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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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...


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...


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,...


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...


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...


23: Every Interaction is an Opportunity

Our first son was slow with words, and fast with walking and climbing. He was pulling himself up stairs before he was actively crawling and could climb walls as soon as he could walk, literally; he climbed walls using the baseboard to begin his ascent. When he was a year old, I noticed that when I handed him something or helped him with something, he would say "dee-dah" in a sing-song voice "dee-dah!" It was different from his "da", which meant he wanted something, that word sounded like...


22: An Unlikely Foundation for Optimism

When she was a teenager, Jennifer Heflin overheard a conversation between her parents that gave her the impression the only way to succeed in business is to be aggressive, unkind, and ruthless. That was the story she told herself as she completed her MBA at Wharton, and started her career on Wall Street. It stuck with her so deeply that she left Wall Street because she simply didn't have that cutthroat attitude and the environment didn't work for her. As she started to process her...


21: Your History is Your Story; It Doesn't Have to Be Your Future

Shelley Beth Brown is one of those creative people that, when we first meet her, we assume has always thrived in creative environments. Her writing is whimsical, raw, and full of childhood imagination. I asked her to be a guest on the podcast because I knew there was a lot to her history, and how her family and early career shaped her incredible storytelling. It turns out that we have one thing in common in our childhood: Our families had a similar definition of success that included...


20: Every Event Tells A Story

Suzanne Spaner and I have a few things in common, but the one I enjoy chatting with her the most about is our event planning and hospitality experience. You see, anyone who has ever worked in that industry, including restaurants, is guaranteed to have great stories to share. It occurred to me that at some point in their lives, nearly every person is tasked with planning an event of some kind. It could be a child's birthday party, a wedding, a meeting, a conference, or even a basic dinner...


19: Your "Why" Doesn't Matter

This may be controversial... I think seeking your "why" is overrated, and not particularly helpful in finding happiness and fulfillment. Distilling what you believe down to a basic, clear concept is important, but when you think about it, your "why" is likely pretty similar to the people you admire and spend time with. It's your "what" that is your unique value proposition, not your "why". I wrote about finding my "what", and the lightning bolt I experienced as a result. Discovering my...


18: The Stories You Share Define You

When Kyle Burt shared the story of creating a roller hockey team from scratch at Arizona State University, and how he did it, I was immediately intrigued. This is far less common than I used to think: Some people do what they say they're going to do. And they dive head first into whatever it is, there's no toe-dipping for people like that. As soon as I heard Kyle's story, I knew a few things about his character. He told the story with some level of humor and humility, not taking all the...


17: Struggle Stories Help Define Patterns

After two years in the position, I found myself standing in the bathroom with a tear-stained face... again. What was wrong with me? Why couldn't I make this work? I'm not a particularly emotional person and yet, here I was with swollen eyes and runny nose... again. Why was I letting my boss get to me like this? This wasn't the first time I found myself struggling with an abusive boss in a bad environment. Just two positions before this one I had another abusive boss. As I stood looking in...


16: Road Trip Stories to Build Relationships

It was just a short road trip for our younger son, Max, and me, just around 1.5 hours for a spring break spontaneous getaway, but I took advantage of our time alone together to record this podcast. We've done quite a lot of traveling with our two boys, via air and car, and have made incredible memories. The one thing that makes a road trip different from any other kind of travel is the long hours in the car together, with little distraction, and lots of opportunity for frustration,...


15: Music and Stories: Lessons Easily Applied to Life

Being agreeable meant going with whatever mix happened to be in Ranjith's in-ear monitor when he started playing in his church band. That meant that sometimes during rehearsal and performance, Ranjith couldn't hear each musician playing with him, and that sometimes he couldn't discern percussion from bass, vocals from his keyboard. When he decided to try adjusting the mix, and not just going with whatever was coming through his small earbud, he was suddenly aware of what he was missing....