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Your Stories Dont Define You, How You Tell Them Will

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56: Share Your Story on Your Terms

It’s not uncommon for people who have disabilities, or dealt with tragedies and other life-altering experiences to want to move forward and just “be normal.” Children who have experienced the death of a parent or sibling are often heard expressing this feeling of not wanting to be known as “the kid who lost his mom.” Many times in life, we see our weirdness through the eyes of the people around us, not really knowing that most everyone feels weird or different, or somehow not “normal” at...


55: Taking Yourself Too Seriously? Remember Your Mistakes Fondly.

It was my first day of my first real job out of college. My paid internship in Washington DC had ended and I spent the summer playing with my sister and roommate, waiting tables and hosting at a couple of restaurants. When my sister moved back home to Colorado, my roommate convinced me to join a temp agency. Shortly after my first placement, the company offered me a job. My appointment with Lori in the HR department was scheduled at 8am on a Monday morning. It was December, and it was...


54: What is Your Top Strength?

In March I was gifted a book and code to take the StrengthsFinders assessment. Because I trust and admire the person who gifted it to me, I took the assessment and read through what it meant. I’m not a big fan of personality tests and other assessments for a few reasons: They can be used in a negative, labeling way, giving people an excuse to not pay attention to the needs of the people around them. They often aren’t paired with coaching or clear strategies for applying what you learn...


53: Between Your "Why" and Your "How" are Your Stories

It turns out that philosophy is not only not boring, when appropriately applied, philosophy can help you understand yourself and the world around you. Philosophy is not about memorizing what Socrates or Plato said; philosophy is about curiosity and questions. That’s how Marisa Diaz-Waian sees it, and she’s on a mission to help others apply philosophical questions and discussions to some of our most pressing current issues and moral and ethical dilemmas. From a series of symposia discussing...


52: Will You Disrupt Yourself? Or Will You Be Disrupted?

Whitney Johnson knew she found something really useful in the book she was reading, but she had no idea how it would change her perspective about her career and life trajectory. She was in the middle of a major project, doing research on disruption in the telecom industry when she realized that the description of disruption as a business concept could easily be applied to personal growth and career. That seed turned into a full sized tree over the next few years as she started to consider...


51: Your Words Have Impact When You Least Expect It

And Your Actions Will Carry Even More Weight I have moments in conversations with my children that I think: “That was good! Where did that wisdom come from?” And in my mind, I’ve said something so perceptive, so wise, that my boys are sure to remember it and apply it. That’s rarely the way it works. They remember some of the most ridiculous things I’ve said, and most of the time when they tell me something deep that I shared with them, I have no memory of the conversation. When my mother...


50: Not All the Most Important Lessons Come from Struggle

I talk a lot about the lessons I’ve learned through struggle, I call them “opportunities for growth”, and many people believe the most important lessons in life are those learned during difficult times. I learn a lot about my strength, resilience, and courage through those obstacles and grief; I also learn a lot about myself, my relationships, and the world around me through happy experiences. My sister and I decided to take a road trip in the last week I was in Colorado before moving to...


49: True Leaders Know They Always Have Something to Learn

Just like many bosses before him, Rich Gassen was offered a management position without having ever been a manager, and without any training. Fortunate for his employees, he knew what he didn’t know, and took it upon himself to find the resources he needed to learn to do his job and do it well. In my experience, the worst managers are the ones who think they have nothing to learn, and who don’t see themselves as their employees see them. Many take on the management style of someone they...


48: When Your Heart is In It, You Bring Great Value

Going into the resume and job search business, John Sattler underestimated the impact he could have on the lives of others. His interest in starting this business had more to do with using the knowledge and skills he had developed as a recruiter to make his income, and less to do with the “why” behind it. His “ah ha” moments came when he opened his mind and heart to really get to know a few of his clients. John realized that each client had a completely different and interesting story to...


47: Help Appears When You Least Expect It

When he was struggling in a job that a was a terrible fit, Robert Downs suddenly developed a craving for a burrito - in a city more than 8 hours drive away. He arrived in the city where he had lived before, connected with a couple of friends, ate a burrito, and then drove back. It took time for him to process the why behind his spontaneous craving, and a few other examples of that kind of behavior, for him to realize he was sinking. He was driving a new, fancy car, living in a beautiful...


46: Disruption Through Distraction: Adventures in Fighting Boredom

Tara Bradford had everything going for her business, and the majority of her clients came directly from the video marketing she had been doing for a year. Suddenly, she decided to stop doing the videos. She was bored. And instead of finding ways to change her videos, and exploring other options in addition to the successful video activity, she. Just. Stopped. This is just one example we spoke about in terms of the choices we’ve made out of boredom and being too comfortable, that ended up...


45: Government is Beautiful? It Can Be.

For a serial entrepreneur to develop a love for government seems counter-intuitive and a ridiculous contradiction, but Jonathon Ende did exactly that. After a few years of focusing his online forms product development and sales on small businesses, he had an enlightening conversation with a government employee who was as enthusiastic as Jonathon was about the potential use of the product. It was the conversation with this public sector employee that clarified the direction SeamlessDocs...


44: Our Culture, and How It Colors Our Communication

We know innately that when we find things in common with each other, we forge deeper connections, but how do we do that with intention and true curiosity? And how do we make this the first part of communication, the priority, so our discussions don’t immediately devolve into defensiveness and hostility?


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...