Around the Fire

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Recently, I visited two friends in Colorado.  Brother and sister, living across the street from each other, they are close.  I’ve known them both over 20 years.  It’s always a pleasure to visit them and enjoy the clean fresh Colorado air and those beautiful mountains!  Such a treat!

On this particular visit, I have the pleasure of spending the evening with their community.  About 13 of us in all.  We share a meal in the backyard.  Potluck .. so a smorgasbord of unique recipes.  Delectable and (for me) exotic tastes. 

As dinner around the picnic tables winds down, I head for the small fire to warm my hands.  I sit alone in silence, staring into the fire.  You know how that goes, right?  It’s a meditation, watching the fire dance.  Eventually, another person meanders over and sits down across from me.  And then another.  Conversation around the fire gets more intimate.  Even metaphysical. We don’t talk about weather or the latest YouTube video we watched.  We talk about life.  Philosophy.  

And Stories.  

As we share and laugh, I think …

This is how we have shared wisdom since the dawn of humanity.

Around the Fire

The fire makes us sit in circle.  No hierarchy.  Sharing the same source of heat.  We see flickering light dancing on faces in sharp relief to the dark of night.  Like spirit beings gathered in an ancient ceremony.  

Stories entertain.  They make you think.  Ponder the meaning of life.  You are engaged.  A well-crafted story makes you LEAN IN because you’re IN their story.  You experience the struggle, the search and the glorious victory in the end.  You walk away energized.  Each person around the fire is forever changed by a well-crafted story because we shared the experience.  

Think of a great story.  Maybe a movie you saw.  A book you read.  Or maybe a story from a parent or mentor.  It’s probably great because at some point, you found yourself IN their story.

Wisdom was exchanged.

If you were invited to a campfire tonight by a good friend and you had the opportunity to meet new people.  What story would you tell?  

Imagine telling an intimate story that shows who you are, your character.  Shows your vulnerability.  Sparks intrigue and curiosity.  Provides highs and lows.  Perhaps even a cliffhanger.  Most importantly, what story would inspire others to share their stories so you can discover more about them.

What story would you share?  I’d love to know!

Story Crafting is a skill.  To get good at it takes forethought and practice.  I have 2-3 stories I’m always prepared to tell.  Around a campfire.  To a fellow passenger on a plane.  At a café with a good friend.

  •  Ask me about my grandfather and I’ll tell you his heroic story from the trenches in France in WWI.
  •  Ask me about camping on the prairie of South Dakota and how I hugged the sides of my tent as baseball-sized hail bounced off the prairie like they were bouncing off a trampoline.
  •  Ask me about having 8 minutes in front of a Fortune 25 CEO with a $12M piece of work on the line and we were clearly going to lose.
  •  Ask me about the hilariously stupid question I asked the highest paid coach on the planet when I had 90 seconds to ask him ANYTHING.  

You see, I have a story repository.  Literally, I have my stories logged on a spreadsheet.  I practice them.  Hone them.  I learn what works.  What doesn’t.  What elicits deep responses.  I share them on planes.  In cars.  At restaurants.

And Around the Fire.

In Colorado, I shared my grandfather’s WWI story which ends with this drop-the-mic sentence:  Time is NOT a Commodity.

A good story takes time.  Hone your Story Crafting skills.  Pay attention to the extraordinary stories unfolding in every day ordinary moments.  Store your stories so you can access and recall them to fit the right story at the right time.  And most importantly, share your stories.  Your Story Telling skills only get better with practice, right?    

Use unusual times to share your stories.  Opportunities to Story Share are around you more than you realize.  

And perhaps in the near future, you and I will sit around the fire.  Firelight dancing on our faces.  Our eyes meet.  We smile.

And your story begins to unfold across dancing flames.

Shine BOLDLY, my friend!


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