Category Archives: Work + Career

Why are stories so important?

The world is overcrowded with information.

We’re wired to tell stories because it’s how we make sense of the world around us. Stories let us distill large, complex ideas and important messages into sticky, memorable pieces that we can carry forward with us in our minds. In the absence of a person or a phenomenon, we tell a story about what we saw and who we met.

Telling the right story about you and your business can be a big challenge–online, in person, or through social media. How do you decide what story to tell? And how do you know it’s the right one?

A story is what you take with you. We don't keep lists and facts and essays in our minds; rather, we carry relationships, connections, and (sometimes false) ideas about correlation and causation.

A story is how we understand the world.

We’re wired to consolidate complex information into pieces we can carry—like little suitcases for the brain.

The test of a great story is what people remember about you when you stop talking. Listen for what people say about you (or your company) after you’ve left.

If you have the chance, listen to how people introduce you; it’s an inside look into how people remember you and your business. Just like ideas, viruses, and people–stories have lives, and how far they spread relates to how sticky they are. The life of a story spreads when the story is good.

In general, this means that simple stories are better — the gift of a story is not capturing every single moment, although detail is important — it's in giving the listener something that they can enjoy and remember.

What stories are you telling — or what stories are being told about you and your business?


Doors are now open for the summer session of the Writer's Workshop, now open for early registration! Join us for a six-week program designed to kickstart your writing habit—and discover secrets of storytelling, narrative form, and powerful writing. Early registration closes May 25th and classes start June 30th.

 

 

Want to stand out?

In a recent conversation with Daniel Epstein (founder of the Unreasonable Institute and more recently Unreasonable Media), we started talking about what people do to stand out. And we agreed–it’s not that complicated: Ask for what you want. Follow up on that ask. And then follow through. In the following example, all of my numbers are made up. But let’s play with aContinue Reading

How do you combat loneliness? A brand new talk at ALIVE in Berlin + an epic scholarship opportunity worth $400.

How do you deal with loneliness? The problem with my first job wasn’t the job itself—it was how few people I knew at the company. In most structures throughout my life—family, school, college, sports—we bonded as teammates and community members because of shared goals, ideas, and dreams. Yet at work, I barely had friends. PerhapsContinue Reading

Only 9 more spaces left in the ‘Content Strategy’ workshop!

Curious about the next workshop coming up, the Content Strategy for Thought Leaders course? We’ve only got a few spaces left and early bird pricing ends tomorrow, February 1, at the end of the day.  Why is writing such a challenge? Writing clearly can be a challenge. In particular, people struggle with writing about themselves, creatingContinue Reading

Your life is a set of made-up habits.

Your life is a set of made-up habits. You learned how to behave by doing something, and then repeating it hundreds, if not hundreds of thousands of times until it became normal for you. When talking to one of my yoga instructors the other day, he said: “Want to change your personality? Just do somethingContinue Reading

Making money as a creative entrepreneur: how I make money, where I spend my time, and what I’ve learned from launching my own ventures.

When I was four weeks old, my mother and father took our then-family-of-four from Germany to Idaho Falls, little baby and tiny toddler in tow. We were standing around in the living room, as my mother recalls (to be be fair, I can’t recall and I certainly wasn’t standing—more likely drooling), talking about the insaneContinue Reading

10 reasons you don’t want to miss this class. (It’s the LAST DAY to sign up).

Heads up: today is the LAST DAY to register for the Writing Workshop. It is also the LAST DAY to save $200 by registering for both the Writing Workshop AND the Content Strategy course. Join us now. Still need a reason? Here are a few:  10 reasons to sign up for the Winter Writer’s Workshop: 1: You’reContinue Reading

What’s one big thing you can do to improve your business and your life?

“Writing doesn’t just communicate ideas; it generates them. If you’re bad at writing and don’t like to do it, you’ll miss out on most of the ideas writing would have generated.” -Paul Graham Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired magazine, wrote that “the new economy is about communication, deep and wide… Communication is the foundation of society, ofContinue Reading

Are you itching and ready for change? So many beautiful ways to start the new year. Here are a few programs and classes I love.

I have a confession to make. I signed up for three courses this January, and I’ve got so many notebooks and pens and pencils out that I’m doing geeky little dances around my apartment, although my apartment keeps getting messier and messier. Magazines, scissors, glue, crafts? Check. Class on financial awareness and making money as aContinue Reading

Huzzah! Crazy discounts! January and February writing workshops, early-bird discounts, and double registration bonuses. It all starts… NOW.

What’s the best thing you can do for yourself and your business? Use your voice. Write your words. Tell your story. Say what needs to be said. Lead us to your ideas. Write powerfully. Pssst… we’re waiting for you to join us. TWO writing courses open this January and February: This Winter, I’m teaching two courses:Continue Reading