels them to live that life. And I work with groups to find the stories that will bring their vision and potential into focus and action.

 JUST FINDING YOUR STORY IS NOT ENOUGH, YOU NEED TO BRING IT TO LIFE -- especially if the story involves others.  

Taking action to live your own story -- and working with others to help a new story take root in the world -- is vital. And there are so many stories that need changing now!  I'm a great storyteller, but I'm even better at coaching people to hone the capacity to activate and empower stories to life.

How you take action, especially with others, matters. And with a story and skill, anyone can make change in themselves and in this world!

My book, my story community, the programs I offer and how I work as a Story Activist are the ways I'm making my contribution to grow our individual and collective futures.

More about me
See my TEDX

I just love working with groups! Here's Brian Tarallo's harvest of my workshop "Change Your Story, Change the World" at the Power of Visuals Week-a-thon. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO EXPAND IT

Isn't it time to bring a new Story to life? 

Online December 28 & 29 


“I know it’s time to think bigger, to step into my power, to rise to the next level. I want 2024 to be my year, but I don’t know how!”

Something is calling for change. The old ways of being and working just aren't working anymore.

Maybe it's the job that doesn't fit. Maybe it's an outworn identity that's too small and no longer serving.

Take time for YOU & step into the new year with clarity 

 Join us online and take a time of retreat and focus for yourself. 

Using the powerful building blocks of personal story, potent questions and wisdom council, Thrive! offers you the gift of considering who you want to be, what that looks like and how you can get there. 

Come and be hosted in a time of deep reflection, breakthrough conversations and taking the next elegant step.

You will come away with a deep sense of commitment to your next significant steps into your vibrant future, as well as a network of others to support you.

THRIVE! is a workshop for people who want to live their power.

28 & 29 December Online 

Learn more & Register
Online January 1 - 7

By The Fireside

Shape the story of who you want to be in 2024 together with a community that will help you bring your vision to life

If you want to meet the world with courage and strength, the most positive thing you can give to yourself is the gift of mastering your own story. Being at home in yourself means the past can offer up wisdom, the present can be an opportunity and the future can present unexpected gifts.

Join me at the fire in the first days of the new year for a deeply personal journey into your own story.

Knowing where you are in your story is the first step to beginning to see, appreciate and change the landscape of your life. 

We will support you to turn your story from what defines you into your ally and creative companion for success.

You'll discover the support of new friends from all over the world in our circle.

Find the gold in your stories and let them help you to soar. It's time to find your voice, claim your story and start living your brilliant life!

Register NOW


A playful way to take action on what really matters

Give yourself -- and the people who matter most -- the gift of a powerful future. Playing a Flow Game is exactly the support you need to put the foundation under your next steps.

The Flow Game is a combination of stimulating questions, wise coaching and deep reflection. Focusing on what matters most to you right now, your questions become the the entrée into a fun and easy tool that creates wise council for your burning issues.

Now is the perfect time!

A Flow Game is ideal for:

  • Colleagues who want to innovate together
  • A team needing wise council on a current or planned initiative
  • Anyone seeking personal inspiration and a lift into their desired future 
  • A group or event where sparking out-of-the-box thinking is key

Find out what others say about their experience... 

Contact Mary Alice if you are interested in becoming a Flow Game Host.

Learn more

Download your free chapter!

Wondering how story can impact democracy and governance?

The Routledge Handbook of Collective Intelligence for Democracy and Governance has now been published!
Every one of the 43 chapters -- including mine, Chapter 28: "To Transform the Community, Change the Story" -- is FREE to download thanks to the generous support of Porticus, Stiftung Mercator GmbH and Dreamocracy - Collective Creativity for the Common Good. Get your free copy here.

There's so much more to learn about story!

Amazing self-paced learning experiences are waiting for you right now in the digital library! 

Learn at your own pace, when and where you want.

Ideal both for those beginning their story journey and advanced practitioners.

Our offerings include:

  • IMAGINE is the support kit you need to create your greatest year ever. Take the step-by-step journey into your new future.
  • FREEDOM invites you to recognize that freedom is not a matter of state, but of mindset. It offers potent and mind expanding steps towards creating more freedom in your life. 
  • STORY THE FUTURE & 65 ALIVE! together include 50+ hours of self-paced learning about story with interviews  from over 80 international speakers.
  • Download "The 10 Practices of Story Activism" e-book
  • More content on the way!
See all digital offerings
August 27 - September 1

Art of Hosting Practitioners Gathering

Last year marked 10 years since our landmark international practitioners gathering at Štatenberg in Slovenia, and 20 years since the beginnings of AoH nearby. When we gathered again in 2022, it felt like both the end of a first cycle and the beginning of something new. That’s why we named our event Homecoming.

Now in 2023, we feel called to light the fire again and invite our global practice field to gather once more.

This year our calling question is: What is hosting now – and how can staying in practice together serve us and the world? 

Our focus will be around practice -- what are the edges, the boundaries and the calls to deepen what we know and take it to new places? Our intention is to take inspiration and solace from nature and to allow ourselves to be held, hosted and nourished by the land around us. 

This is a gathering for practitioners to focus on their practice together. We welcome practitioners from all types of participatory practice modalities to come and share. And we invite participants from all over the world.

You are warmly invited to join us!

Statenberg, Slovenia

Find out more & register
Online from September 12 

Beyond Facilitation 2023

Keys for joyful practice in transformational times

It's time to master the essence of extraordinary hosting! 

Four crucial online sessions with experienced hosts and stewards Amy Lenzo (World Cafe) & Mary Alice Arthur (Art of Hosting). Join us as we explore one of the most invaluable gifts from the Art of Hosting Community -- The Fourfold Practice.

The Fourfold Practice offers an incredible map for personal, organisational and systemic work.

Along the way, we will discover how mastering it can become the cornerstone to your life and work.

  • September 12 – Mastering the Fourfold Practice (where we’ll be joined by Toke Møller, the co-creator of the FourFold Practice!). 
  • September 19 – Personal Practice Makes All the Difference 
  • September 26 – Real Results in the Real World 
  • October 3 – Taking a Systemic View 

Online September 12, 19, 26 & October 3

Learn more & Register

65 ALIVE! is a wake up call to the power of story

Start your year warmed & inspired at the story fire. Five days on storymaking & storyshaping. We  feature a new theme and new story practitioners, thought leaders and artists every day.  

2022 themes:

  • Story as activism: When we change our stories, we can change the world. What does that look like in practice?  With Chris Corrigan & Donna Brown
  • Letting the wolf in: Thinking about and working with difficult stories With Elizabeth Ellis & Loren Niemi
  • What is the future story of work?  With Samantha Slade & Ed Hoffman

  • Women & men & power With Annette Simmons & James Navé

  • The spirit of story -- how the past fuels the future With Annie Ruth, Judith McCray & Elissa Yancey

  • And featuring artists Julia Thornton & Don Kirkpatrick, Peet Morrison, Meredith Graham & Stephen Jacob

The recording package includes a PDF copy of my book "365 ALIVE!" & discounts for BEYOND FACILITATION & membership in THE STORY DOJO.

Find out more & purchase

Here's how your stories can change the world

 The past few years have been tough. It’s easy to focus on the drama of it all, but I’ve decided that I’d rather live in a love story.

Sharing stories is a great reminder that we already know how to love and reminds others how they’ve sparked love and learning in us and for others.

The more we share, the more love there is. So here's an invitation to join me in sending out small stories to people who've made a difference. We CAN change the world. One love story at a time…

It's simple and easy.

Every day for 28 days, you'll receive a digital postcard with a short prompt.

Use it to think about a memory, a story or an appreciation. Write it down and send it to someone you care about. Say something that's in your mind and on your heart. Spread the love. There's no better time then now for us to remind each other who we can be together.

Join the Love Stories Team

Fire up your future with IGNITE

Are you at the point where you know there's more, but you don't know how to get there?

A mastermind is a fast and effective way to get traction on the stories you're living in and so you can step into your most successful future. A Mastermind  group can support you put the finger on exactly how to make story your ally to ignite your dreams.


  • Personal attention from Mary Alice
  • The weekly Hotseat where we focus on pouring wisdom and targeted practical advice into each participant in turn
  • Deep connection and community to support you in taking the next steps with confidence
  • Weekly personal inspiration to meet you where you are and lift you into the future you desire

Wise coaching. Expert advice. Group wisdom. Personal attention. 

Learn more about IGNITE

"I turned to Mary Alice for support in a critical time in my work to successfully navigate a difficult merger and rebuild the team. I consider the coaching and support key factors in the success of this project. Her warm and wise presence by my side empowered me and impacted the entire organization with lasting results."


Nora Ganescu

Consultant & coach, Slovakia





"Mary Alice has been a guide on our journey of service transformation  in different ways over seven years. She brings crisp clarity, sharp focus, deep wisdom and a collection of stories that create space for potent conversations and insights."


Penny Hamilton

Fromer Strategic Partnerships Manager, Uniting Care, Queensland, Australia

"Mary Alice has the sort of grounded presence that can hold a group of any size. I experienced her leading one of the best conferences I've attended. Many people are competent and skilled. Mary Alice has that extra spark that makes her truly inspirational."


David Sibbet

Founder, The Grove Consultants International, USA

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