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Articles filed in: Success

Storytelling Is A Skill You Can Learn

Do you remember the first time you rode a bike without training wheels? You might recall who taught you and the street you were on. The colour of the bike. The exact moment you took off. The wobbling, the delight, and cheering as you pedalled away.

One minute you couldn’t do it and the next minute you were off. You had acquired a new skill and the confidence to keep practising—so you got better and better at it.

Learning to tell your story is a lot like learning to ride a bike. There are basic principles and tools you can use to get started, and the more you practice the better you get. Story skills are essential for people like you who want to make their ideas matter.

That’s why I’ve been working with Seth Godin for almost a year to create a workshop that will help you to discover, craft and tell better stories.

The Story Skills Workshop launches next week.
Sign up here to be notified when registrations open.

Image by Eli Christman


If you’re reading this post, it’s because it got past one or more of your filters. Maybe you were anticipating receiving it because you subscribed to my blog. Perhaps it popped up in your search results. Either way, you’re here because you chose to be—not just because I reached out to you.

The people you’re trying to reach and resonate with are filtering too. From the contacts you try to add on LinkedIn, to the clients you’re hoping to attract. They are deciding who is worthy of their permission and their time.

So the question for you and me is not just how do we get past the filters, but how do we become worthy of the limited time and attention of the people we want to matter to?

Image by JM Thomson

Stand Out

When we think about standing out, we often think about how we’re being perceived at a given moment. But memorable people, places and experiences stand out because of how they make us feel over time.

Standing out doesn’t necessarily mean being the loudest, most visible person in the room right this minute.

You, your product or your company can stand out by changing how someone feels about themselves in your presence, not just today, but every day.

Image by Chris Candid

Immeasurable Success

The rows of business magazines in the airport scream the word ‘success’ from their covers.

Smiling founders who’ve ‘made it’ are profiled inside.
Their success reflected in the visible and the measurable.

When did being successful become about being seen to have achieved success?

We, the keepers of our culture, keep score.
We like to measure our progress. Come out on top. Be first. We like to win.

In our attempt to find a way to do that, we have learned to value and measure things in ways that are often disproportionate to their benefit to us collectively. How we keep score changes the stories we tell, the businesses we build and the societies we shape.

The stories we tell about success change us.

We become what we measure.
We are who we take with us on the journey and who we leave behind.

Image by Austin Distel

The Power Of Owning Your Work

The assistant at the family-run pasta shop is giving me instructions about how to cook the fresh ravioli she’s wrapping up for me to take home.

She never once refers to it as ‘the ravioli’ during the entire conversation. Whenever she speaks about the pasta her family makes fresh on the premisies every day, she describes it with pride as, ‘my ravioli’.

‘You can’t fail with my ravioli. My ravioli doesn’t need an elaborate sauce to make it taste great. That’s why people always come back for my ravioli.’

She was signing her work with every word. The way she speaks about her product makes it better and more valuable to the people lucky enough to eat it.

How are you owning the work you’re proud of?

Image by Jametlene Reskp

Disappointment And Delight

One day you will disappoint a customer.

You will let her down by failing to do the thing you promised.

She will leave that day feeling like she got less than she paid for.

But more than that, she will stop trusting that you will keep your word next time around.

Things don’t always go to plan. Mistakes happen.

That’s why it’s important to allow for them.

You are human. You won’t always get it right.

But you can find an opportunity to delight, especially when you disappoint.

A mistake doesn’t always have to end in disappointment.

Image by Brian J. Beggerly

It’s Not For You

‘It’s not for you,’ are four of the most powerful, yet hardest, words you can say, no matter what you have to share, sell or serve.

It takes courage not to be for everyone or to close the door on what at first glance looked like an opportunity.

But when you’re brave enough to put a stake in the ground, you will find your right people. Those people who you can help. The ones who will show up, ready to act—the people who would miss you.

The flip side, of course, is that you need to recognise your people. Those who you can confidently tell, ‘This is exactly what you’ve been looking for.

We do work that matters when we know who we want to matter to.

Image by Yelp

Faith Vs. Proof

In a digital world, where customers have infinite choices, and loyalty is precarious, it’s easy to believe the more information we give people, the better.

It turns out that the opposite is true. We’re more likely to retain customers, get repeat sales and be recommended by simplifying the decision process.

What people want is the quickest way to discern if they can trust us and our offering.

Our customers don’t always want more proof—often what they need from us is more faith—not just in us, but in themselves.

Image by Sam Wheeler

The One And Only

You will not outthink your competition. Neither will I. None of us will.

We will never outwith, outsmart or even outrun them.
We will not outmanoeuvre, outguess or outdo them either.

The truth is competing is a zero-sum game. We succeed when we make peace with the fact that we don’t need to compete when we know who we are.

Every smart, brave, generous member of the Right Company is building the business only they can build.

This is the last time we’ll be inviting membership applications to the Right Company for 2019. If you want to succeed on your own terms, it might be for you.

Image by Boudewijn Huysmans

Do’s AND Don’t Do’s

Clare’s accountancy clients tell her she’s like a breath of fresh air.

When she started her company, she took time to onboard her clients— walking them through how she could help them, taking a pile of paperwork and other mental clutter with her as she left. Nothing was too much trouble. Clients valued her approach, and her business thrived.

But as Clare’s business grew, her posture started to shift. She was too busy to serve people in the way that had originally differentiated her company. Small mistakes were made, and apologies overlooked. She stopped picking up the phone. As her business scaled, Clare continued to do her job, but she’d forgotten to show she cared. And that made all the difference.

The day came when her very first client decided they should part ways. Clare understood immediately that she’d lost this client because of the one small thing she could have done, but didn’t do.

It’s worth remembering that it isn’t only what we do that people notice— sometimes it’s what we don’t do that determines our results.

Image by Cowomen.

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