Storytelling is Leadership: 6 Sentences to Help your Story

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These days, I find myself observing and mentally noting with fervour the magical elements that conspire to empower great leaders. There is a universality about great leadership that makes it easy for those to assume that one either has it or one doesn’t. However, in this growth mindset culture, we know that to be a fallacy. Leadership is a cultivated skill not a role we’re simply born into.

Sure, it helps to be competent at the work you do because competence surely goes a long distance in helping to create trust. But, I’d argue that true leadership goes beyond being the best at your job. Leadership is about enabling those around you to be their best, do their best work, and doing so in a way that helps them to feel autonomous, valued, and empowered. From what I’ve seen, read, listened to, and from the people with whom I’ve personally spoken on the KindSight 101 Podcast (and within my own life), leadership is rooted in storytelling. A solid story can do more to convince people to believe you, join your ranks, or sell you ideas than any coercive, strategic approaches can. Show me a good storyteller and I’ll show you a good leader.

So, how to tell a good story? I recently read the book To Sell is Human by the amazing Dan Pink (Seriously, if you haven’t heard him on a podcast, read or listened to one of his books/speeches, you’re missing out! He’s a guru in motivation and sales…and he’s funny, too!). He introduced me to Emma Coat’s Pixar Pitch framework, which uses the Hero’s Journey to formulate your ideas/story/pitch into a palatable pitch. You want to pique curiosity, solve someone’s problem, create value, and be specific enough that someone can see themselves benefitting from the solution you offer.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Set the tone for the way things are currently: Who is in the story, where do they live, what is the context? – Once upon a time…
  2. Talk about the routine of life-the status quo- Every day…
  3. Create tension and a disruption from the status quo- One day…
  4. What are the consequences of that event or disruption? – Because of that…
  5. What are the further consequences? – Because of that…
  6. Arrive at the conclusion, where things have returned to stasis, but things are better than they were- Until finally…

Take the Finding Nemo Plot, for instance:

  1. Once upon a time there was a fish named Marlin who lost his wife and was protective of his forgetful son, Nemo.
  2. Every day, Nemo would be warned by his Dad not to venture beyond the dangers of their coral reef.
  3. One day, Nemo ignores the warnings and swims beyond the cozy comforts of his home, to the open ocean.
  4. Because of that, he winds up being captured and winds up in a fish tank in someone’s home.
  5. Because of that, Marlin begins a tireless journey to find his son with the help of a few kind creatures at his side.
  6. Until finally, Marlin and Nemo reunite and understand that love is dependent on a sense of trust.

Here’s the Small Act Big Impact story in six sentences:

  1. Once upon a time, there was an education crisis in our schools and communities across North America and the World-at-large.
  2. Everyday, more than 25% of our students were mired in hopelessness, stress, depression, anxiety, and loneliness, to the point where it made it hard for them to learn, connect with one another, and feel deep and authentic happiness and life satisfaction. This was affecting their learning and well-being, making it hard for them to be their best expressions of themselves.
  3. One day, neuroscientists discovered that happiness and fulfilment could be derived from generosity and kindness on a chemical level in the brain. We learned we could learn to develop kindness habits that would release continuous happiness hormones not only to those demonstrating generosity and receiving kindness, but to even those who witnessed it.
  4. Because of that, Small Act Big Impact developed a 21-Day Kindness Challenge to encourage students, teachers, parents, businesses, communities, and educational leaders to develop meaningful habits of kindness that would ripple out into the community, inspiring people to adopt the habits, themselves.
  5. Because of that, students, teachers, and leaders began feeling happier and more hopeful, bringing levels of hopelessness, stress, anxiety, and depression down.
  6. Until finally, everyone knew that the path to living happy lives resides in our ability to help one another through deep and intentional kindness.

How will storytelling help you to become the leader you want to be?

Head, Heart, Hands

Empathy, Compassion, and Kindness: Head, Heart, and Hands

In order to feel proud of our communities, I believe we need to wrap our arms around those who struggle within them. Caring for people starts with a willingness to see, hear, and understand one another with an open heart. We have to begin with empathy, compassion, and an eagerness to bravely step into our kindness.

Empathy is the practice of being able to understand the feelings and circumstances of others, and putting yourself in their shoes.

IMG_4410.jpgImagine your friend has just spent the last hour meticulously creating a LEGO structure. Smiling ear to ear, she makes her way over, balancing the creation in the palm of her hand, when suddenly, her foot catches the edge of the rug beneath her. Time slows as her body sails through the air, the structure and pieces fly in all directions. Her chest hits the ground with defeat. In that moment, you understand how disappointed she must feel. You understand it, but you don’t feel disappointed yourself. That’s empathy.

Then, compassion hits you. Compassion literally means to suffer with. You start remembering that time when you built the best LEGO house you’d ever made and how you wanted to show it to your neighbour, but before you could beckon him over to check it out, your little brother had made other plans. With one sweep of his hands, your prized construction was destroyed. Remembering this moment makes you feel a flash of that same devastation again. Suddenly, you actually start feeling a sense of disappointment alongside her. Compassion takes the mind-based understanding of empathy, and moves it into our hearts.

Kindness is the ability to act upon our empathy and compassion for others by taking meaningful action, transforming the world drip-by-drip.  

In the case of your friend’s LEGO structure, for example, kindness is helping her to reconstruct it, giving her a hug, or helping her up. We are all responsible for one another.

 

 

#21: Instagram, Poetry, and Anxiety: What Teachers can Learn from Diving Head-First into Vulnerability (with Brittin Oakman)

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You’re going to love my guest today. Through her vulnerable poetry, she had made meaningful connections to tens of thousands of loyal followers on Instagram. You might be thinking; how does this relate to teaching? We discuss the ways that writing enables us to process our self-discovery and emotions Excellent teachers recognize the place for meaningful reflection in their practice not only for themselves, but for their students.

We touch on process over product, overcoming fear, getting to know the quiet, unassuming people in our lives because they often surprise the world with how much they have to say when given half a chance, and developing a sense of worthiness. This conversation is a warm cup of tea for the teacher’s soul.

Brittin Oakman who is currently combining dreams and ambitions by abroad in Scotland while completing her MSc. Health Psychology, is a soulful Canadian writer and storyteller, Health and Wellness advocate, and incredibly popular (with over 41, 000 followers) Instagram personality. You can find her @b.oakman on Instagram . For more information visit my website [smallactbigimpact.com][1] and search for episode #21.
[1]: http://smallactbigimpact.com

 

Ep # 20 Hang Loos-Surviving a Public Lifestyle (with Casey-Jo Loos)

IMG_4240Have you ever wondered what an educator and a popular radio dj have in common? In this energizing episode, my guest and I explore how to survive a public lifestyle while living with anxiety and depression. We delve into the experience of battling with perfectionism, the pressure of conformity, vulnerability, and overcoming the desire to please the arm chair critics. Through her unique perspective, we learn profound insights will help you foster a culture of psychological safety and creativity within your classroom. Hope you enjoy!

Self-described as a “fruitloop in a bowl of cheerios” my guest Casey Jo Loos is the energetic and hilarious radio dj from Vancouver’s beloved 107.3 The Peak Radio Station. She has a passion for connection through media, radio & television, a former canucks tv host, ctv news community reporter and host, and much music VJ finalist. and teaches yoga and meditation on her downtime.

Find her @caseyjoloos on Instagram and facebook or on her website [caseyjoloos.com][1]. For more information visit my website [smallactbigimpact.com][2] and search for episode #20.

An Alternative to the Dreaded Resolution

75796DC9-D5AF-49FF-B3C2-44425D551995.jpegAs we sit on the cusp of a new year, full of promise, it’s enticing to want to create a long list of things to check off that brings us closer to the goals that signal success, to imagine that this year will be vastly different/better than last year, and in doing so, place the heavy weight of anticipation of achievement upon yourself.

In light of last year’s rejection of the practice of naming a yearly resolution, I’ve opted to join the #oneword train. One word has the power to keep you aligned to your vision without creating additional baggage. It’s more of a reminder of areas you want to grow and who you want to become, than a quest for accolades or achievements.

So, what is mine this year? Patience.

Some who know me might be surprised, as I tend to be an outwardly patient person. I’m learning to trust the process of creation, to be patient with myself, and to make space for reflection.

The truth is, even the simple practice of focusing on one small goal makes it possible to make significant changes to the way you move through your life.

Today, for instance, my one word enabled me to patiently wait out my 2.5 year old son as he moved along the continuum from hating snow, snowsuits, mittens, the sight of snow (anything related to snow and the mountain) to actually laughing and giggling as we catapulted ourselves down the snow-covered hill on a little sled. Patience. It’s powerful to step back with a deep understanding that things will not always happen at your pace. It’s possible that things may not happen at all according to plan. That said, rushing and pushing and forcing won’t get you where you need to go.

 

What’s your #oneword?
#patience #positivevibes#grateful #kindness #newyearseve#oneword

E 19: Twenty Actionable Ways to Integrate Kindness into your Curriculum Starting Monday (with Sheila Sjolseth)

Sheila Sjolseth

Sheila Sjolseth brings to life acts of kindness and service projects that families and kids can do. In her daily adventures of serving with her young boys, she has witnessed the awesome things that happen when kids serve others. She started serving daily with her boys in 2012, when they were 3 and 5 years old. What started as a way to teach her kids empathy has transitioned to a way of life and a connection with thousands of others.

Born and raised in small towns across Texas, the oldest of four girls, she felt a call early on to help others for her career. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Special Education from The University of Texas at Austin and her Masters of Education in Learning and Teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Moving across the US and the world several times over, Sheila has taught in a variety of settings from a classroom in small town Texas, to a psychiatric unit in Chicago, to the US Department of Education. Public school, private school, charter school, and in the community, Sheila has had the opportunity to teach and present in almost every type of setting.
Along each step of the way, she worked with parents and students to improve parenting and learning skills. Known for her innovative teaching skills and ability to reach even the “hardest to reach” student, Sheila’s professional background is rooted in applying best teaching practices while addressing the needs of the student. As an educator and professional with 20 years of experience in working with children and parents, she truly believes that teaching kids to be kind results in a happier family.

As the President and Founder of Pennies of Time: Teach Kids to Serve, Sheila works with families and other community focused organizations to help families integrate kindness into daily habits. “Kindness as a lifestyle . . . not an item on a ‘to do’ list.” She is a 2015 Daily Point of Light Winner for contributions to family volunteerism and community service.

Her goal: For families to choose to complete an act of kindness as often as they go to soccer practice or to the movies.

“Let’s elevate the meaningful activities that we do as a family and lessen the activities that isolate us from one another.”

Her upcoming book will be released in late 2018.

Synopsis of Book:
Join Sheila in a journey through a magical land visiting families struggling to be kind in an unkind world. Her book is a storybook parenting resource that helps parents see what they can do to foster kindness and compassion in their homes. From an engaging story-line, poignant real life stories, and practical tools families can use, Sheila guides parents from doable first steps to an inspiring future where our children are compassionate problem- solvers.

Website
Pennies of Time-Kindness Academy
Instagram Twitter Facebook Pinterest

 

E 18: Depression, Anxiety, and Suicide: Easy Ways for Teachers to Navigate these Hard Topics (with Dr. Shimi Kang)

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Every parent and educator experiences visceral fear at the thought of needing to support a child in crisis. Most of us feel a sense of powerlessness, but this psychiatrist explains the importance of our role in our students’ lives. In this mini episode, you’ll learn easy tangible ways to support students experiencing depression, anxiety, or even suicidal thoughts. This is an episode not to miss!

Dr. Shimi Kang is an award-winning, Harvard-trained doctor, Researcher , Media Expert , Bestselling Author , and Speaker. She is the former Medical Director for Child and Youth Mental Health for Vancouver community, a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia, and the founder of the Provincial Youth Concurrent Disorders Program at BC Children’s Hospital. Her books The Dolphin Way™: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy, and Motivated Kids Without Turning Into A Tiger (Penguin Books 2014) and ” The Dolphin Parent: A Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy, and Self-Motivated Kids ” are #1 Bestsellers! And she also has a new title out “The Self-Motivated Kid: How to Raise a Healthy, Happy Child Who Knows What they Want and Goes After It (Without Being Told).

She is also the founder of the DolphinPOD school , located in India and dedicated to developing the key 21st century life skills. She also heads up The DolphinKIDS Achievement Programs which are designed to develop the mindset and life skills to achieve your dreams!
She is most proud of receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for outstanding community service and being a mother of three amazing but exhausting children!

Dr. Kang can be found on social media @drshimikang
For more information about Dr. Kang, her amazing schools, or books, visit http://www.drshimikang.com
Or check out our podcast search for episode #18.

E 17: Can You Teach Kindness and Empathy? : Actionable, Proven Tips You Can Implement in Your Class Starting Today (with Barbara Gruener)

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Some people believe that empathy is intrinsic, something you’re either born with or you’re not. Well, my guest today believes that all children have the capacity to be kind, compassionate contributors, we just have to be willing to teach them how. You’ll come away from this conversation inspired to start the 21-day kindness challenge, with a ton of easy to implement tips and strategies for the classroom, with lesson ideas, and with service-based projects to dig into with your students. Enjoy!

Currently having completed her 34th year school counselor in Friendswood, Texas, Barbara Gruener, has had the unique opportunity of growing alongside learners in every age and stage, preK through 12th. A passionate, connected educator, Barbara enjoys positively inspiring and influencing change through her high energy, engaging keynotes and interactive learning sessions. The author of the Corner on Character blog and the book, [What’s Under Your Cape?][1], Barbara firmly believes that we have the power to change the world, one kind act at a time. Influenced by the recent school shooting in in Santa Fe, just 15 miles from her home, she felt moved to take a bigger stand for kindness. She has just recently taken the leap into consulting work. When she’s not working, you can bet Barbara is knitting, baking, writing, reading, walking, gardening, napping, or spending time with her husband and their three children.

Where you can connect with Barbara:

Character Speaks Podcast 170x170bbwith Barbara Gruener

You can find her on twitter: @BarbaraGruener
On facebook: www.facebook/WhatsUnderYourCape

On pinterest (bgruener) and by reading her blog
[www.corneroncharacter.com][2]
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/bgruener/

For more information visit my website and search for episode #17.

Barb’s Blog: The Corner on Character

E 16: So, You Want to Start your Own School? (with Tom Hudock)

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You are in for a real treat! I am here with Tom Hudock, a successful entrepreneur, a non-profit founder, a father, and business advisor. He is the co-founder of Rethink Thinking, a non-profit making change in the world of education and he has also founded Arc Academy school based on the inquiry-based learning model.

You can find him @tomhudock on twitter and Instagram and by searching Tom Hudock on facebook or teach Arc Academy to get connected on social media.

In this conversation, we discuss :

-Actionable ways to rethink education in this uncertain world

-The key to keeping students engaged and passionate about their own learning

-How to overcome challenges and fear of failure whether you’re starting a new business or helping students to adopt a growth mindset

-The importance of cultivating environments that sustain and support mental wellness

Hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did!

A message from ARC Academy School:

“We are bringing inquiry-based, interdisciplinary learning to our community but what does this mean? Learn how we see the differences or download the chart to read at your convenience (on their website)

Opening a progressive inquiry middle school takes a very committed community, and becoming a part of the family also has its privileges. Each Founding Family instantly celebrated the victory of ensuring this type of independent school education was available for their child. Our hearts go out to these families with the utmost gratitude.”

To find out more or register for ARC click here.

About Tom Hudock:

I’ve been fortunate to have amazing people be a part of my life – it has helped me pursue my passions. I’ve started a couple companies, latest passion is Reinfluence Marketing – http://reinfluenceinc.com, and have worked with people in various industries on business transformation, sales/marketing, and startup initiatives. My diverse background has given me a unique perspective on business and Making It Happen (MIH).

Entrepreneurship is my #2 passion (family comes first). I enjoy talking about business and sharing stories but I really want to make successful businesses, whether they be mine or helping others create an environment for success.

Currently, my focus is on building a branding/marketing business. I’m putting everything I can into businesses that need strategy and execution with the latest marketing methods. We help build brands with compelling advertising.

In the past, I’ve consulted for executives, business teams and individuals looking for ways of solving their problematic situation. Whether it was rescuing a failing project or helping take a new initiative to implementation, I have a proven track record for delivering on customer expectations. I’ve delivered $25 million dollar business/technology projects to smaller management consulting gigs to mentoring startups.

Specialties: Marketing and Branding
Business Development, Project Management, Business Analysis
Performance Management and Business Intelligence

 

E 13: How to Build Resilience in Our Students: Actionable Ways to Help Students Develop Grit, Growth Mindset, and Confidence in the Face of Adversity (with Dr. Jillian Roberts)

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Have you ever found yourself puzzling over fostering resilience in our students but felt at a loss about how to get there? Well, you’re in for a treat. My remarkable guest describes through animated and relatable storytelling how to do just that by developing grit, growth mindset, and confidence within our students.

Here is her favourite quote by Goethe: “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back — concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

Dr. Jillian Roberts is a renowned child psychologist, author, professor and parent. She earned her PhD at age 26, became an associate professor at the University of Victoria at 32, and shortly after became the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Education. During this time, Dr. Roberts built one of Victoria, B.C.’s most successful child psychology practices.

Considered a go-to child psychology expert for journalists, Dr. Roberts’ work has appeared in the New York Times and the Toronto Sun; she is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post Canada, the CBC and Global News. Her best-selling series of children’s books was released in 2016 to international acclaim. In early 2017, Dr. Roberts co-founded Family Sparks to offer families a supportive, resource-rich community to help them navigate our increasingly complicated world.
For more information visit my website and search for episode # 13.

http://www.drjillianroberts.com

https://familysparks.com