Episode #7

4 Storytelling Reminders

Show Notes:

Do you have a story you want to share with the world, but aren't sure it's worth telling? I believe that every story has a purpose, but how you tell it will impact how it's received. In today's episode, I'm sharing four things to remember in order to properly tell your story!

"We can’t always control our experiences, but we can always write our story."

Monetizing Your Story (:49)

Paid Speaking Engagements (:58)

Publishing Books (1:02)

Finding Your Story (1:30)

One Single Experience Can Write Two Completely Different Stories (4:44)

4 Things to Remember about Storytelling (6:01)

  • Your story doesn’t have to feel big to be important. (6:06)
  • Your experiences are not your story, but rather how you make sense of them. (6:25)
  • The value of your story comes in how you can relate that lesson to others. (6:52)
  • Always remember that you are living your story right now. (7:56)

 

Review the Transcript:

Hey, everyone. So in this episode, we are going to talk about storytelling. So one of my favorite things to do is help women make sense of their story in a way that they can package it up and sell it as a keynote talk or as a published book. If you're interested in learning more about that, you can head to businessonthebrightside.com, check out my courses and let's tell them, sell your story.

What's up, everybody? It is Jess Ekstrom, and welcome to Business on the Bright Side, the podcast where you can learn how to make a living and make a difference at the same time. Life is short and so is my attention span, so let's get started.

So I feel my calling in life is to help women monetize their story, and I think that there are two really great ways to do that. One of them is through paid speaking engagements, which is why I started Mic Drop Workshop, and the other is through publishing books, which is why I started Book Pop Workshop. What I end up hearing some people say who are taking my courses or maybe who want to take my courses, they say that they want to write and speak, but they just don't know what their story is yet.

Maybe you felt that way before. Maybe you have this burning desire to get out there, grab the microphone or put the pen to paper but you're just like, "I don't know what my story is." Or maybe you're thinking, "Is my story good enough or interesting enough?" Because there's this common misconception that in order to have a valuable story that it needs to be this huge splash in the water, super disruptive, didn't see that coming, pigs-flying story.

Even though some parts of my story are like that, hence Bernie Madoff and some other things, rarely those parts of my story are the ones that people relate to. It's so funny because when I publish Chasing the Bright Side, I thought that I was going to be inundated with people wanting to ask me about my uncle and that one crazy part of my story, and I was ready for it. I'm like, "Okay, I'm opening the flood gates." This is what I'm going to be hearing nonstop about for the rest of my life, because I'm coming forward with this big part of my story.

I could not have been more wrong. People sometimes they mention it, but really the things that people want to talk to me about were the smaller parts of my story, the parts that they can relate to, the parts that they can see themselves in. Because all of our experiences, the good experiences, the bad experiences, the funny experiences add up to a story.

One of the stories that I actually tell on stage is about a time when I tried hot yoga, ended up falling on my face and made a complete fool out of myself. I go through this experience of telling them about my hot yoga experience. It is the thing that people continuously come up to me after and tell me about how that story changed their life, or they message me on Instagram. It's not about the time when I started my company or any of these sometimes bigger moments, it's the small things that people can relate to.

So all of these experiences in our life are really connecting the dots and creating a story. Our experiences though are things that we can't control. We can't control the weather. We can't control the people around us. We can't control if the takeout place gets our order right. We certainly can't control what other people think about us or do.

Our stories are how we make sense of all of our experiences. So our stories are how we string it all together and pull meaning out of those moments. So although we can't always control our life like putting things on a chess board, what do you call them, pins, chess, whatever we call those things go on a chess board, we can't always control that, but we can control what everything means to us and how we respond.

So we can have an experience of not getting the job that we applied for, but the story that we tell could either be that moment was the moment you gave up or the moment that was when you decided to start your own business instead. One single experience can write two completely different stories.

So we just hosted, right, the Dang Book Conference for women who want to get their non-fiction books published. In this Facebook group that we had for the conference, so many women were sharing their story of what they want to write about.

The crazy thing that I realized through this conference and reading through all of these Facebook posts is that everyone that we encounter during our day, whether it's someone who were standing beside at the grocery store or someone we see out walking their dog, has a story. They've had experiences in their life that they are trying to make sense of. It's the people who want to write and speak about them that want to use the lessons that they learned through their experiences and help other people write their story.

The crazy part about it is that right now at this very much, you're in your story. You're living it. Every day we have experiences that mean something to us that help us keep writing this story. In 2020, we have had a ton of experiences that we can't control. So what's the story that you're writing from them? So I want to give you four things that I want you to remember about storytelling.

The first is that your story doesn't have to feel big to be important. Remember that everything, all of the experiences in your life add up to a story. So it doesn't have to be some major drama plot twist in order to mean something in your life and to be taught to others.

Number two, your experiences are not your story, but rather how you make sense of them. So the things that happen to us that we can't control, what do we do with it? How do we filter it in our minds? How do we make sense of it for how we move forward? One of my favorite analogies is that boiling water can soften a potato, but harden an egg. So it's not as much about the circumstance as it is about the subject.

Number three, the value of your story comes from how you can relate that lesson to others. So you might have a story about loss, or you might have a story about how you overcame an immense challenge. Maybe you climbed Mount Everest or something like that. Maybe the people that you write to with your book or speak to in audiences will never climb Mount Everest. I'm going to put money down on that's probably going to be the case.

So that doesn't mean that your story has to match other people in their story to help them. What you have to do is pull out the universal feeling, that universal experience of like, "Hey, maybe you've never climbed Mount Everest," but you know what it's like to look something in the eye and think, "I can't do this and do it anyway." So that's what makes a powerful speaker or a powerful writer is not about reaching people who are just like them, but using their experiences and the lessons that they learned from them to help people who are in the middle of their story.

Number four, always remember that you are living your story right now. So if you have writer's blog or you think the cupboard is empty and you're like, "I've run out of all of my good stories," remember that just waking up this morning, just getting up, showing up, you are creating your story. Sometimes it just takes a little longer to realize that you're in it. So I'll leave you with this. We can't always control our experiences, but we can always write our story.

Thanks for listening to Business on the Bright Side. I'm your host, Jess Ekstrom. For all the show notes, head to businessonthebrightside.com, and be sure to tell me what you thought of this episode on Instagram. If you're picking up what I'm putting down, subscribe and write a review wherever you consume podcasts. See you next time and keep chasing the bright side.

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MEET JESS

I'm JESS EKSTROM

EVERYTHING I CREATE IS TO HELP YOU TELL AND SELL YOUR STORY, SO YOU CAN MAKE A LIVING AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE…

at the same time

I GIVE A 💩 about you, your time & YOUR MONEY.

Let me be straight with you – I’m not that perfectly filtered influencer on the internet that promises you the world and doesn’t follow through after that credit card is swiped.

Enough about my story, let’s discover the purpose of

your story

Take my THOUGHT LEADER QUIZ to help you discover the best way to monetize your story.

Let's connect

Finish this sentence: by the end of the year, I bet I will ________________. 👇👇👇👇
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My husband always laughs at me because I HATE gambling or making bets. If I’m going to put $5 on something, I’d rather put it towards my business. I like betting on things that I can influence- so I like to bet on myself 🎲
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By the end of the year, I bet I will ________________. 👇
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Facts about my family 🥰👇
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- we’ve been living and traveling in an @airstream_inc since March 2019
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- Jake and I met in class at NC State. He claims we met when he passed me a pencil but I told him I haven’t used a pencil since 1997.
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- we found our pup, Ollie, on Craigslist
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- our favorite band is @zacbrownband (our wedding song was Free)!
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- Jake is an enneagram 7 and I’m a 3 😅
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- shows we’ve binged together: entourage, game of thrones, alone, the good place and all bachelor series (but he’ll deny the last one) 🤣
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Tell me a fact about you and your family! 👇
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367 45

I’m a recovering people pleaser.
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I thought my ticket to success was winning people over...
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But if you try to win over everyone, you’ll actually lose people because that means you’re not standing for something. Don’t be afraid to pick a lane and drive in it. The right people will join you there.
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Figure out what YOU want, what you stand for and what you want to create. Find or create the community that you can serve with that message. Listen to other opinions but listen with a filter.
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Remember: you’re not going to be for everyone...you’re going to be for someone. And that’s GREAT news.
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Are you a recovering people pleaser? What are some strategies you use to stay true to yourself?👇
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I’ve been building something special since April and I’m SO EXCITED for you to try it 😬😬😬
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@writebrightpages is your own online private journal with:
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✍️ daily writing prompts
✍️ prompt pathways based on specific goals
✍️ tags to organize your pages
✍️ email accountability to make journaling easier
✍️ and so much more
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Right now we have a few people on the platform testing it and we’ll slowly roll it out over the next few months. 😬 If you missed Business on the Bright Side podcast episode yesterday, head to wherever you consume podcasts to listen to yesterday’s journaling episode to hear more about it 🎧
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Follow @writebrightpages and then head to brightpages.com or the link in my bio to sign up for the waitlist!
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Are you excited to try out @writebrightpages?! 👇
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Some high quality education 🎓
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Leave me a comment if your business school was Google 😂👇
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You know I’m down for a good IG challenge 💪
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On the left was my first @headbandsofhope table when I started the company in college. I “employed” my best friends @ajdinkel and @emily_wheet to help me sell headbands. Oh- and the headbands are displayed on oatmeal boxes that I spray painted yellow. #winning
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On the right is my first appearance on @qvc last year. We’ve had dozens of airings since then, but it’s crazy to think about where we started and how far we’ve come as a team 🥰
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Remember, you can cringe at your beginnings and still be proud of them ♥️
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You just have to start ⭐️
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434 45

My job is to help women look for meaning in their moments so they can write books and give keynote talks. 🎤📖
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But sometimes I encourage my students in Mic Drop Workshop or Book Pop Workshop to step back before they slap a label on a season of their life.
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We’re so quick to say a moment was: good, bad, helpful, or hurtful. But the reality is sometimes we have no clue how our moments will play out in our story.
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It took me 11 years to share my story about my family in chapter 2 of Chasing the Bright Side because I was still connecting the dots.
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We’re all going through a season right now. The lesson and the meaning is still taking shape. Some silver linings just take longer to develop 🌈
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I’m speaking 🎤
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Two simple words that puncture centuries of silence.
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Our voice is one of the most powerful things we have. Let’s teach young girls to use it by using it ourselves 🗣

Thank you @rowlandjordyn for this tweet. #vote #vote2020
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I got mad at myself the other day.
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A hiccup happened at work and I broke. My mind went swirling: am I even qualified to do this? Why do I have a business if I keep failing at it? I’m letting everyone down! I’m supposed to be the optimist author and I’m drowning in negative thoughts 💭
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Then I thought to myself: I used to be able to handle this stuff and not fall off the deep end. What changed?
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Well, 2020 changed. And it’s important to recognize the impact this year has had on ourselves.
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I finally realized yesterday that on a scale from 1-10, my anxiety has been living at a steady 6 this year. Usually, it’s at like a 2 or a 3.
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So something small that happens at work or in my life used to just bump me up to a 5 or a 6. But now, the small things bump me up to a 8 or a 9 because my foundation is already high.
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That realization was actually a relief for me. I could finally give myself some grace and say: you’re still strong. You can still handle everything life throws at you. Your strength hasn’t changed, just your environment.
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So I want to propose the same thing to you. Go easy on yourself this year because our starting point for anxiety and uncertainty is already high- so knowing that the little things can impact you differently makes you stop questioning yourself and start understanding our environment.
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To me, this is good news. Give yourself some grace. Go easy on yourself. Take time for your mental health. Go outside. Watch silly Netflix shows. Take a bath. Get the fancy latte because you want to. We can handle this. ♥️💪
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This is usually the dialogue when deciding on takeout. 😂⁠
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Anyone else?! 👇
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We're in Yosemite this week!⁠
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This place has been on our bucket list for our entire trip and we thought it might not happen with the fires. But we are here and couldn't be more grateful ♥️⁠
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What's your favorite national park? 👇
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There are a lot of reasons to be an optimist 👇
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You’re more innovative, you’re more resilient, you’re more of a risk taker, you’re more of a leader...
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But at the end of the day, it’s just way more fun to be an optimist.
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You can enjoy life more when you believe that the future is good and that YOU can be the one to help get it there.
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So if you’re looking for a reason to start Chasing the Bright Side (😉) and seeing the good in the world, just remember that optimists have more fun 🥳
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Do you consider yourself an optimist? 👇
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230 21

#maskup but make it fashion 😷💃
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So proud of my girl @mrs.bgauvin (our @headbandsofhope Wholesale Director) for selling out on @qvc last night during her FIRST SHOW! 📺
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The torch has officially been passed 😂 y’all head to headbandsofhope.com to stock up on our tube turbans and masks! 🛍
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I’ve had a few “check yourself before you wreck yourself” moments this week 🙃
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Sometimes when we feel ourself reacting, we need to take a step back and look at WHY we’re reacting instead of what we’re reacting to.
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I talk about this in the Business on the Bright Side episode this week (link in bio).
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Do you feel like you’re self aware? I’m working on it! 👇
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Bring on the PSL, fall scented candles and sweater weather 🍁
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Tag someone who loves fall in the comments 👇
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You can’t write an amazing book without a messy first draft. 📖
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When I read this concept in Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird, it changed who I am as a creative.
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In fact, you can’t do anything well without a messy beginning. 🙃
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If that’s the case, then don’t put so much pressure on your first drafts. You can’t edit a blank piece of paper, but you can edit pages of jumbled mess and start to make sense of it.
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This week in my Write the Dang Book Conference we have over 2,000 women from all over the world starting their messy first drafts and I couldn’t be prouder to be their guide 🥰
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You can still grab your free ticket for day 2 with the link in my bio. All videos will be available until October 1st, so if you can’t make it live, you can watch the replays until then.
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Cheers to messy first drafts 🥂
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