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Stories of change
Episode 12819th March 2024 • The Happy Entrepreneur • The Happy Startup School
00:00:00 00:54:50

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The master storyteller. One of the most valuable things we’ve learned from him is about stories of change and how stories can motivate our own action and mobilise others.

Story of Self, Story of Us, Story of Now.

This approach to stories is a way to activate change in the world that is aligned to who we (entrepreneurial changemakers) are and what we need.

In the world of business we can spend too much time and energy talking about what we do and how we do it, and don’t give enough thought to who we really want to serve and why it’s important to us.

Crafting great stories helps us refocus on what matters. And it's always best done in community.

By telling our stories and hearing the stories of others we gently discover our place in this world and create connections with people who can support us.

Powerful stories, well told, define purpose, inspire possibility and nurture deep relationships. They invite people to imagine and to contribute, and they offer a sense of belonging to a bigger narrative of change.

What story are you telling yourself, and what story will you be telling the world? And how will these stories benefit your work... and your life?

On this episode, Laurence and Carlos are joined by Lana Jelenjev, to share their Story of Change Canvas. It's a tool they’ve developed for their Vision 20/20 programme to help participants get more clarity and confidence about the directions they're embarking on.

Hopefully it will inspire you to bring more storytelling into your life so that you can connect more with yourself, with others and with the purpose you've been in search of.

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Carlos:

There's this quote that I found, from the Wild Edge of Sorrow.

Carlos:

And I think the author is Francis Weller.

Carlos:

If you wanna have a look for it and the quote goes, I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I've lived just to the length of it.

Carlos:

I want to have lived the width of it as well.

Lana:

Yeah.

Lana:

For, for me, what, what it reminds me is an intention that I set for myself, around expansion, which was last year, how, how to expand, but not just the, the, the width, but for this year I'm invited re-rooting as my one word.

Lana:

What was also the depths?

Lana:

And now how can I, how can I grow down?

Laurence:

Mm-Hmm.

Lana:

So the, the quote that you're sharing is just, not just about, yeah, scaling or growing up, but also how can I grow deeper in whatever practice that I have, um, in, in whatever connections that I form.

Lana:

So it's so that life is not just about, you know, a continuous innovation, but rather continuous integration.

Laurence:

Damn.

Laurence:

I wish I went first.

Laurence:

I think it's ultimately about the impact you make in the time you have, isn't it?

Laurence:

How you make people feel.

Laurence:

You know, that feeling you bring to someone, that feeling you bring to your work, that depth that you can bring to it, that level of care, that level of human humanity.

Laurence:

I think that's, I think what I take from that quote is, yeah, it's not about how long you're here for, it is, it is about what you do in that time.

Laurence:

And again, not needing to make impact or create things for the sake of it, but just because you love doing it and you love being around people and you love following your heart and following what's true to you.

Laurence:

So, it can be hard at the moment to, to survive for people.

Laurence:

And that's the challenge, isn't it?

Laurence:

We all wanna do things that we wanna do, but we all have to pay the bills, and we get through the week and we get through the month, and we get through the year and we feel better.

Laurence:

But, um, yeah, it's always great to bring it back to that sense of why are we here?

Carlos:

So I got Covid two years ago, and after that I lost my sense of smell.

Carlos:

And so when I have a meal, I have a narrow experience.

Carlos:

I have salt, sweet, sour, bitter.

Carlos:

That's the only experience I have.

Carlos:

And Laurence will know this.

Carlos:

I loved food.

Lana:

Mm-Hmm.

Carlos:

I would, to the extent I would criticize food and I would go.

Carlos:

Oh my God, this is amazing.

Carlos:

And I, I would have a broad experience of food.

Carlos:

I would have all the subtle flavors, whether they were pleasant or unpleasant.

Carlos:

I would have a meal that would make me go, this is disgusting balu, for those of you who dunno what it's, look it up, B-A-L-U-T.

Carlos:

And longganisa with rice, which is a philippina sausage, which was like, just heaven.

Carlos:

This is like my comfort food.

Carlos:

And so I think about that in terms of like, I was relating it to an emotional experience of life where you can go through it with a very narrow, safe experience where everything's fine, everything's okay.

Carlos:

But what that doesn't necessarily allow you for is the, the broad spectrum of emotions.

Carlos:

From grief to ecstasy, from joy to sadness.

Carlos:

Uh, and for me, there's this thing about living to the length of it without the width is about safety.

Carlos:

And I'm not gonna experience, I don't wanna experience the pain.

Carlos:

And so I will never experience the extreme opposite.

Laurence:

Mm-Hmm.

Carlos:

And so that quote for me is so important in terms of what story you are telling yourself about what it means to lead a good life or a life well lived, and how we then, this is part of why we're gonna talk about why stories are so powerful and how we start using them in a way that help us rather than just clever marketing.

Carlos:

The way we'd like to just share and talk about it is we want to first introduce this idea of the story of Change Canvas.

Carlos:

That is something that we've developed over the past couple of years of running the vision 2020 program.

Carlos:

I'm gonna say where it's, why it's there, why we use it, what we do, and then how it works.

Carlos:

And we'll share a little picture of, of the actual canvas itself..

Carlos:

And then we'll go on to maybe just sharing our own experiences of why we found stories so useful, so important and, and, and what it means in terms of our lives, our businesses, and also personally in terms of how we're using them.

Carlos:

So to begin with, um, this story of change initially when we first started off a program was nothing like stories of change as such.

Carlos:

It was, it was about change more than anything else.

Lana:

Yeah.

Lana:

So when, when I got connected with, uh, Virginia Satir work on the, you know, her model of change, uh, I found it as a very easy way to find myself in the different stages, right?

Lana:

Of when was I in my, um, comfort zone, my current status quo, and what did you know, what happened in my life?

Lana:

What transpired that, uh, took me out of that comfort zone and got me into a space of chaos?

Lana:

And from that space of chaos, how did I experiment?

Lana:

How did I do things differently?

Lana:

Um, for me to reach a transforming idea of, oh, maybe if I do this things would be different, you know, or, or I can, you know, I can find a, a different pathway for myself.

Lana:

And then how do I, how can I integrate this new ways of being, these new ways of knowing and then, uh, these new mindsets, um, and practice them so that I get to a new status quo.

Lana:

So this for me was like a very simple way to chart my own phases, right, of where I've gone through.

Lana:

And then it was easier to also see in terms of, but what do people need when they are in those different phases?

Laurence:

Mm-Hmm.

Lana:

Uh, it made me realize that when we're really wanting to start with who, starting with who we want to serve, that for us to acknowledge that they're in different phases, in different parts of their journey is very important.

Lana:

And that there's no one, you know, one size fits all way of attending to what they need.

Lana:

So the Satir change model, help to articulate that of what, you know, what do people really need when they're just starting in their journey, you know, which is awareness, providing them with a better, if, if we know that, if they keep on go going and, um, if they keep on doing these things, this is what they're most likely to, um, get into that awareness building is very important.

Lana:

So that it steers them into, wait a minute, you know, is this something that I have to keep on doing?

Lana:

And then if they're in that space of chaos, why acceptance is very important so that they can be able to really sink in and land with, oh yeah, my previous life is no longer there, or it's not something that I can return to, then how can I then integrate it into new ways of being?

Lana:

So for me, I, I, I found it as a, as a very simple tool to help us, not just to understand who, where they are at in your journey, but to also really think of ways in how can we best support them in wherever they are in their journey of change.

Carlos:

It is quite a simple tool, um, in terms of to get an understanding of it, but we still found that it was difficult for people to really sink into and, and, and grapple with.

Laurence:

Yeah.

Laurence:

Well, I think looking back, probably the mistake we made was we, we introduced it as a way for people to really get clear on who they're trying to serve.

Laurence:

Like you said, start with who, start with who you wanna serve and understand where they're at in their journey.

Laurence:

I think that works well.

Laurence:

If you know your, who, your who is, the challenge is, if you are still un unclear about that, maybe you know what your path is, what your direction of travel is, maybe even what you wanna create, but the exact audience for it is still in flux.

Laurence:

It's still uncertain.

Laurence:

And so it felt like people hit a bit of a speed bump if they weren't clear on that to start to then think about this satir change curve and where people were out on that journey.

Laurence:

So I guess what we tried to do, which I'm sure we'll talk about, is get people to actually reflect on their own journey and where, like Lana said, she could see herself in this model.

Laurence:

And so that's a, a lesson for us was to maybe get people to think about a journey that they are more familiar with, which is their own journey, rather than that of the person they might wanna serve.

Carlos:

And so there was this model around personal transformation, personal change.

Carlos:

There's a, a lot of theory around it and is, there's a lot of deep work around it.

Carlos:

And one of the things that we're trying to do, not only Vision 2020, but the Happy Startup School, is to bring these tools to people in the most accessible way possible, in a way that you can pick it up and you can use it and go on.

Carlos:

And for those of you who might Google the Satir change model now, or have a look at it, it, it's a, it's a line that goes down and up.

Carlos:

It's like a curve and then that little dip, this little value of despair, the chaos is where people are like, ah, I dunno what to do.

Carlos:

So Laurence and I, whether we were running the web design agency or whether, whether we were starting with Happy Startup School with that, how can we make things simple so that people, when they are like, oh, I dunno what to do, it's just like, just do this, just do this, trust us.

Carlos:

And so.

Carlos:

We've learned about storytelling.

Carlos:

Um, we've found it very powerful, very useful.

Carlos:

There is this model which is very sophisticated and can give you a lot of insight.

Carlos:

We wanted to combine those two things in a way that harness the power of storytelling and harness the depth that the Satir change model can actually give you in terms of understanding.

Carlos:

And to do it in a way that you could just simply within 30 minutes have something done.

Carlos:

'cause we're busy people and we don't have a lot of time to navel gaze and spin out.

Carlos:

So what I'm gonna do now is just share with you, uh, how, what it looks like so you at least get a feel for how we're tackling this.

Carlos:

There's six boxes that we just asked you to fill in, and they've got little prompts.

Carlos:

The two key areas I think to start off with is, uh, well, firstly to zoom out the context, this canvas is position for you to think about changes that you have gone through in your past.

Carlos:

And we, the reason why we start off with this is that you got all the information you need to be able to tell that story.

Carlos:

And the challenge we used to have when we're trying to get people to understand this process is we'd try and get them to think about like a customer or a person they wanted to serve.

Carlos:

And many people would be at a stage where they're not, either not sure who to start with, or they've got lots of different types of people that they wanna work with.

Carlos:

So even just to learn this process was hard.

Carlos:

So we thought, okay, let's start with you rather than start with who.

Carlos:

Start with you.

Carlos:

And the first thing to start is where were you when you started off this change or this transformation, and where did you get to?

Carlos:

You know, those are the two simple things.

Carlos:

It's like, what is the A to B?

Carlos:

What is the shift that you are talking to?

Carlos:

What is the shift that you can celebrate or you can, uh, share that other people will relate to?

Carlos:

And, and also that makes sense to you as a, like a big or a significant, it doesn't have to be big, but a significant change in your life.

Carlos:

And then it's the process after that is after you defined where you were and where you got to.

Carlos:

Is, what was that journey?

Carlos:

What was that process for you?

Carlos:

And the four different stages that we talk about is what drove the change?

Carlos:

What was the, started you thinking of transformation that you needed to get to a different space, a different level, whatever that meant.

Carlos:

Then of course there will be hurdles and challenge.

Carlos:

There were hurdles and challenges in a way.

Carlos:

Like what were they?

Carlos:

What stuff, what resistance did you come up against?

Carlos:

And these could be lack of resources.

Carlos:

They could be situations, external forces, or they could be internal forces, limiting beliefs.

Carlos:

And to be able to articulate those well, just to think about and reflect on them.

Carlos:

Then it's, to get over those hurdles, you would've had some help, most of the time.

Carlos:

Something would've changed.

Carlos:

You would've learned something, you would've met someone, something would've triggered you or facilitated you getting over these, these blockages.

Carlos:

But then there's people telling you something, sharing something, you discovering something, and then there's acting on it.

Carlos:

And then there's like doing the work in order to get to the next stage.

Carlos:

And there was a commitment that you made.

Carlos:

And so what you did are the steps you took, the commitments you made to get to the place you wanted to get to.

Carlos:

And what we found doing it ourselves, sharing it with others is such a useful way to make sense of some of the messy stuff that we go through in life.

Carlos:

And it's such an amazing way to connect to other people, ' cause they see their story in your story, and then they're encouraged to write their own story.

Lana:

I, I would like to add that this, this also helps people understand, you know, who you are now that makes it also trust, for people to trust you and to get to know you.

Lana:

So this is, this is an exercise that allows for people to attune with your experiences, and at the same time get to also sense it for themselves of, oh yeah, this, this story makes sense, or this person's credible.

Lana:

Uh, so it gives that credibility as well as a professional, as an individual, because of its relatedness to experiences or their stories and perhaps the questions that they're grappling with or the situation that they, they're in, them seeing themselves in your story, it helps to, to, to not just connect, but also to create that budding trust in that relationship.

Laurence:

There's another version of this where we get people to look ahead and obviously we work with people who are trying to make some change happen.

Laurence:

And what I found when people work through this and just picking a time in their life, so it doesn't have to be a huge change, it can be quite a small change, for them to realize that actually they've made changes in the past, some big, some small, they've accomplished things.

Laurence:

They've found courage and belief and confidence to, to make changes.

Laurence:

And often I think where we feel a bit stuck or in a bit of a funk, we can be really hard on ourselves thinking, oh, I've always been here.

Laurence:

I wanna get there.

Laurence:

I never get there and, and sort of punish ourselves for that lack of progress.

Laurence:

But actually, if we look back and start to think about these times in our past where we have made changes, we actually give ourselves more credit and we sometimes can actually feel more accepting of where we're at now on the basis that this might take time and I'll get there and I've done it before and I can do it again.

Laurence:

So it's that reassurance almost that your past self is giving you, that change is a constant and you're never probably as stuck as you think you are.

Carlos:

Yeah.

Carlos:

I think on top of that, sometimes the completion of a project, a goal or getting somewhere new feels quite messy and intractable and just, it's hard to know what to do next.

Carlos:

And I think this practice of just trying to break it down into some of these elements, you know, and they're not, it's not perfect in terms of, you know, you the, what drove the change might also get us in the way.

Carlos:

Get in the way.

Carlos:

You know, the, you know, it isn't like as simple as as that, but I think having some way of just unpicking the spaghetti just decomposing the soup of stuff in your head, and even just articulating.

Carlos:

And one of the things that we, you know, another philosophy behind our work is thingifying.

Carlos:

Putting into words, putting into pictures, putting into objects, making tangible these ideas and thoughts in our head, because by thingifying, we have to break them down, we have to turn them into just some sense of feelings and thoughts, but words and, and, uh, objects that then can potentially turn into action.

Carlos:

And so there's is pr having this practice on ourselves, which helps make more sense of why we were, well, why, where we're at or where we want to get to.

Carlos:

But then realizing that this can also be used to understand others and to tell a story that others could relate to that isn't just a jumble of thoughts and ideas and, and emotions and feelings.

Carlos:

There's, there's a, a narrative, a structure.

Carlos:

And I think that's for me is a, I I find really useful around the storytelling thing is like, I think there's good stories and there's bad storytellers, and there's bad stories and great storytellers.

Carlos:

And it's like, what are the elements of not only a good story, but the way it's told that that really communicates what's needed to be communicate.

Carlos:

So yeah, I think for me, there, there's, there's, I wanted to touch on four things that I, I value about storytelling.

Carlos:

There's structure or like good storytelling.

Carlos:

There's a clear structure to, to try and tell a story and follow.

Carlos:

There's an experience that it creates.

Carlos:

So it isn't just information that's being fed to me.

Carlos:

I'm experiencing the story.

Carlos:

And that experiencing could also create connection between myself and the person who's sharing the story.

Carlos:

For the person who's sharing the story, and hopefully the person who's hearing it makes meaning.

Carlos:

It starts to create sense in what seems like a completely random journey of life and business and work.

Laurence:

Well, I think particularly you've alluded to this, this idea of connection, connection with others.

Laurence:

So we see this in our body groups, in the vision tribe, that so many elements of our story other people can relate to and that resonate with them, and that creates connection because there might be some serendipitous journey that you've been on that actually other people have been part of in some way.

Laurence:

And so it just creates that shared experience, that shared understanding.

Laurence:

And particularly if you're trying to create a new story for yourself, which again, takes courage and can be scary, a lot of the other people around you in your life might not understand what that's like and might not be as clear about that.

Laurence:

And so to be with other people who've been on this change journey before, who can relate to where you're at now, and or also trying to craft a new story for themselves, it's just reassuring, I think, to know that even just that you're not alone without even trying to fix anything, just to know that okay,

Laurence:

other people are asking themselves similar questions and not just sitting with their past story, but actually trying to create a new one for themselves.

Laurence:

And it's just more fun to do it together than it is to battle with this alone.

Laurence:

And we found by people presenting this to the group, by people presenting it to us as their guides, it just becomes clearer by saying it out loud as well.

Lana:

There, there's a component here that is very individual for me, which is, uh, the, the not doing it on your own part.

Lana:

Um, in, in sharing our stories, we also share how we're supported by others, right?

Laurence:

Mm-Hmm.

Lana:

Who are, were our are in our circle of relationships that has allowed for us to shift, that has allowed for us to get into this transformative state.

Lana:

And for me that that is also something to surface, yeah, that as we go through change, uh, it's very crucial also to know, to notice and to acknowledge that there are people around us who are cheerleading us and supporting us in this process.

Carlos:

One of the things I always struggled with stories and people who told stories is they weren't always true in the sense of, I, I've come to the understanding, I always thought stories had to be factually correct, but I've discovered actually they don't have to say everything.

Carlos:

They don't have to be exactly what happened.

Carlos:

A, from a psychological point of view that the, our remembering selves, as I understand it, can be very different to our experiencing selves.

Carlos:

But also the purpose of the story isn't necessarily to detail exactly what happened, it's to communicate some deeper message maybe for yourself, if not for other people.

Carlos:

And to, in my, you know, one sense, even teach an idea, to share a, a possibility as opposed to, like, being an instruction manual to life.

Carlos:

And I think of like, you have the classic Ikea instruction manual, step one, step two, step three, step four.

Carlos:

And I think you see this a lot in business and a lot in, you know, the follow my six step program, do this A, B, and C.

Carlos:

It's like this, like real need for certainty around, all right, this is, this is all you have to do, which, you know, to a certain extent that we're doing here, but the purpose of a story is to, in this case, make me realize, ah, that's what happened.

Laurence:

Mm-Hmm.

Carlos:

That's what happened to me.

Carlos:

That's why I did this.

Carlos:

This is why, where I am, where I am, and these are the key points of this story, the important bits.

Carlos:

Even though there's lots of other things that I missed out, these are the key things that mean something to me and give me confidence that I got here for a reason as opposed to just a complete random set of events.

Carlos:

And so, yeah, I was just thinking, just reflecting that this is a, an really useful tool to just help us get our own clarity, which I think is one of the most fundamental things we're finding by doing this work about building a business that excites you is actually what is that business supposed to do, not only in terms of for other people, but for you.

Carlos:

And so storytelling is, seems to be so core to this process of clarity.

Laurence:

Becky's raised a question there, isn't it, in terms of a use case for this, that it might be an interesting way to tell the stories of the people that we serve.

Laurence:

So whether that's in the form of a testimonial or even just trying to better understand people's lives and worlds.

Laurence:

I think.

Laurence:

So the empathy of, I'm not just selling to someone, I'm not just broadcasting to them, I'm trying to build connection with them.

Laurence:

And so maybe there's elements of my story that connect with them, but by trying to understand their story better, I can definitely, like Lana said, understand maybe what products or services could be of use to them given they might be in a certain situation, whether that's chaos or otherwise.

Laurence:

But also, um, yeah, what stories I wanna tell to them to attract them based on where they're at now.

Laurence:

And so that's why, like we said at the start, this tool, the Satir change model, which is inspired by, is one that can really help us tune into who we wanna work with and.

Laurence:

And where we wanna help them.

Laurence:

But I think by starting with our own story, we just create that shared understanding, that shared reality, which I think is sometimes missing when we just talk about what we do, talk about what it is, talk about the product, so detach ourselves from it, there's no emotion behind it, there's no, like you said, storytelling behind it.

Laurence:

And so bringing back that ancient craft almost of storytelling to business, I think is so key to this.

Carlos:

So Becky was asking about, or saying that she might use it as a format to interview clients.

Carlos:

I think it's a really interesting way to structure a testimonial, and there's two levels I think it can be very useful.

Carlos:

but one level it can help a client who's just worked with you, really appreciate the value that they've got.

Carlos:

Because if they can tell this story of they were here and then they're there and it made complete sense that what they did and now they, they're at a place that they wanted to be.

Laurence:

Mm-hmm.

Carlos:

And it's the right place, then that's great for them.

Carlos:

It made sense of this whole journey and the investment they made.

Carlos:

And so they'll come, come away from you feeling good about it as opposed as feeling meh, what did I get from there?

Carlos:

Because they haven't had a chance to reflect.

Carlos:

And the other aspect of this is like, you know, this is a thing.

Carlos:

I don't think many of us, I'm guilty of this, spend enough time not only reflecting, but putting those reflection down in a way that I can look at it again and say, ah, I remember that now I know what happened there.

Carlos:

And if you can help a client do that, to make sense, and then them allow you to share that story that then can relate to other people, it becomes an amazing testimonial.

Carlos:

Not only just, uh, I got this and I've made a six figure income.

Carlos:

It's like I went through this real difficulty to the extent of like, I really didn't want to work with Becky because of A, B, and C, but what helped me get through that was C, D and E, and now I'm so hap so much happier for doing it.

Laurence:

So with the, customer bit, it would be where I wanted to get to and actually where I got to, and it might be those things that are different.

Laurence:

It might be that the thing you helped 'em with or where they got to is actually not where they thought they would be, but way more valuable.

Laurence:

And in, in their words, rather than your words as a provider of a service.

Laurence:

And so, um, I've actually found this useful as a tool just to, so we have like sales calls for the program or even Alptitude, like a lot of the people we meet at are at a crossroads at Turning Point.

Laurence:

And I've found these prompts really useful as a way to structure a conversation to get a sense of where people are at and, and to reflect that back to them and people seem to really value that.

Laurence:

Because we don't, like you said, we just don't spend enough time, talking about these things, documenting it, but in some ways it feels almost like a ritual, certainly for a period that it might have passed.

Laurence:

To be able to just close that and to have a way to acknowledge that can be quite powerful.

Lana:

And, and I also see this as a, a, a very powerful tool to mine the gold, right?

Lana:

Of the experiences, the live experiences that we've been through of what is, you know, what, what are elements of this experiences that we can really harvest and dig in and say, ah, okay, you know, these are the, the areas where I grew, these are the parts that I learned.

Lana:

And, and then how can we bring that in so that it becomes part of our everyday lives?

Lana:

So this, this is, for me, it's really a strength based approach wherein it helps to identify how I've grown in this period and what I can bring in moving forward.

Lana:

This is also why, like what you said, Laurence, it can be like a ritual of, hey, maybe doing this every six months to say where, where, where I was in, you know, six months ago and where I got that.

Lana:

So there's a way of collecting and even space to the goal that we've experienced in lives.

Carlos:

Um, Becky reminded me of, uh, podcasts that, uh, I recorded for the Happy Pricing course around generating testimonials.

Carlos:

Um, and is very linked to this idea of getting, getting your customers to express the value that they've received in their own words.

Carlos:

And the thing I remember, well, the thing I got most from that is don't leave it up to them to do it.

Carlos:

Help them, you know, to the extent of just having a conversation, recording it, writing it up for them, sharing it with 'em.

Carlos:

If they like it, you share it, you know, you ask them permission to use it.

Carlos:

But, you know, sometimes it's, it's hard for someone.

Carlos:

One of the things we repeat a lot on the program is, uh, you can't see the label when you're inside the bottle.

Carlos:

And actually as a, as a, particularly as a coach or a mentor, um, or a consultant, you know, it's a, I think there's a massive element of value that you can create by telling the story of someone else or teasing it out, helping them get it out of them.

Carlos:

A because they don't have time to do it on their own.

Carlos:

B, they don't necessarily have the skills to do it and or the structure to do it on their own.

Carlos:

And c it's such a connecting experience to do it with other people.

Carlos:

And so there is such a, I think, a really, joyful aspect of, of the work we do when we look at people as story creators while they're working with us.

Laurence:

Yeah.

Laurence:

And it's, as you said, it's so much more fun doing it together.

Laurence:

I think that's one thing that surprised me about the program particular is how much people love contributing to other people's journeys and stories and feeling connected to them even way beyond the program.

Laurence:

So knowing that you might have played a small part in someone else's stories is really empowering.

Laurence:

And actually, like you said, because we're so close to our own thing, if we just spend a few minutes getting outside of our head and helping other people, that actually sometimes helps us go back a bit clearer ourselves.

Laurence:

Or maybe we said something that we needed to hear ourselves, but we didn't realize we had the wisdom we needed.

Carlos:

I think another aspect I, I'd wanted to offer about full and in my experience of storytelling is the first pass is never the best one.

Carlos:

And actually it always changes and refined.

Carlos:

The same story just seems to evolve and I, I find a bit, a little bit more meaning in it.

Carlos:

I, I kind of get closer to what the thread is.

Carlos:

And so there's, when using this canvas or having a go at it, I, I found the best way to start was to just brain dump.

Carlos:

Try not to focus too much on a narrative.

Carlos:

Um, I think Anya quoted Brene Brown as stories of just data with soul.

Carlos:

I think first we need to do the data harvesting before you actually find the souly bit.

Carlos:

Unless you're practiced at it.

Carlos:

Unless you are someone who's done a lot of storytelling and you can just pick out straight away the narrative and then, you know, thread it all together.

Carlos:

But if you are like me at the beginning of this, it's like stories had to be great from the beginning and you had to get it perfect.

Carlos:

Actually, no, the best stories, as I'm realizing come not from the creation, but from the editing, it's like that first everything and all the information there, that's, yeah, that's just gonna be a mess.

Carlos:

It's the editing and editing and editing and that, and refining that I've found is where the real story comes.

Lana:

And there's also a, a very big benefit of hearing yourself share the story, right?

Lana:

The articulation and yeah, just, just having that experience of being heard by other senior stories, and how it creates that fuel of, oh yeah, maybe there are some pieces that I can add into it based from where, you know, where people resonated, what that people resonated with or where you were by then.

Lana:

Anything.

Lana:

But also,

Carlos:

So I thought, to end off, we could model.

Carlos:

Live, a bit of the, how we would use the storytelling canvas or the story of change canvas, I should say, to give people a bit of a, well, an insight into us a little bit into little parts of our lives, but also just the flavor of different ways to use this.

Carlos:

So that, um, yeah, it is not about, oh, we've got these boxes, you know, what does it mean?

Carlos:

And like Becky was saying, what's the context?

Carlos:

How do I actually use this?

Carlos:

It's like, okay, we can hopefully share you, share with you, uh, some of the context that, that we think this, this canvas can sit in.

Laurence:

I've found it useful as a way to think about change in terms of habits.

Laurence:

And so my story is really about becoming a vegetarian probably about four or five years ago.

Laurence:

And it wasn't like I was someone who thought, I'm never gonna eat meat again, I wanna become a vegetarian.

Laurence:

It's a life goal.

Laurence:

It was more just actually I wanted to make a change.

Laurence:

I wanted to, well, actually it came, it came about, so it really started from what drove this change for me, so that was, that was the catalyst, the, the starting point for this was a couple of things.

Laurence:

One was my wife had been vegetarian for a long time, or just a really bad meat eater.

Laurence:

She didn't really like meat, but she had it for a long time and then realized she didn't like it.

Laurence:

And so as the main cook in the house, I found that I ended up cooking lots of different meals and with a fussy child, possibly two or three different meals every night.

Laurence:

So from a practical point of view, it would make sense for me to be vegetarian.

Laurence:

Then we went on the trip to Ashram in India, me and Carlos and a group of people we took out to this retreat probably, I'm trying to think when it was now.

Laurence:

2017?

Laurence:

2018.

Carlos:

Mm-Hmm.

Laurence:

Yeah, something like that.

Laurence:

About five years ago.

Laurence:

And we went on the sideboard tour of Mumbai early in the morning before it got too hot, which was magical in lots of ways.

Laurence:

Um, and then we got to the meat market, which was less magical from my eyes, and it was just a bit barbaric.

Laurence:

It was like walking into Anir at six in the morning and the stench and the blood, and I think Kim was there filming it in slow mo on this camera with the meat cleavers flying and the flesh flying out.

Laurence:

So that was bad.

Laurence:

And then the sort of wheelbarrow has been wheeled in with like dead carcasses everywhere.

Laurence:

And in the midst of it was bizarre.

Laurence:

There was this like, live, really healthy looking goat just stood there as if he'd like, you know, come down from heaven.

Laurence:

And it was just a stench of death and all around him I was like, oh my God, this is really the final nail of the coffin for me with meat eating.

Laurence:

So that was my kind of catalyst.

Laurence:

I would say, what drove the change was like, okay, maybe, maybe this isn't for me in the future.

Laurence:

So I came back, uh, Tams was very supportive and what helped me was really one thing that helped me was not saying I'm never gonna eat meat again.

Laurence:

It was just like, I'm just gonna try it for Monday, I'm gonna try it for Tuesday, I'm gonna try it for Wednesday.

Laurence:

And the idea of tiny habits, trying things small.

Laurence:

And I found that I actually loved the creative part process of having to reinvent how I cooked.

Laurence:

And so the thing that got in my way was more limiting beliefs because my mom's a strong influence.

Laurence:

I was brought up with an Irish Catholic background.

Laurence:

Meat was part of every meal.

Laurence:

So, uh, that was a challenge, was navigating those stories actually of like, why are you doing this?

Laurence:

Yeah.

Laurence:

You need meat.

Laurence:

You, you're not gonna, you need to eat meat, otherwise you'll, you'll collapse and you'll die of, uh, exhaustion.

Laurence:

Um, so working through that and actually getting to a place where I just love cooking now, and it's not to say meat being vegetarian is the best thing in the world or good for everyone, but for me it is just helped me be more creative, enjoy cooking and, and actually cook less meals each night.

Lana:

Yeah.

Lana:

And, and, and I don't see that as a, you know, as a small story, but like with said, Laurence, it's, it's a habit changing.

Lana:

. And, uh, if, if there's something that's so difficult to take out, right, it's, it's our habits.

Lana:

So for, to be able to shift, it's amazing to hear that story.

Lana:

Um, I can go next.

Lana:

So, so where I was, uh, where I was, was I was 37.

Lana:

I was ready to go back to a career for myself after being more of a full-time mom and, uh, having adjusted to living, uh, here in the Netherlands.

Lana:

And knowing that my kids were a bit older and I have more time to myself and rethinking of what would that next chapter in my life look like?

Lana:

And then I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 37.

Lana:

And, uh, our kids were five and seven years old at that time.

Lana:

And I, I really remember that the, the, that night when, um, I was crying my, my heart out to my husband, given that my mom passed away from me to start with breast cancer at the age of 49.

Lana:

And I was just crying and, uh, you know, all snots, everything.

Lana:

And I was there, my, oh, I don't want to die without the kids knowing who I am.

Lana:

And my husband just called me, said, Hey, but what would you want them to remember you by?

Lana:

And I just kept on crying and said, I dunno.

Lana:

And that started me off of if I, myself don't know and how I'd want my kids to, to get to know me and get to understand who I am as an individual, what I do, who I want to serve, you know, what impact that I want to, to create in the world, if I don't know that, how else would other people do that?

Lana:

So that started me all in, experimenting in, in a sense of seeing my life as a one, you know, one big experiment that helped me to really tune in with my needs.

Lana:

Uh, that got me into training in nonviolent communication.

Lana:

So that was a bit transformative for myself to understand, oh, I have needs.

Lana:

There were points that what got in a way was really shifting a lot of the practices.

Lana:

Like I remember the first time that I told my kids, mommy's not available.

Lana:

And being a Filipino and, you know, being a mom, it's like, that's something that you don't say, you're always 24 7, available, especially to your kids.

Lana:

So, so for me, even just that, there's just that aspect of setting boundaries was something that was, uh, different.

Lana:

Um, not just setting boundaries, but also really checking in with myself.

Lana:

Uh, I, I did this practice of, uh, I, I had an alarm nine o'clock, 12 o'clock, 6:00 PM and whenever that alarm goes, there's just a question, how are you doing, Lana?

Lana:

How do you feel?

Lana:

And, and, and it's a moment for me to just really check in with what's alive inside of me.

Lana:

So these are, there, there are things that I'm, like very new practices that I didn't know how to do yet.

Lana:

What was helpful was I got a lot of support from my husband, you know, from, from him knowing that I needed this time and space, not just to heal, but also to learn about myself.

Lana:

Um, I got support from my kids.

Lana:

Uh, I remember there was one, one time our son, because he, he asked me question like, mama, what are you doing when there's an alarm?

Lana:

And I said, I'm checking in with myself.

Lana:

And we even had, uh, feelings and needs cards in our toilet.

Lana:

So they it on the toilet.

Lana:

And there's a question there, you know, how are you feeling?

Lana:

So e everybody who goes to our toilet at that time, they know that they are there to check in with themselves.

Lana:

So, so the kids learned that language of checking in.

Lana:

And one time our son was just came out from school and said, mama, when I go from school, I'm gonna check in with you.

Lana:

How are you doing?

Lana:

And he did that, and he still does that every morning when he wakes up, uh, he would check in with me, how, how, how did you sleep?

Lana:

How are you doing?

Lana:

What are you feeling?

Lana:

Um, so that, that, that's the, the type of support that I got, not just with my family, but also with people that I got connected with.

Lana:

Um, I realized that part of that filtering that happened was also filtering people.

Lana:

Um, there were people in, in my, you know, my life before breast cancer that I had to say goodbye to because it no longer serve the relationship and the boundaries that I was putting for myself.

Lana:

Um, so this, really, strengthening connection is something that I did, um, during that period.

Lana:

And it also helped me to really think about who do I want to spend my time and my energy with?

Lana:

Especially when you're going through chemotherapy where you don't have energy, it it, it makes you realize of yeah, given this very pre precious energy, who would I want to, you know, who would I want to spend it with?

Lana:

Who would I want to nourish that time with?

Lana:

So, keeping also a, a good, I would say reflection.

Lana:

That's how I created that Circles of connection framework to really help me identify who do I want to, to be close to?

Lana:

Who do I want to nourish relationships with?

Lana:

Who do I want to collaborate with?

Lana:

And where I got to is I met amazing individuals, you know, like Carlos and Laurence.

Lana:

Um, it's amazing.

Lana:

Laurence, by the way, I haven't met in person yet.

Lana:

And we've been working for three years now together.

Lana:

Um, and Carlos, you met and not just once.

Lana:

And for me, that, that, that makes it life fascinating to be able to collaborate with, um, like-hearted and like-minded people, uh, people who are also very much in tuned with themselves and the change that they want to do with the world.

Lana:

It makes it life very nourishing.

Lana:

And it also got me to a place where, um, healing is not just healing the, the body, but also really healing the soul.

Lana:

Uh, it made me reframe a lot of mindsets and made me also realize how I want to show up in the world.

Lana:

And, um.

Lana:

Lately it, it even got into a sense of being, uh, an Asian, you know, a brown woman in a predominantly white society.

Lana:

Uh, being here in Europe, I also represent the voices of, you know, my ancestry, my, uh, my people.

Lana:

So it helped me to also think of it as, okay, I'm not just wanting to leave a legacy behind, but I need to live a legacy that, that, um, my kids and my family and my friends are, are proud of.

Lana:

So that has been a practice and a journey for me.

Carlos:

I feel like it's going to be a bit of a Goldilocks moment.

Carlos:

Like, we had a small story, we had a big story.

Carlos:

Now we're gonna have a medium sized story.

Laurence:

Just right,

Carlos:

just right.

Carlos:

Um, so this is for me a story of change in terms of change of identity.

Carlos:

Uh, and change of, perception of possibility.

Carlos:

So where I was, uh, we were running the digital agency Spook Studio, uh, 10 years ago.

Carlos:

I was a developer, technical architect.

Carlos:

I could, I could build stuff with technology.

Carlos:

Laurence would design something, uh, whether it's a, uh, an interface or a process, and then I would look to make it happen using technology.

Carlos:

And that was something that I could do.

Carlos:

I was wedded to this idea of being able to do it well, but I wasn't passionate about the work.

Carlos:

And the possibilities or my field of possibilities were very narrowly defined within tech.

Carlos:

How could I be the tech person?

Carlos:

And then things changed.

Carlos:

Laurence felt the need to start creating things for, for him and for us, as opposed to the clients, uh, wanted to explore something different other than just, I'm gonna put it crudely, just to a certain extent, painting by numbers, you know, being instructed to just make something, uh, because the customer was right as opposed to birthing something that he wanted to birth.

Carlos:

So he, he, showed a different path of the Happy Startup School.

Carlos:

And in absence of any clarity about where I wanted to go, and also in absence of any energy to run a digital agency of my own, then I was to a certain extent, driven to change.

Carlos:

Uh, not in a bad way, but in a, in a way that, what else was I gonna do?

Carlos:

no.

Carlos:

And not to say there wasn't something attractive or interesting it.

Carlos:

But what got in my way was like, we don't have a business model.

Carlos:

We don't know how this is actually going to scale or grow.

Carlos:

We have no idea exactly what these products are.

Carlos:

We have events and we have experiences that we are giving people, but do I wanna run events, company?

Carlos:

Do I wanna run a, uh, a travel company?

Carlos:

That's what my dad did and didn't work well for him in terms of how I felt family life went.

Carlos:

So I had some resistance about this idea of them having this path and what does it mean?

Carlos:

And, and it also included courses and programs that we were creating on things that, to be honest, I didn't really understand.

Carlos:

I kind of knew what learning meant, and I knew how to build products, but how to, you know, think about Happiness in any kind of meaningful way when it came to work, wasn't sure, had some ideas, read some books, but I had a lot of doubt as to whether this was where I want needed to be and whether this was something that was allowed to be done in terms of work.

Carlos:

And through that journey, we met some amazing people who were doing this kind of work, who were having conversations that I discovered were the conversations I always wanted to have.

Carlos:

These kind of deeper, more meaningful discussions about, not just what are we doing and how do we do it, but why are we doing it in the first place?

Carlos:

Where are we trying to get to?

Carlos:

Not in terms of power, money and status, but in terms of a sense of meaning and a wide life well lived.

Carlos:

And learning about nonviolent communication.

Carlos:

And learning about storytelling.

Carlos:

And learning about clarity and learning about other people messily, stepping forward and doing stuff that wasn't necessarily in a project plan or a business plan, but was more intuitive.

Carlos:

Learning that intuition has its place, learning that I do have intuition.

Carlos:

Learning that there is such a thing as entrepreneurship, as a spiritual journey, and that actually you could think about all of this stuff as a, as not as a way of building a business, but as learning more about yourself and what you wanna do.

Carlos:

And so with that, just doing stuff was the only way to coach before I felt ready to coach, to run programs and courses before I felt ready to run programs and courses, to go on retreats and lead a retreat before I actually knew what that meant.

Carlos:

All very scary stuff, thankfully in the company of Laurence.

Carlos:

You know, to do that with someone else, I think was the only way that it was gonna get done, not to do it on my own, because I wasn't clear.

Carlos:

But then through doing that, through working on it, through finding the stuff I didn't like, through the signing, the stuff I did like, through actually finding stuff I didn't know existed, I got to a point of like, do you know what?

Carlos:

I actually can call myself a coach and I don't have to, I don't, I haven't coded anything like eight years.

Carlos:

I haven't done any programming.

Carlos:

I went to my son's school yesterday for, to help him choose GCSEs and he wants to do computer science.

Carlos:

And I looked at it and was like, I have no idea what's going on there.

Carlos:

I really dunno.

Carlos:

And that's fine.

Carlos:

And so to get to a place now where I am not wedded to a particular industry, to actually be a bit more excited about what is possible, and actually to know what I'm excited about and what I want to do, and also to realize actually, ah, I'm not 100% clear, but 75% is fine.

Carlos:

And some of that clarity will come along the way.

Carlos:

So to do that, tell that story without a little bit of structure could have gone all the way around the houses.

Carlos:

But also that story has evolved.

Carlos:

Laurence and Line have held that story, said that story at least two or three times before.

Carlos:

And each time I've just found a little, another thread, another hook for me personally that is important.

Carlos:

Any final thoughts and words before we leave, uh, these lovely people who've, uh, shared this time with us?

Laurence:

Well, like you said, just the depth that comes from telling stories more, you know, sometimes the same stories, sometimes different stories, but, like you said, that story itself seems to have more depth to it than the first time I heard it.

Laurence:

And more meaning to you actually in terms of your role and your identity in your comfort or discomfort with change.

Lana:

And I also love that, you know, we can really fine tune the granularity in how you want to articulate the stories.

Lana:

And also pick and choose which parts of the stories for us to, to share with people.

Lana:

This is also, it goes to say that of course sharing our stories are very vulnerable and it's a very, uh, delicate and vulnerable experience.

Lana:

So also choosing who you're sharing with is very important.

Lana:

So that you, you can feel safer in sharing and in, in yeah, being able to articulate this more.

Lana:

So if you're, you know, if you're the type who feels somewhat unsettled still with this, um, with sharing your story, find people that you trust and that you love to just gather them and let them hear your story out so that you find also your voice and how, you know, the

Lana:

ways in which you want to articulate it that makes it feel safer for you and makes it feel that it's something that you can step into.

Carlos:

The things I'm taking away, or I've just been thinking about around this is like.

Carlos:

I don't have just one story, I have lots of stories, so many different stories.

Carlos:

And some are relevant in certain times and, and some aren't.

Carlos:

And also related to that, my story isn't for everyone.

Carlos:

And particularly the more focused and the more, simple the story I feel, the more people will not resonate with it, because it's very much about my own experience of a particular change and, and, and view of the world.

Carlos:

And some people won't have that view and that's okay, 'cause that story isn't for them.

Carlos:

And I feel that that's also a metaphor for the way we wanna build our businesses.

Carlos:

I think the more clear and focused we are about why we're doing what we're doing and who we're doing it for, and what we get out of it and what they get out of it, the less people who will serve.

Carlos:

And that's okay.

Carlos:

It doesn't have to serve everyone.

Carlos:

So that for me is hopefully something with help with people who, who, get lost in stories because they're trying to tell a story that will appeal to everyone.

Carlos:

It doesn't have to.

Carlos:

I like what Chris just said, is like, perhaps the story is not for them yet.

Carlos:

And I think that's a really, another, another interesting point that I think as a, as a metaphor for the business is like there's a time as well as a person and sometimes the person is there, but they're not ready yet.

Carlos:

And we've had that with Alptitude and Summer Camp and Vision 2020.

Carlos:

Been watching you, listening to you for three years now, and now I'm ready.

Carlos:

So that for me is a message to always keep telling your story.

Carlos:

Because people still want to hear it.

Carlos:

They're just not ready to act on it yet.

Laurence:

Amen.

Carlos:

Cool.

Carlos:

Um, thank you everyone have

Lana:

Carlos, excite strategy, don't forget.

Carlos:

Oh, yes.

Carlos:

The end of the story.

Carlos:

For those of you who, uh, a want to, um, download the canvas, Laurence has shared a link in the chat, uh, ahappy.link/storycanvas.

Carlos:

Um, we'll ask for your, uh, name and email address on that link because we would also believe that if you're interested in the story of change canvas, you'll be interested in with the context of that canvas is set, which is building this idea of anite strategy.

Carlos:

And creating this change in the way you work and the way you look at work and maybe even the way you look at life that you've maybe struggling with articulating.

Carlos:

There's some, you felt not quite right about how you're doing something at the moment.

Carlos:

You have some idea of what it is that could be different, but it isn't quite clear and because it's not quite clear, you're not acting.

Laurence:

Okay?

Laurence:

Thanks everyone.

Carlos:

Take care.

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