Archive for the ‘Legacy of Friends’ Stories’ Category

Legacy of Geneva Anderson 1: GET YOUR STORY STRAIGHT

September 30, 2018

(Note: Geneva Anderson was a friend who came to being a public speaking coach late in life. I have blogged about her previously–see May 30, 2018 and LEGACY 15 posts. She won the SC statewide Toastmasters’ competitions twice, once in the mid 2000’s and again the mid 2010’s. She died just before Christmas 2017. This is the written version of one of her hallmark speeches. You can see some of her videos and read her story and other speeches on her blog, http://www.GenevaAnderson.org.)

We all have a story. When we meet someone new and are asked to tell something about ourselves, we offer up a version of our lives, usually where we were born and the family we were raised in, and a run-down of our interests, pursuits, education, vocation, and marital status. In a business context, we do pretty much the same thing. We come to a networking event and the conversation goes something like this: “Hello, I’m Joe Blow with Lucky Leaf Lawn Care. And you are?” If you are the one Joe Blow has approached, and if you are like many people at networking events, your “tang gets tonguled over your eye teeth and you cannot see what you are saying”!

How many of you identify with that? I am a member of BNI, a business networking group. There is a builder in our chapter who is an excellent builder. His work and craftsmanship are outstanding. His name is Bob and we call him “Bob the Builder!” Bob played football for Georgia Tech. He has a tall, athletic build and carries himself well. He is the picture of confidence. Yet Bob once confessed that he starts tensing up as he is driving from his home in Anderson and does not relax until he walks out of that meeting every Wednesday!

At BNI every week every member of the group stands up to deliver a 60-second “elevator speech.” I know Bob well, and he is a quality builder; but because his presentations are not well thought out ahead of time, he often gets dinged for exceeding the time limit and has to stop before he finishes his points. From this, you might not be convinced that Bob is truly a good builder.

Many of you here today could easily identify with Bob. You are really good at what you do, but most people would never know it — or they don’t know it as well as they could know it — because you lack the speaking skills to accurately articulate your story.

We all know light travels faster than sound. Many people appear very bright until they open their mouths! If you are a business owner trying to solidify your “brand” in the minds of your customers, clients or potentials, you need to be able to skillfully deliver your story.

According to Bo Eason, NFL football player turned life coach and speaker, “Today’s success is built on relationship, authenticity, & deep personal connection.” He further states that many of us think we have everything we need, but the one thing we’re all lacking is deep personal connection.
The people we fall in love with are the ones whose heart is hanging out there. Their ability to show courage and vulnerability builds immediate intimacy and trust. Imagine how having the ability to build immediate intimacy and trust could affect your business life…

Think back to the lowest moment in your life — when you looked around and there were no answers — the story you feel shame or embarrassment about, the story you do not want to tell. In that moment you either said, “Hey, I am going to fight; I am going to stay in here.” Or you quit. Those are the only two choices. That’s what we are all looking for; those turning points in life that define who you are. When you have the ability to tell that story, people will connect with you. They will trust you.

If you want to be successful in anything, you need to master the narrative of your life. All of your leadership and moneymaking ability rests in that narrative, because that is how people will connect to you. We are all looking for other human beings to connect with, and stories do that.

In Rolf Jensen’s book THE DREAM SOCIETY, he predicts that the highest-paid person in the first half of this century will be the ‘storyteller’ because he will be valued for his or her ability to produce ‘dreams’ for public consumption.

Let’s take a look at some legendary brands that are producing dreams by delivering a compelling story.

Laurence Vincent. in his insightful book LEGENDARY BRANDS: UNLEASHING THE POWER OF STORYTELLING TO CREATE A WINNING MARKET STRATEGY, says that effective advertisers draw consumers in with a story. By design, legendary brands such as Starbucks, Apple and Harley-Davidson develop narratives that forge deep bonds with consumers. You won’t see a Harley-Davidson loyalist on a Honda Gold Wing. His allegiance to Harley-

Davidson is rooted in emotion, identity, and personal philosophy. To a Harley man, his bike is not a product. It’s his road buddy, his best friend. The Harley brand has reached and maintains legendary status by using a library of narratives, creating timeless myths that captivate and hold the loyalty of its consumers. In the marketplace, a loyal consumer trumps a merely satisfied customer. (A loyal consumer is one who would rather fight than switch!)

So, how can you take your life, your achievements and failures and build a story that connects to the hearts of your audience?

It’s hard to do it on your own. You can start with coaching and getting some training to help you overcome your basic fear of public speaking. You can join Toastmasters and have a mutually supportive environment, a laboratory in which you can test the waters, fail forward, and learn to tell your story.

Storytelling is power! You unleash that power when you get your story straight.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

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“Deadly Poison (Ivy) Will Not Hurt Them At All”

June 30, 2018

(Bill Campbell, whose story this is, is 79. He has been my pastor for the past 21 years. The Holy Spirit has prompted him to write a book titled THE GOD OF PROMISES, which he is in the process of submitting for publication. This testimony of his healing from poison ivy is excerpted from the latest revision with his permission. If you’re interested in reading the entire book, let me know below.)

When we pray, the Spirit will illuminate any Scripture he desires in answer to our prayer. And, we believe that he will help us when we believe his words. For example: recently I was spraying weed killer on some poison ivy growing down the hillside behind our home. I saw some growing behind a large maple tree, and I had to stoop down and spray under the tree to reach it. A branch of the tree was in my way and I pushed it out of the way with my shoulder to spray back under the tree. While I was spraying the branch popped loose and was rubbing against the side of my face. When I looked at it I realized that the poison ivy had grown up the tree and out onto that branch and it was the poison ivy I was pushing out of my way with my arm, shoulder and the side of my face.

I have been very sensitive to poison ivy in the past and get seriously bad rashes and blisters. Not long after getting back to the house and washing up, the left side of my face and my left shoulder were already starting to get red and puffy.

I was praying, and I reminded the Lord: “You said that ‘by your wounds I am healed.’ This isn’t right – as your child I should be healed.” Then I heard in my mind, … when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all. I thought, “Lord, that is out of context.” I immediately heard again, … when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all. I was thinking this over silently, and I heard in my mind for the third time, … when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all.

I knew that the Holy Spirit has the right to take Scripture out of context and apply it to our circumstances even though we do not have that right without his specific guidance. So I said, “Lord, that is out of context, but if that is your word for me I receive it gladly, and I thank you.” That evening the rash got no worse, and the next morning the poison ivy rash was gone, healed. The Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is powerful and active.

LEGACY OF FRIENDS’S STORIES 1: Matthew’s Miracle

June 16, 2018

On Saturday evening May 26, 2018, our son, Matthew,

and I were praying prior to him saying goodnight. When we concluded, he put his arms around me and said, “My wallet slipped out somewhere. I hope that you can forgive me.” When I asked him when he had last remembered having it, he told me, “at the library book sale”–that was on May 6th! So I assured him that he didn’t need to apologize, that I was sorry that had happened to him, and we would buy him a new wallet. However, as he restlessly paced in his room, I realized that he was agitated and unhappy. I said goodnight to him and told him I would see him in the morning.

After I left his room, I began to pray, “Lord, where is Matthew’s wallet?” I believe that Jesus put the thought in my mind, “Check with the movie theater.” Well, he and his dad had been to a couple of movies in May, but this seemed unlikely. The following afternoon I detoured from our list of errands and stopped at the theatre. Matthew asked why we were there. I told him I wanted to ask if the cleaning people had found his wallet or if someone had turned one in.

I spoke with one of the managers, explained the situation, and was surprised when she admitted that a man’s wallet had been found. I also shared that Matthew had been at the theatre recently, but that he is autistic and doesn’t have a sense of timing. Thus, he may have lost it on May 24th or Friday two weeks prior. The manager began to ask questions to determine if I could identify the wallet, such as the colour, brand name, and contents. I knew there would be no ID card in the wallet, which complicated things. Eventually, after a number of questions, I was able to relay that there should be at least 2-$20 dollar bills in it, and pointed out that if Matthew could see the wallet, he would know whether or not it was his and would not say it was his if it wasn’t.  To reinforce that truth, I recounted that our son had recently found a wallet that was not his and had promptly returned the wallet to its owner.

As I called Matthew over to the office, the manager immediately recognized him and said, “He’s one of our regular customers.” She was holding the wallet in a way that we couldn’t see it and asked the names and times of the movies that Matthew had recently seen. I provided the requested information and she seemed satisfied. When she passed the wallet to Matthew, his whole countenance changed. He had been so upset and out-of-sorts. Instantly, he was smiling broadly as he shook the manager’s hand and thanked her for taking good care of his wallet and keeping it safe for him! The manager apologized that she had to ask so many questions, but she needed to make sure the wallet was going to its rightful owner. I thanked her profusely, pointing out that she had just made Matthew’s day!

Later, at the car, I said to Matthew that I had prayed to God about his lost wallet. I also told him that God put the idea in my mind to check at the movie theater. I said, “Isn’t it great that God helped them find your wallet and keep it safe for you, and did you say thank you to Him?” He agreed, and then he prayed, “God, thank you for keeping my wallet safe and getting it back to me. Amen.”

What a faith builder for both of us! Thank You, Jesus: This is the year of the favour of the Lord…” (Isaiah 61: 1-3)!  Hallelujah!

Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk

Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor)

THE LEGACY OF NOT FITTING THE MOLD: GARY M’S STORY

May 31, 2018

Not everyone fits the mold.

Gary M., my longest-standing friend, is a case in point. Gary is 66 (I’m 65, almost 66). I’m taking him to 2 doctor’s appointments tomorrow, so he’s on my mind.

We met in my 3rd year of college, in January of 1971 on a bus from Atlanta to Charlotte. I was headed back from Atlanta, Gary got on in Greenville SC, and we began to talk. Even though we’d been at college together (the college was another 100 miles past Charlotte), we’d never met there. Small world, but an even smaller bus. I offered Gary a ride from my house near Charlotte (I had a car, he didn’t) and he took me up on it.

A couple weeks later, he introduced me to my first wife Iris (whom I married 2 years after the intro, was married 25 years, and she died at the end of 1998—that’s in some other blogposts I’ve written). We lived in Columbia from 1978 to 1984, and Gary lived with us for a year while going to law school at USC-Columbia SC. He graduated and got his law degree (Gary had a great mind and loved thinking and talking theology, law, ethics—anything in those realms). He ended up not being able to make it as an attorney in spite of his brilliant mind, primarily because he loved the poor and downtrodden. He has ended up working at a number of jobs for non-profits and disabilities board-type institutions, at subsistence wages. He never married (though he had several women who wanted to) and cared for his mom in her feebler later years (she just died about 3 years ago). Ironically, one of the women who really wanted to marry him, had the same last name as his mom, whose name was Evelyn W,, and her name was Ellen W. Go figure.

Gary has a great heart also. He has wanted to foster and often ends up helping down-and-outs who end up being a drain on his patience and resources, and almost never meet Gary’s expectations in the relationship. Thus is life, at least Gary’s life. In the last few years, he’s had not only his mom but a number of other key people in his social network pass away. So he’s struggling. And busy as I am, I’m trying to fit more time and diligence into the relationship, just because.

I treasure Gary and his insights (even when I disagree). He is one of those people it’s hard not to like, even love. But it does take a lot of patience. Still overall, it’s worth it. You only get a few friends like that in a lifetime. He’s part of my legacy, and I want to honor him with that thought here.

THE LEGACY OF FRIENDS’ STORIES (Introduction)

May 30, 2018

Maybe it was because Monday (5/29/18) was Memorial Day. Maybe it was just because I was trying to figure out where to go after exhausting the 16 LEGACY blogposts I wrote 3-4 years ago and had made the commitment to try to post every day if possible. And maybe it was just because it was time.

In LEGACY 15 I had mentioned a story Geneva Anderson had told in her speeches as a coach and in Toastmasters competitions, called “Light the Pink Candle.” Then I read a story (on Facebook)of another friend about a miracle of faith in the life of her 21-year-old autistic son. So I emailed Geneva’s son (Geneva passed away last December) and messaged the friend on FB asking permission to share their stories on my blog. Both agreed. So when I get copies I’ll be posting them.

This is the introductory post for a folder I’ll call FRIENDS’ STORIES. With art, the sum of the works of all the great writers/musicians/artists in a generation is greater than an individual (think Elizabethan literature & Shakespeare/Romantic-era music & Beethoven/Impressionism & Monet or Manet). So the sphere of my legacy includes inspiring stories I’ve heard from and through friends and family, or even other sources as I go along.

This could well be a never-ending legacy.