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Chris Do

Storytelling is one of the fundamental ways humans connect. It’s how we learn, exchange ideas, and entertain ourselves. At its core, storytelling is communication. This episode comes from a live Twitter Space talk Chris Do, and Anneli Hansson hosted. The topic: how to tell your own story.

How to tell your story
How to tell your story

How to tell your story

Ep
187
May
04
With
Chris Do
Or Listen On:

Perfection is a boring fantasy.

Storytelling is one of the fundamental ways humans connect. It’s how we learn, exchange ideas, and entertain ourselves. At its core, storytelling is communication.

This episode comes from a live Twitter Space talk Chris Do, and Anneli Hansson hosted. The topic: how to tell your own story.

The conversation opens with how powerful good storytelling is. A well-crafted story is relatable and will draw you in, making the storyteller themselves inherently more interesting.

Storytelling plays a crucial role in the world of branding and marketing. How you present yourself, your business, and your work tell a story. Often, that story looks and sounds like many other people’s stories, which makes it challenging for you to stand out in a crowded market space.

The good news is that everyone has a unique story to tell. And by sharing it, you create a unique space for yourself. The challenge is learning how to be your true self and not the idealized version of you.

To quote Emma Coates22 Story Rules, “You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.”

If you struggle with standing out or think that your story isn’t interesting, this episode is for you. Chris shares several valuable tips and methods for finding and telling your own stories.

Hosted By
special guest
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edited by
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Episode Transcript

Chris:

Storytelling is one of the most fundamental ways that humans connect with each other. This is how we build faith, we build belief, and we're able to cooperate, and it's through stories and how we learn about the world. So it's the most natural way to connect to other people. And we've heard very famous people say something like, "If you want to know me, you must know my story," or Simon Sinek saying things like, "People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it." And the why is the story.
Good morning, good afternoon. And good evening, everybody. Welcome to today's topic here on Twitter Spaces. We're talking about storytelling, why it matters. And in a little bit, I'm going to have my friend Anneli Hansson introduce herself, but in case you're new and you don't know who I am. My name is Chris Do. I'm a Loud Introvert. In a former life, I was a graphic designer. I made commercials and music videos for a living. Now I'm trying to be a better teacher, and with that comes my desire to be a better storyteller.
I've set the intention for 2022 be the year that I improve my storytelling skills. I'm not saying that in the way that I think I suck at it, but I think there are levels to this game, and I'm ready to get to the next level. I've been doing some deep dives, looking at my own storytelling abilities and studying that of other master storytellers. And I hope to be sharing what I'm learning as I learn it with you in real-time. And that's the kind of context I have for today's conversation. And many of you out there as a creative entrepreneur, as an artist, as a designer, or whatever field that you're in, if you can practice the art of storytelling, which is really basically communication, you can have stronger relationships in your personal and your business life. And without further ado, Anneli Hansson, please introduce yourself and set the context for today's conversation.

Anneli:

Hi everyone. I'm Anneli Hansson, and I'm a brand strategist. I live in Sweden, and I spent over two decades working in branding and marketing. I had my own agency, and I also worked on the client-side as a chief brand officer and a chief marketing officer. And what I do know this last year actually I turned my focus, and now I teach brand strategy to creatives.
So I want to set the stage for today. And I actually want to do that by telling a short story. Two and a half years ago, I joined The Futur Pro group, which is Chris's coaching group. And we have those calls on Zoom, and I was in every call. But the thing was, I didn't say anything. I mean, I didn't say anything in three months. I was a wallflower. And I know that sounds weird. And I know you probably wonder why, but the thing was that I didn't want to speak English in front of people. I was so terrified doing that.
I remember that I really tried to avoid eye contact with Chris in the calls because I didn't want him to call on me, and I had so much anxiety, but I really, really wanted to be there, but every time someone wanted to talk to me, I had to use Google Translate, and that stress and that anxiety was really difficult to handle.
So it actually took me about eight months before I even started to open up and talk to people. And I think when I look back, it was actually about not... I didn't want to look stupid in front of people. I wanted to show people that I was a professional and I knew what I was talking about. So to create content coming to this topic for today, creating content for social media in English was not even an option for me.
But one day, Chris actually gave us a prompt to post a personal story on LinkedIn. I think it was on LinkedIn. And I remember this anxiety around this post, and I wrote it in Swedish, and I translated it. So it was a lot of resistance, a lot of fears, but I finally, I did it, and I posted, and this is just a year ago. And I had around, I remember on Instagram. I think I had around 700 followers.
So it's been a journey this year to really putting myself out there because I was actually used working with clients, helping my clients to look good. And now, out of a sudden, I was a brand myself, and it's really been ups and downs. And Chris have challenged me a lot this year, and I'm very grateful for that. But I think my biggest lesson is I'm still struggling every day.
But my lesson from this year, anyway, is like no one is perfect and no one even wants perfection, and everyone have their own struggles. I think all of you have, but we just kind of need to face that perfection and impose a monster and just start doing it. And that is what I have been doing. And I'm on this journey now. And I just feel it's time for me to level up, and I really want to be a better storyteller. So that's why we're here.
So I want to talk about why storytelling is important in social media and what makes a really good story, and how can we craft that? And I know Chris is really good at it, so that's why we're here.

Chris:

Okay. So to answer the broader question, in case you're yet not convinced that storytelling is a key to communication, forget about growing on social media, but it's a key to communication. If you think back to your earliest childhood memories, what is it that you did with your parent? Most often, if you have loving parents who spent time with you, it was probably curled up in bed at nighttime and with a really great book. And maybe the book started out mostly with pictures. Picture books are great because it doesn't require much of language skills to understand. And then those books eventually evolve to more words and less images. And perhaps you're like Kindra Hall, who shares this story in her book, stories that stick, and this is her career. She's a professional speaker storyteller. And she trains other people to tell their stories.
She said that her son, every single night, would say, "Mama, mama read me that book." And she would read that book night after night to children, for whatever reason, are okay with hearing the same story over and over. But maybe as the parent, as the storyteller, or the person reading the book, it becomes rather monotonous, just reading the same book over and over again. And so she tried it. She might to get her son to pick a different book, and he wouldn't agree. And then, one night, she tried something different, and she said, "Do you want to hear a story about how mama was a young girl and living on a farm?" And he goes, "Yes." And so she began to tell a story, and what we realize is that storytelling is one of the most fundamental ways that humans connect with each other.
This is how we build faith. We build belief, and we're able to cooperate, and it's through stories and how we learn about the world. So it's the most natural way to connect to other people. And we've heard very famous people say something like, "If you want to know me, you must know my story," or Simon Sinek saying things like, "People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it." And the why is the story.
If you read things from Marty Neumeier, he'll talk about this, that people no longer buy products. They join tribes. What does it say about me when I buy this product or service, and we're searching for identity. And so when companies, and you can look at yourself as a company of one when you fail to tell that story, you become undifferentiated in the marketplace, you just compete on services, the "quality of work" but you'll soon realize something.
If you're a designer, if you're a web developer, if you are a content creator of any kind, why is it that some people are drawn more towards someone else who you might say, arguably or objectively speaking, their quality of work isn't as good as someone else's? We all know someone who is an immense talent. They're great at their craft, but their business is not reflective of the quality of their work. And then you dig in a little deeper. You try to find more about them on social media, and you look for interviews or articles or any kind of posts, and you can't find anything. And then we have to step back and say, "Well, why is that?"
So success, in my opinion, is not just the quality of the work that you do, but the story that travels with that. My business coach, many years ago, told me, "You need to learn to tell stories that are repeatable." A repeatable story doesn't require instructions and is easily shared with other people. So there are a couple of things that you need to do. But before I tell you that, I'm going to take a pause because I really want to engage with Anneli and have that dialogue with her. So Anneli, where do you want to steer this conversation?

Anneli:

No, I think before we go into the, how, how to do, I think it's kind of interesting to hear a little bit about how we both get started as well because I think there's something to share about that. And I think people can be interested also to hear your experience of it. And maybe even a few things that I learned, and then we can go in more practical to how to really do it because I have a lot of questions, things I struggle with, and I don't think I'm alone. I think more people than me actually struggle with telling these stories.
But I really wanted to ask you first, Chris, like when you started out because you and I have been following each other for a while, doing this, telling stories on social media, what did you feel was your like mental roadblocks when you started to share stories? Can you tell a little bit about that background? So people get a sense of because we all struggle. Right?

Chris:

Yes. I think for me, there's several things I'm trying to grapple with and some things I've done better at, and some things I'm still working through. It's all a work in progress, as they say. One of my things is growing up is being a very shy, introverted person. My general modus operandi was just to be quiet, to be invisible because by drawing attention to myself, I felt very nervous, and I could feel myself getting sweaty underneath my armpits under my forehead. I'm going to break on the sweat. So every time the teacher would call on my name in class, I would just sit up straight and be stiff and like, "Uh oh okay. Think, think, say something so that people don't laugh at you and so that they can quickly move on." And I remember from the earliest time when we were doing reading together in school. I could see like, "Okay, in four people, it's going to be me." And then three, and my heart was elevating. I was having that shortness of breath.
So my natural default state is not to want to talk or to have anyone even hear or see me. That was my default. And so I'm combating that. And then I'm a professional. I run a company, and I think now that I'm a professional, it should just be about the work. I can talk about the work, and I want it just to be about the work and not about me because who wants to hear from me anyway? And in the early days of social media, when we were sharing things, we would just show our projects, and we would talk about client challenges, solutions, insights, and things like that, but no story and no personality, and those posts perform as you would expect, they did okay.
It wasn't until I actually started this other company called The Futur that I felt free to write as myself, mostly because it was a company of one. I didn't even use we because there was no we. It was just me. And for some reason, I felt really liberated just to write as myself. And many of you go through this. You have a company, and then is your POV. And I'm going to tell you what I went through on a psychological level. And maybe some of it will resonate with you. And you're like, "Yeah." And that was me too.
When you write as yourself, you think, "Okay, I'm not worried about sharing my point of view because what's the point of writing from my point of view if I can't say something," whereas when you write as a business, you're afraid to alienate your clients or you're afraid to take a stance on something, because we know as soon as you have a position, you're for something that means by default, you're against everything that's not this thing. That's the consequence of having an opinion. And if you run a business, you think, "Well, I'm not the singular voice of this company. There are others. So who am I to write in my voice when it doesn't represent everyone's voice? It's a diverse company. There's men and women. There's young people, and there's older people. So how do we write like that?"
So what happens is you start to kind of build a weird composite of everyone's feelings, and it winds up not sounding like much. It's like milk toast. It's really boring. It's middle of the road. And you fall into this zone where I think Eric calls it, the zone of indifference. Eric Edmeades. It's like people just don't care. And the reaction is, so what?
So I work through this problem, and I start writing as myself and sharing my points of view. And I have lots of opinions, and to my surprise, people connect with that. I'm like, "Okay, I'm encouraged by this. Yeah, not everyone likes it of course." And you keep writing. You keep writing. And then I realized I thought, "I was a designer all my life, but maybe I'm a designer also enjoys writing to a degree," and I start doing that. But I'm also looking at this from a very pragmatic point of view, like who really wants to hear my personal story, like how I grew up, what it was like to be a middle child, et cetera. And I generally didn't talk about that unless someone asked me.
So I needed permission, I guess, from someone to say, "I'm interested in hearing more about that." So I just want to put that out there. I try my best to practice radical transparency. It's not that I'm hiding anything. I just thought people are not interested until they're interested. And when they are, I share those stories. Over to you, Anneli.

Anneli:

Yeah. We were really interested. And I remember, I think it was your story on winning your MA on LinkedIn. I think that was like one of the first times I saw you share, I think on LinkedIn as well. I mean, you shared on YouTube before, but the response was amazing. It was just so amazing to read about all your feelings and how you felt in the situation because I could totally relate to you. And I remember saying to you that, of course, people want to hear about you because you have a big audience, you have a lot of followers. We want to hear that story because we know that story triggers feelings, and we want to have that emotional connection, and that's how we connect with people.
But when it comes to me, I mean, I was like, "But I'm not famous. I don't have any followers. So who wants to hear my stories?" It's easy to see it in someone else, and I love to see people's stories, but then when you come to yourself, it's a totally different situation. So I know rational as a brand strategist that you need to separate yourself from others. Of course, that's how you build your brand. And then, when it comes to yourself, who would care? Why would I tell stories about myself? So I just started to tell very general stories that everyone else did.

Chris:

Okay. There's a couple of things. I think with the exception of celebrities like actual bonafide celebrities who are professional models or actors. I don't think we are ever really see ourselves as a celebrity. I remember one time, a couple of years ago, someone says, "Chris, you're a design celebrity." And that label felt really uncomfortable for me because that's not one I would use to describe myself. And sometimes, we do get stuck in looking at ourselves from our own PLV and not taking a step back and saying, "Well, how do people see me?"
When we talk about brand and branding, it's really about the impressions that you create on people. And I do believe this, and somebody might get upset at me, but you are not what you say you are. You are the collective response and impressions that you've built up over a number of people. And so you could say I'm kind, I'm generous, I'm giving. But if impression from the vast majority of people who know you from close up and far away, don't think that you might have to resolve that misalignment. And so you might come to know me, Anneli, and so here's the relationship that we have with lots of people.
Once you start creating content, people don't know about everything that's come up before. They only know you when you've hit a certain critical mass, or you are on their radar. And so now they know of you as a certain type of person. Of course, they haven't followed you along your entire journey.
So one mistake that we all make, speaking for myself, is that we don't want to "bore people" with rehashing old history. It's ancient at this point, but I've noticed people I know on a site, Gary Vaynerchuk, here. For many years I would watch his keynotes. And the first thing he does when he gets on stage is like, "Just by a show of hands. How many people know me? I've heard of me have seen something about me. Okay. Okay. I got some work to do." And he was like, "Well, I grew up in a communist country, Belarus and my parents immigrated to the United States," and he tells his story. He does this over and over and over again.
So as an audience member, I listen to this, and I'm following him at this point, and I'm watching his videos. I'm like, "Gary, I get it. You're from Belarus. You're an immigrant. And your dad started a wine business and you got involved in this. Can we move on to another story?" And what I was doing was I was judging him for doing what you're supposed to be doing, which is to get people caught up to speed about who you are and to tell a little bit of your origin story so that everything that you say afterwards has context and what we don't realize and I have learned this now many years into doing public speaking is people are cold. They're not cold, and they're cold to you and your story. And so you might want to start by sharing lessons, but they're still sitting here thinking, "Should I listen to you? Who are you? And why should I care?"
So it's important that you do tell this story. But unfortunately for me, I'm listening to this thinking, "Oh, this is too repetitive. So do I do?" I don't tell my origin story more than one time because I think, well if you wanted to know it, you would find it. And so that's the general impression that people have.
The story that Anneli is sharing, I want to share an insight with all of you is. I'm going through folder, and my folders have tons and tons of images and probably a hundred thousand plus images in them from the many years of documenting my personal life, my professional life. And we're going through this photo, and it's me holding an Emmy, and even the way I hold it, it's a little awkward. And a lot of times, what we do is we try to tell the story of our success because it paints a positive picture of us. We're like, "Oh, just throw back." What is that called? Humblebrag tag. And you talk about the victory. You talk about that, and that's compelling to some people.
But if you want to take it to the next level in your storytelling, you follow one of the 22 rules of storytelling from Pixar, the world's most successful film company ever. Creating multi-billion-dollar hits, hit after hit. So rule number one from Pixar's 22 rules of storytelling written by Emma Coats is the audience admires characters for trying more than for their successes.
We admire people and characters, whether it's fiction or nonfiction, for trying. It's the struggle that we connect with. The victory is nice, but if you want to 2, 3, 4, X, the amount of engagement that you get on social media, talk about the struggle. This is really important that you just tried real hard.
So I'm looking at this picture. I'm like, "What can I do? What can I say about this moment?" And there's a lot behind this. So what I do is I start to write this story about what it's really like for an introverted immigrant who's not really used to public speaking, what it's like to even win an award, probably the highest achievement, professional achievement in my life. And then I tell this story about what it was like for days and weeks leading into this ceremony. I was really scared. I was losing sleep, and you might be thinking yourself, why would you be scared?
The reason is they gave you a 30-second window to give a speech, an acceptance speech. And they send all these notes to you, guidance like 30 seconds, keep it short and pithy. Don't do something that everyone else does because you won't make the edit. Well, a matter of pressure of us feeling and, to add to this story, I remember talking to my business coach because if you win the award, you're allowed to bring one person with you. And I was thinking, "Oh man, and I'm talking to [Kia 00:22:20]. I'm like, Kia, who should I bring with me to this event?" I'm thinking of bringing my executive producer, and he pulls back in his chair like, "Chris, how often do you win an award like this? You bring your wife." I'm like, "Oh right, thanks for that quick check in." He's like, "She's probably like I got a dress she wants to put on and doesn't have an occasion for. This is that occasion, celebrate this moment and just right from your heart, figure it out."
So every night, I would work on a draft of this acceptance speech. It's only 30 seconds, you think to yourself, "Right, 30 seconds. How bad can it be?" And if you've ever done public speaking, the shorter the length of your story in an acceptance speech, the more it matters. And I go through every iteration is I want to thank mom, this is for all the refugees from Vietnam. You go through all these drafts. And every night, I change it in my mind, and I write a new draft in the morning. So you can imagine the amount of anxiety had going into this ceremony.
So I write about this, and I write about the time I'm sitting in this Kodak I think it was the Kodak theater at that time. I'm sitting there like just worrying, like when are they going to call me? And it takes me right back to like fourth grade. When is the teacher going to call me? Because I'm just dying. It's like my knees are knocking together. I'm shaking. I think I have to go to the bathroom, but I know I don't have to pee. And all these things are going on my mind. And I write about that. And that post, I think to this date, has become still my highest performing post on LinkedIn. It's one image, but there's a story behind that moment. Back over to you, Anneli.

Anneli:

I love that post, and it was super vulnerable. And I just wonder, do you think the response was like that because people were kind of surprised that you shared that kind of story?

Chris:

I think if we're just looking at it from an analytical point of view, there is the struggle, and it's a story behind the story, which is you can obviously see that I won an award. Somebody says, "Oh, I remember that time I won an award." You haven't told me anything new. And I think people also have a certain perception of people who have won awards or appear to be well known that they don't struggle with their lives that everything just falls in place for them.
So when you share something like that, it allows people to relate to you. We don't like perfect characters. We don't like people who don't have character flaws. And we can see this in celebrities who seem to have perfect lives. Like is Martha Stewart always put together? Does she love gardening and baking and crafts as much as she says she does? And there's this air of fakeness about it. And she could very well be truly authentically genuine in loving all these things. And we just think, "Hmm, maybe we're cynical." So when you start to show people the more human, the fallible sides, the sides that aren't so admirable, I think people say, "Okay, they're just being real with me." And we connect with those things. At least that's my theory.

Anneli:

Yeah. I really agree, but the thing is that I felt you with more followers and a more public person could do that. I had this anxiety around, like if people don't even know who I am and they don't believe in me yet, what if I start opening up and share stories that are really vulnerable and show sides of me that is not so charming and perfect. What would people say?
So my struggle was really difficult just to get out there and be visible. And then you challenged me and said like, "You're not the same person in private as you are in your posts." And I was like, "I know, I know that was true. It was just extremely, extremely difficult to open up and be so vulnerable and share things that was difficult to share."
But I did it once, and I got a good response from it, but I can feel that I kind of falling back. It's not that you learn, and then you know how to do it. It's that constant anxiety of being afraid of not looking good in front of people. I feel that all the time, how people will judge me if I really show how much I struggle with all things.
But I'm happy that you push me because I also see the response, and I can feel, by me sharing and being vulnerable and open, if I can help one more person to relate because I think a lot of us actually feel the same way. Even people who are successful, there's something about we all have those struggles with imposter syndrome or perfectionism and everything. And just by sharing, I think people feel a little bit less alone.

Greg Gunn:

Time for a quick, but we'll be right back.

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Greg Gunn:

Welcome back to our conversation.

Chris:

When I get to know someone, I often notice the difference between the private self and the public self, and people are, for whatever reason, they tend to open up to me in private, and then they go off on stage, and they say things I'm like, "Who is that person?" And I don't want to reveal names, but I can tell you about personality types.
So I have a friend he's an entrepreneur, and he's an experienced person. He's been involved in a lot of successful companies. In private, this is who he is. He's divorced. He struggles with getting his stuff together. He has financial challenges. He's not the most organized or disciplined person. And as soon as the lights, so to speak, come on, and he's got the microphone in his hand, he talks about his success about how he was employee number X from whatever big company. All of that vulnerability that realness goes away.
I would pull this person inside. I would say things to him like, "You know you're much more endearing when you are just vulnerable and real," and he would nod. And I was like I said, "Why do you pretend to have all your stuff together in public?" And I don't have an answer from him. So I'm like, "I don't understand it." And in that way, Anneli, I look at you and several of my other friends. And so I say friends, I really do mean that I'm not literally just talking about one person where they're vulnerable. They're funny. They make fat jokes. They say inappropriate things, and they're sometimes filled with jealousy, or they'll say I'm being irrational and stupid right now. But every time they jump on the stage, and I'm using the word stage very loosely here, when they're around other humans, something happens to them.
It's like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. And I know people for who they are. So I just try and give a lot of grace. And I'm not trying to push anyone to reveal themselves sooner than they are comfortable doing that. But I find that there's this weird dichotomy. This paradox exists. Your desire to be liked and to be well-received forces you to change who you are. So you're less liked and poorly received. Because here's the thing that I think,
I don't think I'm like Sherlock Holmes. I don't think I'm the world's smartest anything. And if I can see the real you versus the fake you, the public you, I think other people can see it too. And if they can see it, they're picking up on subtle shifts in language, in tonality, the phrasing, or the awkward pauses. And they feel that. And I think it's like, we're watching a movie when the main character isn't doing what they're supposed to be doing.
Like a couple gets into a fight, and we know the guy is pick-headed and he's stubborn. And we say like, "Just apologize, just admit that you're wrong." And instead, he turns his back, and he's about to say words, and there's this window of opportunity. And his lover looks at him, and she leaves, and we're sitting there just jumping out of our seat, just tell her you're wrong. Tell her you love her. Tell her you'll change. And he doesn't. And they are now not seen or heard from each other. And it's just a tragedy.
I think this is what's happening in real life, in a nonfiction way. When you're on stage, and you're talking about something, we feel it. We can see it. Just let it go. And so the words you just use is like, I don't want to talk about the things that are less charming about me, and creating that barrier is also the barrier to allow people to enter you, your story, and to really connect with you in deep and meaningful ways.
So here's the thing. I would rather have fewer people be connected to me, forget about liking me for myself than for more people who feel connected to me for not being myself. It's a dangerous trap to build. And we see this a lot, actually, especially because of all the social platforms.
People change their appearance. They use visual filters. They only point the camera at the nice parts of their lives only when things are going well. And then when you meet them in person, their hair's a little different, their skin is not as clear. And they're now super self-conscious because they know this public persona that they've been presenting to the world isn't real. I'm always shocked sometimes when people that I know and see on YouTube when I hear speak in public, they are not put together at all. What have they done?
They've done crazy amounts of editing, stringing together fragments of sentences to make themselves sound cohesive. And they're just terrible. So it's like we're kind of curating and Photoshopping ourselves to death that now we can't even be comfortable with who we are. And so, I think it's dangerous to create a persona for people to fall in love with. That's not you. You'll just have to pretend for the rest of your life. And I think that's just a such a draining thing.
So what I encourage all of you to do is let down your guard. Stop trying to be perfect. Perfect does not exist. It's a fantasy. Perfect is boring. Perfect is uninteresting and unrelatable. I don't connect to perfection. I'm going to go back to that Pixar rule. The audience admires characters for trying more than for their success. Back over to you, Anneli.

Anneli:

I do think that for me right now, I'm starting to really opening up and to share things and to share things in post, I have a lot of things to work on still, but still, I try, I really try to do it. And when I see the result of, it's so interesting. When I'm super, super personal, and I share stories, those posts and also post even if I talk brand strategy, but I kind of tell a story. I try to tell a story, even if it's not super good. That is the post that been absolutely most engagement. I don't talk so much about the likes, but the likes and the saves and the engagement kind, everything follows to each other, but I can see that people care and people comment, and they connect.
So it's kind of clear. We have the evidence that this is the way it is. It's just that it's difficult. And I think you always seem to have really good self-confidence. And I can just feel like some days it feels so natural to do this, to tell those stories and to share mistakes instead of wins.
But other days, it's just so difficult because you know that imposed syndrome shows up, and you hear other people, and you see other people. And I just feel like coming back to that, "Is my English good in enough? Can people understand me?" I haven't been teaching for so long. Even if I have a lot of experience, I'm so new in teaching. I don't have an academic background, so much impulsive that can show up and that messes with you, and then you start to write a post about that you want to prove yourself again, and you can really tell me that I do that sometimes. And I'm happy that you do it, and you call me out because then I need to just a little bit and be more honest again.
But I think for me, it's a constant struggle, and I think it comes back to that I feel like I have to prove myself, and I want to be open and talk about it because I don't think I'm alone. And I don't feel like I need to prove anything. It's just that that's the way it is. And I struggle with it every day, but the only way I can get better is to talk about it and being honest and tell people that, yeah, sometimes I'm super insecure and I'm jealous sometimes, and I look at other people and I think they're awesome and I can't live up to that, but it's just being human. And that's what I try to share.
So I want to learn how to write stories that it's not just about that but also connected to what I can actually do and share. So the connection between kind of teaching, but also do it in by telling a story. I think that is my next big challenge.

Chris:

Okay. There's something that you've reminded me about in talking about that. And it's this idea of that the opinions of other people matter. I'm going to say this, and I just jotted this down. I hope it comes across right. Self-acceptance is the most beautiful makeup you've can wear. I'll say that one more time. Self-acceptance is the most beautiful makeup you can wear.
Somewhere along my life, I've learned to accept myself for the things that I think I'm great at and also to love the parts that I think, "Yeah, that's me, and I can't really change that." Sometimes I can be impulsive, and sometimes I can have an addictive personality type, and sometimes I can be really hard, hard on myself and hard on others in the way that I speak very directly and rather than try to change that and to apologize for that, I'm just going to say, that's my brand. I'm not really that interested in changing myself to please a couple of people. And if 50% of the audience doesn't like me because I'm speaking my truth and who I am. And I'm saying as the way that I want to say it, fine, someone else out there is the right person for you. It's not me, but I'm not going to spend my time trying to become someone for you.
I've spent probably three and a half, four years of my life, trying to be someone that I wasn't. People get to know me, and they've nicknamed me in some circles as a charming razor blade. And I know exactly what that means. And when I told my wife like, "Look at the names that they're giving me," and she laughs so hard, she goes, "The Internet's so smart. They're so clever. They know you so well, don't they?" Then they do. And I will say direct things.
Like our friend, the other night, as we're talking between Mo and I, as coaching him live on Twitter Spaces. Our friend Lola is like, "Chris, you are an absolute savage. I'll add that to my description of titles." I'm okay with that. So I don't hold back on writing something because I'm afraid of people's opinions. I hold back because I keep asking myself, "Is this really interesting to anybody? Am I contributing in any meaningful way? Or am I just being like self-centered and just talking about myself for no purpose?"
So this calls into this big idea, which is what is your intention of sharing something, and is it to prop yourself up to make you look good? Like you're more charitable, you're more honorable. You're more giving than you are. Then if that's your agenda, just do yourself and everyone a favor. And don't create that piece of content.
But if you're writing something because it touches your heart, your soul, and you have to express yourself this way, do that. Don't worry so much about the agenda. So I'm going to say the first step in telling your story is, forget about the lesson, forget about the whole point of it all. Just practice the art of being yourself. And I think we have to just let go of this thing about what people's opinions do to us.
When you said, "Well, you're famous," I don't look at it like that. I'm still the same guy who's trying to awkwardly move my way through the world and not get picked on. I'm still that person. I've developed certain skills, and I've learned to love myself. I jokingly refer to this as I'm a self-aware caterpillar. I'm kind of ugly now, but I know my potential, and I'm okay with that. And if you don't see that potential, I'm good with that because I'm not trying to be all things to all people.
So Anneli, if you could just embrace this idea, like who gives an F who gives an F like I'm not trying to be liked. I'm not trying to get you to think that I'm a professional fill-in-the-blank. I'm not trying to show you I've got all my stuff together. I'm just a human being, and I'm working through this, and I'm navigating this world the best way that I can, given my circumstances. And you might not win everybody, but you'll make some really solid connections. And I think that's all that really matters, back over to you.

Anneli:

Yeah. You know what? I wish I feel the same way, but I do feel for everyday, it gets a little bit easier, actually. And I think it's a journey because, first of all, it's been a struggle with the language. It feels a lot better right now. I don't have to write down things. I can actually just speak, but I can so feel people that I not have English as their first native language. It is a little bit more difficult. So that's been a real struggle.
But when I don't think about that, I think it's also more about... I love that you said that check-in with what's your intention, why you want to do something, why you want to post because sometimes I think we make it a little bit more difficult, or I make it a little bit more difficult than it has to be.
I put a lot of pressure on myself that all post needs to be so interesting, and I need to teach... I want to teach people something really relevant. And those stories about me or my founder story, where I come from, doesn't seem so relevant. But you really on them... I think it's just getting out there, start. Start doing it, start posting and see what happens. And I share a lot of things right now. I mean, I tell people how messy I am, how my ADHD, how difficult it is with some things to do just kind of be me in my everyday life. And I don't feel shame about that. I think it's more about do it often and then also kind of find a structure, and maybe we could go over, talk a little bit more about the, how to do it because I think now I talked a lot about the mindset.
So when you're over that, maybe we'll never get over it, but at least ready to start posting more often. It feels like I need a little bit more of a framework how to do it. So I mean, for example, like how do you decide about what stories is to share first of all and for what different platforms? Is it okay if we go over talk a little bit more about the how?

Chris:

A couple of different things about stories: you need to tell a personal story that is filled with conflict. This is what makes stories interesting. Robert McKee, the story expert, says, "No conflict, no story." You have to have conflict. Great storytellers, whether you're doing it on an audio platform or you're doing written form or any other form, it's about creating tension and releasing tension. We need to know what happens next.
So if there's no tension, there's no struggle. And we already know how it turns out. We're not really compelled to keep reading or listening or watching. So you need to tell a personal story. So the personal part is something you've seen, something you've witnessed. We see a lot on social media people sharing other people's stories. That's totally okay. We see people reading books and then parroting what they read in the books, that's okay as well. I do that.
But if you want to achieve the next level of success when it comes to storytelling, and you want to build your personal brand, and you want people to connect with you and not just the things you say, it has to be a personal story, something you've witnessed yourself. It needs to have sensory detail to describe the world.
So we lose ourselves, and we forget that we're sitting in a chair or lying in a bed. We're immersed in your world. It needs to be rich in dialogue. This is probably the number one failure. And the thing that I want to work on myself more. You notice when I tell you a true love story, there's two characters, and you hear the words, you create the visual in your mind. So when you're telling a story, don't forget the dialogue part. If you want to, as a performer and storytelling is performance too, is you can change your voice. You can change the pitch. You can even change the words you use. So we understand that's character A, and that's character B. You can adopt different accents if you're that talented.
You are the hero in your story, but you shouldn't be the hero who has all the answers. You need to be the reluctant hero, the immature hero, the hero with lots of character flaws and conflict because, remember, people admire characters more for trying than for their success. If your story can elicit an emotional response from the audience, you're doing something really good.
So I've made it a point when I do public speaking, when appropriate, I want the audience to cry. In a former life, I was a very emotional person, but I've somehow moved towards the Vulcan way and so much more logical rational. But I know how to tell stories, to get people to tear up. There are usually stories around my kids, around the struggles because people so identify and connect with that pain. And if there's a sweet or bittersweet ending to it, even better. And I have some examples I can share with people. And I've been writing down lots and lots of notes from a bunch of different sources, and I'll go over some of them right now.
You all need to create a story journal, and whether it's analog or digital, that's up to you. And the story journal should be a collection of your memories. And the more that you try to remember and write, the more memories will be unlocked, and you'll shock yourself as to what you can remember.
So if you quickly tap into the emotional stories and we're lucky because it tends to be that we only remember stories that are emotional. I was listening to Eric Edmeades talk on this on how to master public speaking. He says that basically, if you feel something, that's the beginning of your story and that when you have an uneventful day where there are not a lot of emotions, you probably don't remember it. It goes by in a blur.
He also argues that if you have too much emotion, it can be considered PTSD. Like when you have too many strong emotions, you witness a really bad car accident, or you are witnessing some kind of violence that shocks our system. And those are memories we cannot forget. So emotions are a good place to begin. So you don't want to shut yourself off to those.
So I'll share some of the things I got from watching a couple of his lectures on this. I consider him a master storyteller. He says, "Start off with a title. The title's a great place because it sums up the whole story." And he shares the story about how he flew to Fiji to give a talk with Tony Robbins. And it was supposed to be introduced by a Chinese person. And so it was translated into Chinese, and then Tony Robbins decided to do the introduction himself. So its translated back from Chinese into English, and there was something that was lost in translation.
That turns out to be the title for his story journal, Lost in Translation. And then he says, "Write out the bullet points. Don't write at the story, just the bullet points, date, time, place, any kind of key details." And those are important because they help to ground the story.
So specific details, just bullet point them out and then figure out what is the shortest, most economical way you can tell the story and how long it would take you to tell it and then figure out what the longest version of story is with multiple lessons, where you illustrate things, and you act out more parts, and then you want to write that down.
The last thing is to include tags. Tags are like keywords, meta tags, something like that. And they're just one word, things that attached to the story. So we have the title, we know how long it's going to take us, the shortest amount in which we can tell the story. We now have jotted down the bullet points. It was third grade. My teacher was Mr. Tuttle. You have all those details. Becky sat next to me. You remember the sweater. You just write those things down. The tags are, this is a good opener. This is a good closer. This is a redemption story. This is a stranger in town story, whatever it is. So you can do that. And as you build up your story journal, and when you're on stage, when you're in a live Q&A session, you'll be able to recall them like that because you can just remember the tags.
So that's a little bit of the structure. So I highly encourage you to start developing your story journal. There's a couple of things that you can do to get started. Some prompts. This is from Kindra Hall and her book Stories That Stick. She talks about nouns people, place, things. So I'll start with people. And like I said before, you only remember the people who have touched your lives, who have had an emotional thing, positive or negative. And so the first thing you do is just write down all their names.
I also like to start with teachers because within teachers is a natural lesson. It makes the story easier to find. Your best friend. You can write about your parent. And some prompts I give is in what way are you like your mom? In what way are you different? And then you replace that with dad. In what way are you like your father? In what way are you different? You can think about your birth order. Are you the middle child like I am? Are you the oldest? Are you the only child? And what does that say about you? And do you fit into the stereotypes of people that are only children? Why and why not? So that's the people.
Then there are the places, the places you've lived. Start there. So literally the homes in which you've lived, write down the address, write down how long you lived there, bullet point the house like it was a single-story, this house and you lived on the corner of X, Y, Z, and then it'll start to unlock all these memories about the house. So that's place. But you can also write about the places you've traveled to. Just travel there in your mind now. So writing about that, just make a list for now.
Then you can talk about things. So people place things and things, if you look around the house and you imagine that there's a fire, and some of you don't have to imagine because we're having a lot of fires these days, what would you grab? What would you save and why? So naturally, you're going to probably going to grab things like your passport, your birth certificates, social security card, any kind of bank information. Those don't have any emotional memory. They're utilitarian.
But the next thing that you grab will tell you a lot about what you value. Most likely, it's going to be pictures, irreplaceable things, because those pictures are memories for you, but it could be some irrational, emotional, sentimental connection to an old teddy bear and the time that you had pneumonia. And that you were too old to wear pajamas to go to the hospital, but you did it because you felt like you wanted to be a baby and to be taken care of true story, by the way.
There might be a favorite pillow or a blankie. Start making a list of those things. And then you can visit the garage in your mind and say, "What objects here have meaning to me and what stories do they tell?" So the reason why we collect so many things is because we attach a memory to them. And so then we can unlock that memory. And now you'll start to feel like, "Oh my God, I have so many stories yet to tell." Now don't take it for granted that you'll remember it. Write it down. The act of writing will solidify your ability to recall it. In a moment, no one notice, it will be much, much easier. Those things help.
Last, I want to share with you story structure. It's really, really easy. I'll give you the simplest form, so it's easy to remember. So typically, story structure needs conflict and resolution. So Kindra Hall, back to Kindra Hall, start with the normal. Like, how does life look like right now? And then something comes to interrupt it. She refers it to it as the explosion, something changed, and then there's a new normal. So the normal, there's an explosion, and there's a new normal.
Now what happens is we don't have such an easy time finding the explosion. But if you start with the explosion, you'll figure out the normal and the new normal. And the explosion usually looks something like this. It's usually in the Hero's Journey, Joseph Campbell. There's a hero that lives in the normal ordinary world. And usually, there's a Herald who comes into the world to change things up. And the Herald has a call to action, a call to adventure. And almost always, when you look at every single movie and story that performs well, the hero is reluctant to go on the adventure. There's resistance. And so that's the clue.
If you look for the called adventure in your life, we're going to move to another town. You should go to this dance. You should do public speaking. You should try to climb this mountain or whatever it is. You try this new kind of food, there's resistance. And then there's you ultimately getting help by someone. Usually, the mentor appears and helps you to cross the threshold leaving the ordinary world to the new world. So look for them. Look for the mentor. Look for the call to action.
Remember, there was a call to action. You didn't want to do this. There was all kinds of resistance. You fought with that person. You fought with that idea. You were convinced this was never going to work. And someone somehow somewhere says something to you that is the lever for you to say, "Okay, all right, I'll do this thing." And once doing this thing, it changes your perception. It might even change your life. Thanks, everybody. I'm going to run. Thanks. Talk to you guys later.

Anneli:

Thank you.

Chris:

Bye. Take care.

Greg Gunn:

Thanks for joining us this time. If you haven't already, subscribe to our show on your favorite podcasting app and get a new insightful episode from us every week, The Futur Podcast is hosted by Chris Do and produced by me, Greg Gunn. Thank you to Anthony Barrow for editing and mixing this episode, and thank you to Adam Sandborn for our intro music.


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