Something to Read

Outstretched hand holds a compass.
Photo by Heidi Fin on Unsplash

The idea of a hero and a guide is a key part of the storytelling framework from Donald Miller’s, “Building a Storybrand.” This book was recommended by my brilliant colleague Cecilia and what a gift it is.

Developing a message that other people actually care about can be hard – mostly because we are often trying to be the hero in our own stories. So, Miller’s recommendation to get out of the hero seat was one that has been keeping me up at night – it’s so simple, but one that is easy to forget when we are sharing our expertise with others.

Often, our stories center on what WE can offer, what OUR skills contribute, how WE can solve a problem for someone else…and on and on until we are walking in our champion parade.

Miller’s book reminded me of the age-old communication principle that it is not about US – it’s about our audience. If every message we shared started with us thinking about our audience (hero) and how we (the guide) can use our skills/expertise/resources to enfranchise and bolster our audience in their own execution, we would have audiences who felt more connected and ready to act.

Something to Hear

– Emily Thompson, Welcome to Almanac podcast
Orange poppies with a blue sky
Photo by Sergey Shmidt on Unsplash.

Emily Thompson takes us on a “Journey Through the Seasons” in her episode that was first published in early January. If you have a vision of the Disney rides where you sit passively while a review of modern technology or agricultural advances move vividly in front of you…then you have the right idea.

The message I’m going to take away most profoundly is not in how I run by business, but in how I mentally assess my productivity and work – aiming to take the approach Emily suggests for each season:

  • Spring: Awakening, Planting
  • Summer: Abundance, Expansion
  • Fall: Realization, Reaping
  • Winter: Rest, Reflection

I highly recommend this 21-minute episode during a commute or walk – listening felt like a form of meditation for me. You can find this January 8, 2024 episode of Welcome to Almanac titled, “Journey Through the Seasons” by visiting the Welcome to Almanac website or wherever you get your podcasts.

Something to Do

Practice a Positive No.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The “Positive No” is your tool for saying no – while acknowledging that it’s hard to do it. Think of it as a “No Sandwich” where the two slices of bread are “yes statements”…

  1. Affirmation – internally focused affirmation of your bigger shared interest.
  2. Establish a limit – respectfully decline
  3. Propose a new option – invite a possible agreement

Belle: “I appreciate the invitation, Beast, and know it feels good to enjoy dinner with someone else. I cannot come down for dinner tonight. If I am feeling rested tomorrow, I would be open to another invitation.”

To read more about the Positive No – check out William Ury’s The Power of a Positive No: Save the Deal, Save the Relationship – and still say No.

Something to See

Foggy day with a calm river; a seagull is perched on a boat dock.
A quiet morning on the Navasink River – and a brief hello with a seagull.

In keeping with the seasonal lessons from Welcome to Almanac (Something to Hear), this month’s photo was taken on March 6 – about 10 days before winter officially ends – at the public dock on our town. It was a foggy morning, but not particularly cold. The quiet of the water, stillness of the fog, and moment of pause of the seagull perched atop the post (do you see it?) were all reminders of the peaceful reflection that winter can offer. I’m looking forward to this spring season, but grateful for the winter and the reflection is had offered.