Rainbow Rewards Risk Taking

Sixty percent probability of rain! The weather forecast threatened to ruin our evening plans to go boating with another couple. After looking at the radar and discussing the risks, the four of us crossed our fingers that the sun would prevail and loaded onto our boat. We cruised to our favorite bay and cast our anchor. No sooner had we Continue reading

Three Steps to Spark Story Sharing in Lifestyle Counseling

Early in my career as a dietitian, I answered a panicky phone call from a participant in my weight loss program. Pat (not her real name) said, “Jean, I have a problem and really need to talk to you.” She had been a “perfect” participant: never missed class, her food diaries and exercise log showed stellar compliance, and her weight loss Continue reading

Learning from My Mistakes in Webinar-Based Storytelling

In my first professional job, I was charged with building a nutrition capability for an adult fitness/cardiac rehabilitation program. Passionate and naively optimistic, I would develop 1-page proposals for new offerings. I was particularly excited about a proposal for a new weight management course, but when the executive director, Phil, red-lined my proposal, I was devastated. Choking back tears, I Continue reading

Storlie – What’s With the Name?

People frequently ask me about my last name, “Storlie,” and my company name, “Storlietelling.” I guess it starts in grade school . . . As I set off for school with my older sister, Cindy, I heard the neighborhood kids shouting, “There’s Cindy Big Meadow!” and chanting, “Jean Big Meadow!” I shrunk away, confused and embarrassed, while Cindy went off Continue reading

Root Canal and Mink Coat: Finding Tensions in Opposites

The Chicago wind slapped my face as I stepped out of the dentist’s office on Valentine’s Day in 1989. My first root canal and no plans for a romantic evening … or any romantic prospects on the horizon … had me down. It was 3 pm and I felt lousy, so I decided to go home rather than back to Continue reading

Don’t Let Other People’s Inhibitions Stifle Your Creativity

I’ve always been an enthusiastic Halloween Mom, decorating the house for parties, sewing elaborate costumes, hosting my kids’ friends for pizza before trick-or-treating, and inviting all the “spirited souls” (young and old) to join the fun. Sometimes, I even go over-the-top! Halloween Night when my son was 11 years old, he was the last of my kids to have friends Continue reading

“Stationwagon Trouble”: Stories to Convey Rather Than Convince

My dad loaded the last pieces of luggage into the back of the station wagon. While spreading sleeping bags on top of the cooler and suitcases, he told my sister and me how “comfy” we would be riding in our “cozy bed.” At first, we thought it was fun, cuddled together, whispering and giggling. But as the miles clicked under Continue reading

How Will the Animals Read? Watch Out for Communication Blind Spots

One day, when my daughter was about 6 years old, my husband was helping her get ready for a Brownie Field Trip to the Humane Society. After signing the Permission Slip, he was ticking through the checklist of gear she needed, including old newspapers for animal bedding. I was upstairs on the landing supervising our son’s bathroom routine and getting Continue reading

Wallflower or Dancer? Three Common Barriers to Personal Storytelling

During a networking breakfast, Maggie shared a story that had me transfixed: I vividly imagined her epiphany moment when she sat at her corporate desk in a large technology company at 8:30 one night and realized that she needed to leave her career in Information Technology. While searching internal job postings, she decided to roll the dice apply for a Continue reading

Truth Wrapped in Story: Beware of the Evil Villain

Truth, naked and cold, had been turned away from every home in the village. Her nakedness frightened people. When Parable found her she was huddled in a corner, shivering and hungry. Taking pity on her, Parable took her home, dressed Truth in story, warmed her and sent her out again. Clothed in story, Truth knocked again on the villagers’ doors Continue reading