You don’t have to be flashy

Advice Column

Hi Friend,

Do you sometimes sit with a group of friends as they trade tales of their big adventures? And do you ever think to yourself, “My life is not that splashy?”

I’ve always loved listening to great speakers. When I was a kid, my dad would take me for a long drive every Saturday morning in his little red Alfa Romeo convertible. On the way he’d play cassette tapes of inspirational keynote speeches by world-class orators.

Many times those people had dramatic stories of overcoming enormous odds or achieving great feats. The drama of their circumstances made their points powerfully.

For a long time, I believed that without something like a near-death experience or achieving a world record in base jumping, I lacked compelling stories and the authority to share them.

Then, on a whim one afternoon, I took a storytelling workshop. A woman named Ann Marie taught it in a small, crowded, room at a downtown club with a speakeasy vibe. (Yep, you actually had to pull a hidden lever that opened a trap door to get in.)

At that class I got to listen to one story from each participant. Those stories were not about epic experiences like escaping an erupting volcano or getting invited to dinner with the Dalai Lama. They were descriptions of the everyday experience of being human.

They were about the regret of letting a friend down, the guilt of stealing a five dollar bill from a father’s wallet as an eight-year-old, and the teacher who helped a woman realize that she had talent back when she was just a little girl. They were about normal life and they were POWERFUL!

Think of a story that has shaped you. It’s likely it was simple, and yet it’s become an important part of you. Hearing someone tell the truth about their experience is an honor, isn’t it?

Today I hope you’re encouraged that your stories are valuable gifts with which you can impact other people in special ways.

Your experiences, your learning, and your very being make a profound difference in the world. Thank you for that!

With love,



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