What Stories Will You Hang On To?

My Dad, my brother and sister and I were attempting to get in the last few bales of hay before the rain. The damp bales weighed nearly as much as I did as a skinny 13-year old. I no longer had the strength to lift the bales and stack them on the hayrack. Attempting to solve the problem, my Dad asked me to drive the tractor while he took my place on the hayrack.

Within moments, I heard a scraping sound from the baler that left me confused and worried. There was a big rock that I failed to see which could have broken the spokes of the baler.

My Dad in his anger yelled, “You can never do anything right.” His sharp words left me wounded for years.

Years later I worked for a College President who believed in me. One day, he came up to me and said, “You can do anything you put your mind to.” I have never forgotten those words.

Because of my vulnerability, I allowed the critical and harsh words of my Dad affect me for a long time.

Then one day, I realized, my Dad and the College President were two significant male figures in my life. Each of them had shared a statement that had the power to shape my life. I could choose the message I wanted to receive. One would tear me down and keep me a victim; the other would empower me to go forward with my dreams.

Stories can build you up or tear you down. Tony Robbins says, “Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you.” You may not be able to choose your circumstances but you can choose how you respond to your circumstances. What stories will you hang on to?


Most Dangerous Trend Facing Speakers

Most speakers ask why things are not working like they use to. It used to be as long as you gave a motivational or inspirational talk your audience usually went home happy. However, this is no longer the case.

Zig Ziglar was often asked why motivation doesn’t last. His response was, “Bathing doesn’t either.” It is something you have to do daily.

Today, people are hurting too much to be content with some inspiration or motivation. They are looking for something that will meet a deeper need in their life.

So what does your audience want? Research tells us that we remember 7% of what we hear, 23% of what we see and 70% of what we experience. Above anything else your audience wants to experience you. Today, they can find information and facts on most topics just by goggling it on their computer but they cannot experience you unless they interact with you.

So, how can your audience experience you? There are a number of ways they can experience you, but the best way is through story. Consider, when is the last time you heard a speaker and walked away remembering a good story or a joke he or she told? Sometimes that is all you remember because it is the one thing that grabbed your attention.

The most dangerous trend facing speakers today is to continue to do things like we did before. People relate differently today than they did even five or ten years ago. If you want to connect with your audience, embrace and learn the skill of good storytelling.


Stories Give You Vision

Two men were laboring in a courtyard in Italy. They sat in the heat of the noonday sun drenched in sweat, chiseling blocks of marble.

One man’s face was downcast, shoulders bent, muscles strained and a priest walking through the courtyard stopped and said

“What are you doing, my son?”

Without looking up, he said, “I’m chipping stone.”

The priest turned to the other man, his shoulders too were bent, muscles strained but his face had a warm smile and his eyes were filled with joy and passion.

“What are you doing?” he said.

“I’m building a cathedral.” Author Unknown.

These two men were looking at exactly the same thing

One man was a stone chipper; the other was a cathedral builder.

One man was fulfilling a job,

The other man was fulfilling a calling to greatness.

The only difference was Vision.

Imagine you met two employers who were both hiring.

They were brothers, in fact, twin brothers.

They had the same background and the same education.

They were both starting a new company.

One had a vision for his new company.

One did not.

If you were offered a job with each of these potential employers, whom would you rather work for?

The man with a vision, right? That is the one I would choose.

Why? This man has a purpose, direction, and passion.

Stories ignite passion. They give us purpose and stimulate our creativity.

Stories give us a vision. What is your vision for 2017?


The #1 Question Every Woman Asks…

What do you think is the #1 question every woman asks? In fact, it is not only every woman but also every person asks the same question. It is Who Am I?

A toddler, as he explores the little world around him, checking out things within the home or backyard is seeking his identity. A junior-higher who wants to be sure his friends accept him asks who am I. A teen, going from childhood to adulthood, striving to find his identity, often in inappropriate ways, is asking who am I. It continues on through every stage of life.

Let me direct you to a story, often reserved for Christmas, but carries a powerful message all year round. It is a Biblical story taken from Luke 1:28-31.

When the Angel Gabriel approached Mary, the young teenager who became the mother of Jesus, his initial words were:

  1. Rejoice, highly favored one.
  2. The Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!
  3. Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God.

Before Gabriel even told her why he had come, before he gave Mary her assignment, he laid a strong foundation based on who she was. The message was clear and to the point. She was highly favored by God, she was not alone, and she had no need to fear. That was the extent of her training … and she would bear the Christ-child. What difference would it make in your life if you remembered who you are. Paula White sums it up well, If you know who you are on the inside, no one can mess with you on the outside.”


Your Story is Gold

I will never forget the day my coach challenged me with my story. She said, “I don’t know if you are ready to tell your story?” I said, “I believe I am.” She then proceeded to say, “Ok, on our next conference call, I want you to tell your whole story; the trauma, what you went through, the healing and where you are today, in 2 minutes or less.” I was unprepared for her last statement and only had a week to prepare. After reviewing all the notes I had on storytelling I had what I thought was a good story. After all, it would be on the phone so I could read what I had written. On our scheduled call, my coach asked if I was ready to present. I said, “yes”. She said, “Ok, close your computer and turn your paper over.” Shocked, I stumbled through my first line and she stopped me. She then proceeded to work with me the entire hour. It was a difficult hour but after I had a chance to catch my breath, I realized she helped me find the power of my story. It was just before Christmas and after a few days of processing this, I realized I had uncovered gold. My story was gold. I decided if my story could help other people I was willing to share it whenever an opportunity arose. It is the gift that keeps on giving. Every story is a goldmine. I hope you, too, find the gold in your story.


Ten Puzzling Strategies

Today, I thought I would share 10 insights I discovered as I set our 3,000 piece puzzle

  1. Ease – It began with ease as I organized the frame and put together the colorful birds.
  2. Clarity – I found a way to keep the pieces outside the frame of the puzzle which gave me clarity as I just focused on the animal or area I was working on. It reminded me of the importance to clear out the clutter.
  3. Focus – on just the area I was working on and things came together much more quickly.
  4. Perseverance – sometimes I would not find or get all the pieces right away, but as long as I persevered they eventually came together. I was reminded that I had been down the path of perseverance before and I, too, came to victory. I, too, would find victory on this path.
  5. Not right timing – WAIT, Because a previous piece wasn’t in, the one I was holding in my hand wouldn’t go in either.
  6. Listening – I listened to professional speakers who had persevered through some difficult challenges and are doing well. It was an encouragement to know that as I persevere things would also come together.
  7. Not as it appears – Just as in life, I discovered that things are often NOT as they appear. I found myself working through some new challenges.
  8. Accepted my uniqueness … I was filled with gratitude and recognized the uniqueness of my path and my calling.
  9. Perspective – when I focused on one area, that’s all I looked at, but as I stepped back the puzzle was like the world to me. I could impact any area.
  10. Almost there – When I was about ¾ of the way completed, I could see the end in sight. I had a renewed hope and encouragement seeing it come together.