Sunset and Fireworks Mark Key Milestones

When I got home after receiving my lay-off notice from General Mills, I tossed my severance packet on the couch, joined my husband on the porch with a glass of wine, and started brainstorming names for the business I wanted to start.   After working on the naming challenge for about six weeks, I was telling our friend Doug Benson Continue reading

Passport to Rainbows and Waterfalls

As he eyed three passports and a Minnesota Driver’s License, a Canadian Customs Officer asked me (the driver) why a Brit, an Australian, and two U.S. citizens (from Georgia and Minnesota) were traveling together across the border at Niagara Falls? I replied that we were attending a conference at the University of Buffalo and wanted to visit the falls. He Continue reading

Resting Logs Kept Little Legs Moving

Jay and I paused at the crest of a foothill overlooking Boulder to the east and the Rocky Mountains to the west. According to my iPhone Activity App, we had climbed 71 floors. We decided to rest on a fallen log. While we soaked in the vista, Jay recounted a memory about hiking in the woods of Northern Wisconsin with Continue reading

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