Posts Tagged ‘trust’

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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Letter to Roby on Becoming the You You Were Meant to Be

January 18, 2013

(Below is the last part of an email I wrote to a friend this morning. What preceded the first comment was my explanation of an accomplishment I’ve done that he admired in his email to me…)

I don’t encourage people to do what I’ve done. You have to find what sparks your imagination and do that. You are a totally unique creation God designed specifically to be and do what you are called to be and do. As the old Mission Impossible statement says, “Your assignment, should you choose to accept it…” is to find out what that is, and do it excellently, just as you do your accounting. That is why you are unhappy with yourself–I know, I was there for the better part of 55 years (I’m 60 now)! It IS doable.

Here’s are the rubs that are keeping you from getting there (I thought of 1, then another, so not sure how many I’ll list here):

1)     FACT 1: Our culture does NOT encourage contentment, satisfaction, or real joy. They SAY they want you to be happy, but if you think about it, NOTHING sells unless there is DISSATISFACTION! The entire premise of advertising and marketing is CREATING DISSATISFACTION! (Read Romans 12:1-2 in this light, and you will see that by and large, Christianity in our culture has bought into being “conformed to the world” rather than being “transformed” into the Glory they were meant to be!)

2)     FACT 2: Christianity as taught ant practiced typically says “Our hearts are BAD, and we can’t trust them.” And there is a truth there, but it’s only a partial one. Scripture also says that when the Lord comes in, He gives us a NEW HEART, one that DESIRES to serve Him, to love Him, to worship Him. If we really believed that, and lived it, it would transform our lives into lives of PASSION and DESIRE–but DESIRE THAT IS GOOD AND WHOLESOME AND AWESOME IN THE WAY IT IS LIVED OUT! And THAT, my friend, is what Jesus was willing to DIE for (“for the JOY that was set before Him, endured the cross…” etc.)

3)     FACT 3: NOTHING EVER GETS DONE OF ANY SIGNIFICANCE WITHOUT DESIRE AND PASSION! Think about it: All of us do the very things we WANT! We may even sabotage and kill ourselves doing it, but we MAKE time for what we FEEL is valuable! It IS ultimately about the FEELING, and only when you get passionate and on-fire for something will you invest the time and energy to make it work. Millionaires become so mostly through this–it’s the one keystone that mentors and positive thinking teachers and motivational speakers build their careers on!

4)     FACT 4: You are UNIQUE, and NO ONE can tell you exactly how to find that PASSION and DESIRE! Most of our society, sadly, spends all its time trying to be something they are not, were not designed to be, and never will successfully be! It’s true, but it doesn’t have to be this way. BUT in order to escape it, you have to become YOU! No one else can do it for you. It may be a pain-full process, but ultimately, it is well worth it! (See #3 above.)

5)     FACT 5: You don’t have to do it alone–and yet you do. There are people out there (like me) willing to help you get there–but you have to put the rubber to the road. And as one of the mentors I listen to says (if you like, I’ll send you a link), you have to have 4 kinds of people in your support group: teachers, doers, pushers, and cheerleaders. Usually they are NOT all combined into one person who “speaks into your life.” That’s one of the values I see in this group we’re in–and I’ve not had that kind of thing for most of my life.

6)     FACT 6: You won’t get there overnight. As the saying goes, an “overnight success” most likely has put in decades becoming that. BUT DON’T LET THAT DISCOURAGE YOU! If you do nothing, 5 or 10 years will STILL pass, and you’ll be at least as dissatisfied as you are now. Charlie Tremendous Jones said, “The only difference between the you now and the you you’ll be in 5 years is the people you meet and the books you read.” Lot of truth in that statement. There are other factors in it too, but basically, you have to commit to a PROCESS! As Steven Covey says, “Start with the end in view.” (With this advice, he advocates picturing your funeral, with 4 people who knew you in different ways [family, friend, co-worker, and one other–can’t remember right now]–and ask yourself, “What do they say about you? What would you want them to say?” Then begin consciously, conscientiously, and persistently to work toward that vision of yourself at your own funeral. Good exercise.

7)     FACT 7: Books are one of the easiest ways to gain wisdom–but you HAVE to pick the right books! You have limited time, limited energy, and limited passion–so use them wisely. Someone said, “An intelligent man learns from his mistakes; a wise one learns from others’ mistakes.” In that vein, I’ve attached an Excel spreadsheet of a book I recently read and thought enough of to encapsulate in this chart. One of the authors is Jack Canfield, of “Chicken Soup” fame, and his story is in there too. The book is titled YOU’VE GOT TO READ THIS BOOK! but the subtitle says it all: 55 stories by people telling what books changed their lives. Jack is one of the people; Covey is another. Yes, some of the books are NOT Christian, and could lead people into Buddhism or Stoicism, or “New-Agey” thinking–but I’ll take that chance. One of the books mentioned is the Bible, and God’s Word CAN and WILL stand the test–it really, as Roy says, is the “Book of Best Practices,” not only for business but for ALL of life! And I firmly believe that the principles Christianity is solidly based on (e.g., faith) are actually laws in the sense that gravity and inertia are laws: They operate on their own, by God’s design, whether we acknowledge them as coming from Him or His Word or not! Think about it: Every time you turn on a light switch, or the ignition switch for your car, you’re operating in faith!

I’ll stop off here. I would suggest you begin by making a list of 10 books you want to read this year. I can suggest some if you like, and even lend you some (though I really recommend you INVEST in them, as that will make them mean more to you, and you can then annotate them, a valuable exercise in itself). And I can suggest some other things to get you on track of living that ABUNDANT LIFE Jesus promised as we go along.

I’m glad to get to know you. Thanks for being someone I can invest my talents into!

Blessings,
Ken