The Art of Storytelling: How Dr. Tro Kalayjian’s Journey Illuminates the Power of the Right Story

Conversation at local Starbucks leads to national news story about obese doctor who lost 150 pounds 

In my work over the past dozen years, I’ve had the privilege of working with scores of businesses, individuals, and organizations, exploring the heart of what makes them unique. This journey has enabled me to help them uncover how their “stories” can be leveraged to build targeted and engaged audiences.

The Power of the “Right” Story

Stories are everywhere, waiting to be discovered. Sometimes they are obvious; other times, they remain hidden, but the “right” stories can make a monumental difference. I’ve found the most powerful stories are those which not only align closely with the messages you want to convey but also captivate your audience’s interest.

Many people grasp the alignment part easily but stumble when trying to engage their listeners or readers. The art of storytelling isn’t merely about self-expression; it’s about building understanding and forming a connection with your audience.

Consider those unforgettable conversations you’ve had at social gatherings. The interaction that lingers in your memory often involves a genuine connection and an ability to see things from the other person’s perspective while helping others see things from yours. It’s this understanding and human connection that resonates and brings stories to life.

A Memorable Encounter: Dr. Tro Kalayjian’s Story

One particular story stands out: the transformative journey of Dr. Tro Kalayjian. I came across Dr. Kalayjian on Twitter in early 2018 when a photograph of his before-and-after transformation caught my attention. At 5-foot-11 and 345 pounds, Dr. Kalayjian was once a very big man. But adopting a low-carb/ketogenic diet led him to a sustained fat loss of over 150 pounds.

During the summer of 2018, as I was working on my own fat loss, I was particularly struck by Dr. Tro’s bold prediction that he would break 19:30 in an upcoming 5K. The idea a man in his mid-thirties, once significantly obese, could possibly achieve such a feat was difficult for me to comprehend.

I reached out to Dr. Tro on Twitter. A direct message led to a phone call, during which we chatted about weight loss, metabolic health, running, and digital marketing. That call led to an hour-long, in-person conversation over coffee and a tour of his planned Medical Weight Loss and Metabolic Health Clinic—ironically, in a retail space once the home of a chocolate store.

As I sat across from Dr. Tro, sipping black coffee, I was captivated by his journey from obesity to health and his vision of using therapeutic carbohydrate reduction (TCR) to help patients and coaching clients sustainably lose weight and improve their metabolic health.

The turning point, he told me, came on December 7, 2015, when his wife Rosette, pregnant with their third child, expressed her fear of losing him due to his unhealthy lifestyle. Her concern was the spark that ignited Dr. Tro’s incredible journey.

Dr. Tro told me not only about the transformation in his personal life but also about a shift in his professional career. Once the chief resident at a hospital in New Jersey, Dr. Kalayjian decided to dedicate his career to helping others overcome challenges similar to the ones he had overcome.

The authenticity and compelling nature of his story made it clear to me that it needed to be told on a wider scale. Before I left the parking lot of that Starbucks, I called a longtime friend who works as a reporter, and within an hour, the wheels were set in motion…

A couple of weeks later Dr. Tro was featured in an article in the local Gannett newspaper, and the story was picked up by USA Today.

Changing Worlds One Conversation at a Time

I often find myself on a half-hour Zoom call or meeting with clients in person, digging for those compelling kernels that can blossom into a great story. The challenge is exciting and often leads to the uncovering of gems that resonate deeply with audiences.

Storytelling isn’t just a tool for marketing; it’s a human connection, an empathetic bridge that brings us closer to each other. In a world where we are constantly bombarded with information, authentic stories that resonate, engage, and inspire are more crucial than ever.

And sometimes, all it takes is a gripping conversation over a cup of coffee to change someone’s world. 

Dr. Tro completed that 5K in a blazing 19:07, but what’s more important is the story he shared, the connections that were made, and the inspiration it spread.

That’s the power of the “right” story.

Chris S Cornell