Your Stories Dont Define You, How You Tell Them Will-logo

Your Stories Dont Define You, How You Tell Them Will

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43: Embracing Transition as the New Normal

Kris Macchiarola left the corporate world because her activities there just didn’t align with her core values and priorities. What she discovered after leaving that world is a community of women in varying types of transitions in their lives: Divorce, empty nesting, career changes, priority changes, and a general desire for something different in their lives. There appears to be three responses to these major life adjustments: People see an open door and choose to turn back around to the...


42: Giving Thanks When You Don't Have Much to Give

Shiquita Yarbrough is a single mom, which isn’t too unusual these days. What makes her really special is her incredibly generous spirit, and commitment to not only being a positive and active community member, she’s committed to helping her children see the importance of being a productive and kind member of your community. After her divorce, she decided to start over again with her three youngest children, the oldest was in college. She researched parts of the US, knew generally what she...


41: 30 Minutes Can Change Your Life Plans: A Library Story

He had no intention of working for public libraries when John Spears walked into an interview with George. His plan as he worked through his Masters in Library Science had always been to find a cushy job in an academic library, where funding is rarely an issue. But in that 30 minute interview, his perspective about public libraries was permanently shifted. George was ahead of his time; he knew the role of public libraries was growing dramatically in the age of mis-information, and that...


40: A Spark of Inspiration Is Only As Good As Your Response to It

It was a TED video that caught Don Wettrick's attention during his lunch hour. He is always looking for inspiration through reading and videos, and as a teacher, he is used to fitting that inspiration into little boxes necessary to keep administration happy. But this was different, partly because he had switched schools and his administrator was more open to changes and innovation, and partly because he really wanted to see his students find something they could get excited about. When his...


39: It Can Take Decades to Process an Experience

Ronan had been dating his (then) girlfriend for six months and hadn’t shared a huge story from his past. Not because he didn’t want to, or was keeping anything from her; he simply didn’t see the relevance. Then she saw an image of him on a safety training video for the cruise line she was working for, and called him to say: “Hey - in the safety training video I was watching today, there was a guy who looked just like you on a sinking ship, helping passengers!” It took Ronan decades to dig...


38: Stories of Outdoor Adventures Color Our Lives with Gratitude

Kevin Strauss wasn't born into a family that was outdoorsy. He didn't grow up in a place where it was common to hike for miles, or to go camping in the wilderness over the summer. But at some point in his life, he realized he wanted to reconnect with nature, to explore his adventurous nature and stretch out of his comfort zone. He did something he never thought he'd do, and that experience set him up for a future full of extreme outdoors adventures. When we think about our lives and how we...


37: Slowing Down Time - Be A Storymaker

Many years ago, I read a post by Nilofer Merchant about what she calls In-Between Space: Summers when you were young were the in-between spaces of learning – where you could languish in play time and know learning time was ahead... That time where you got a job offer but hadn’t started yet. Maybe even during the search for a new role. Perhaps it is as simple as when you are clear of a new direction. I think of that post often; I live in an In-Between Space, it's a weird sort of comfort...


36: Avoiding the After Conference Hangover

I was so excited to start working on some of the ideas I had, and to apply what I had learned, I actually arrived early to work the morning I returned from the conference. That's a big deal for me; I love to sleep and rarely choose to get up any earlier than I have to. But that morning was different. That week would be different. My JOB would be different. I was on fire. The conference had been full of great topics, from sales to leadership, from marketing to financial analysis. The keynote...


35: Connect Deeply Through Travel and Adventure

The irony is that so many of our shared stories aren't about the beauty and perfect experiences we've had, they're usually about the things that went wrong. Not always, of course. There are those magical moments we share with others, like the one Julia Shamis describes in this episode, those moments when everything is right and beautiful, and we share a vivid memory of something truly fantastic. I've found the majority of the stories we share are the ones were something went wrong, we...


34: We Can Choose How Our Stories Define Us

We all know a few people who cannot seem to get a break. These are the friends we have who were in tough childhood situations, moved from home to home, and had abusive teen and young adult years, and then seem to have tragedy after tragedy in their lives well into adulthood. Some of them are angry and bitter, some are simply resigned to their fate, and then others become more and more resilient, making choices to grow and help others in a variety of ways. That's Ashley Horner. She could...


33: You Never Know Which of Your Stories Will Inspire You

Gail and Rebecca met when they worked together at a recruitment firm, and as they worked together, realized they were inspired by some of the same things about that industry: The advocacy for clients, the feeling they got when they had a placement they knew would change lives, and the knowledge that when they did something really well, it made a big difference in their communities. They came from completely different backgrounds, and they are completely different people, which is probably...


32: If You're Not Present, You're Risking More Than You Think

I was in my early 20's when I noticed this pattern. If I look down at my hands and find three or more minor injuries requiring BAND-AIDs, I know I’m not paying attention to myself or my surroundings, I know I’m not being fully present. Two band-aids are a small hint, but if I get to three, I require serious reflection. When I see three, I know I'm in trouble, and that my brain is not in fully-functional, problem-solving mode. Seeing multiple injuries on my hands is one hint to myself to...


31: Being Born to do Something Doesn't Mean it's Easy

He was six when he heard Fats Domino's Blueberry Hill, got those telltale chills up his spine, and knew he was born to play guitar and sing. He was nine when that passion was tested, and it took him five years to recover. Sometimes our passion for something must be tested so we know, absolutely, that this is exactly what we want. When Duke Robillard stood on a stage to sing for the first time in front of a large audience, the spotlight on him, his nine-year-old confidence and character were...


30: Use Humor to Engage and Connect

Ron Feingold, like other brilliant and well-know, but not necessarily famous comedians, has worked for nearly 30 years to make people laugh, to entertain them, and to connect with them for the brief time he has on stage for each show. Every story he shares has some element of humor in it, though sometimes it's subtle. What I love about his style is that he's doing his own thing. He's not trying to be like anyone else. He's also combining comedy with his love for music, something unique and...


29: Desperate For Connection, Stories Build Relationships

We’re reeling from another teenage suicide in our little town. That’s the second in as many months, and they were friends. I saw a picture of the two high school juniors together, taken just a few days before the first decided to end her life. Teens have always faced an especially rough emotional time, but what has changed in our communities to explain the huge rise in suicides and clinical depression? It’s not just teenagers, either. There’s no simple answer; it’s a complex problem, and...


28: A Hero's Story Doesn't Have to be Epic

One thing people seem to misunderstand about being a storyteller, or simply about sharing stories, is that a story doesn't have to be flashy or exciting to make it interesting. It doesn't have to involve celebrities or risk of life and limb. As a matter of fact, most people prefer stories they can relate to, that they find humor in, and that connect with them on an emotional level. These are aspects of storytelling that really lend themselves well to video; when we share a story on video,...


27: Choose Your Location, and the Job Will Follow

JeanAnn Nichols never really thought about what she wanted to do in terms of everyday work to make an income, instead, she decided where she wanted to live, and picked a career that would take her to that place. Fortunately, she was raised in a household where traditional gender modeling wasn't a thing, so when she decided to go into engineering, it didn't seem unusual or unattainable. Two parts of our conversation stand out to me: Would you consider choosing your career based on where...


26: Applying Our Stories Through Generations

The popularity of DNA and geneology tests and apps is a big indication that people are interested to know where they came from. We all have different reasons for wanting to know; many simply want to know what genetic predispositions they may face as they age, or have children. More of us are curious because we define ourselves by our stories, our backgrounds, and the people who came before us. As a child, I remember sitting at our dinner table and hearing stories of our grandparents, great...


25: Your Brain on Stories: How Stories Impact Your World View

He was sitting in the school library with his friends on a rainy day, laughing and getting the negative attention of the staff. Picking up a random novel from the shelf to hide behind and pretend to read, a sentence actually caught his attention, and he was completely transported to the world of Dune. It was the third in the series, and when he finished it, he went back to read the first two. That fateful rainy day changed how David Amerland saw his world, and his future in it. The premise...


24: Expectations: Fuel for Resentment, or Critical Growth Factor?

As an educator, Melissa Hughes knows that students will be more successful when a teacher has high expectations of them. She also knows that expectations, when not managed and understood, can fuel resentment in a relationship. What's really fascinating is that when an expectation isn't met, it can have devastating effects, so devastating that our brain reacts in the same way as when we feel physical pain. Feel good neural transmitters are released when our expectations are met - and they...