Wakingstar Blog

Matching Story With Meaning

As you tell your story, a few people in the audience might have a question in their head that they’re not asking. The question is this: “Why are you telling me his?” Maybe they’re just excited to get the upshot. Or maybe they’re impatient, or even skeptical you’re taking them somewhere worth going. Don’t worry.…

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One Small (Lifelong) Lesson My Mom Taught Me

My mind was being blown. I was 23, graduated college, sold my first business, and had dedicated myself to traveling for as long as I could. New languages, new places, new people; every day seemed to be a new revelation. On a short stint home after returning home from Southeast Asia, I was staying with…

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Thoughts on the Shape of Stories

You may not have climbed K2 yesterday, or sold your company, or cured malaria. But well-told, your experiences make an impact on your audience. “The shape of the stories are what matters, and not their origins,” said Kurt Vonnegut in a lecture at Wittenberg University in 1982.   Drawing on the chalkboard, he wrote GF for…

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9 Reasons I’ll Be Looking for Stories in Marrakesh

Long ago, before I was a storyteller, I was, quite simply, a traveler. Instead of doing my work in board rooms and conference halls, the my theater was the road. I lived to travel, I worked to travel, and every day I sought to see the world and its gems. In earnest this lasted for a…

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How Good Stories Come From Bad Judgment (on Linkedin)

Nasrudin is known as much for his wisdom as his foolishness, and many are those who have sought out his teaching. One devotee tracked him down for many years before finding him in the marketplace sitting atop a pile of banana peels–no one knows why. “Oh great sage, Nasrudin,” said the eager student. “I must…

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15 Ready-Made Storytelling Techniques for Leaders

You can always find better ways to deliver your key insights to your audiences. And sometimes, our best techniques emerge at the least expected times. Recently at a party, I was taking with a friend who is a mom as well as a prominent psychologist. “Jay!” she said, “I’ve been working on my story skills!”…

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How Your Journey Forms Your Brand Story (On Linkedin)

While we spend our moments on social media, we spend our lunches, our dinners, and our deepest connections exploring something much older and much deeper: the original social media, the stories that live on in our hearts and minds. We experience stories not with our brains alone, but with our bodies. We touch, we feel,…

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How J.R. Ewing Won the Cold War, and What it Means Today

When I think of the upcoming Climate March, I can’t help but think of super hurricanes, frack pits and coal-fired power plants – all things that we want to deter. And I think about J.R. Ewing. After the fall of communism, Larry Hagman, who had played J.R. Ewing in the 1980’s global mega hit “Dallas,”…

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The Art of the Turnaround Story (Video)

A Turnaround Story is, a story about facing great challenges, and finding insights and power at the depth of difficulty. Through these insights, they were able to rise out of the challenge, to the other side, with new strength and a abilities to face the world. Key pieces of a Turnaround Story: 1. Things were…

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The Princess who Fell Down, an Everyday Fairy Tale

My sweet little girl looked up at me this morning in the kitchen. “Daddy,” she said, “Are you going to come tell a story at my school…for my birthday?” “Sure love! I’d be happy to.” “This time I’ll wear my ballet shoes,” she said, looking down at the floor. I realized she had now said…

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