Step Up Create

November 9, 2021
E10 – The healing power of stories and writing
The Step Up Create Podcast
The Step Up Create Podcast
E10 - The healing power of stories and writing

Show Notes

This month Vishal and Katie delve into Vishal’s experience of raising his voice through his long-form newsletter and blog. We look at the healing power of narratives, the idea of identity and we both have a go at sharing our stories around the prompt “Night”.

This time we’ve added a feedback element after our stories so you’ll hear about the importance of careful, succinct characterization at the beginning of the story; developing connection with the audience by focusing on those who might find it easier to empathize and the need for a clear inflection point or pivot in the story. 

Vishal talks about tortoises, lion clubs and being a willful 5-year-old, while Katie broaches parenthood, sleep deprivation and penguins.

If you’d like to sign up to Vishal’s newsletter “Explicit* Epiphanies” you can do so here

Find our website at Follow us on Instagram @step_up_create Follow us on Facebook @stepupcreate

Follow my art at an on Instagram at @katieannice

Original music written and performed by Jonathan D. Mellor licensed to Step Up Create S.L.



Welcome back to the Raise Your Voice episode with me Katie Carr



and me Vishal Thacker


So, today we thought what might be interesting is to talk a little bit about something new that Vishal has been doing, and I’ll let you go into this a little bit more but let me set it up a bit. So from the outside and this is something that you know, I’m not involved in at all so I receive it just like anyone else does on LinkedIn or through their social media outlets. Vishal has been starting to tell his own story. And to share knowledge in a different way. And it’s long form. So it’s kind of going against maybe some of the trends, but it’s incredibly well written well thought out. And I wondered maybe you could talk a little bit about what it’s been like how you came up with that. format. Anything else that comes up?


Oh, wow, thank you so much was so beautiful setup them. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with first of all that it’s long form, because that’s essentially what I was going for. And also Well, thank you for this great about you mentioned that it’s kind of going against the grain if I remember correctly, that it’s because yeah, long form is not something we seem to be consuming a lot lately. Essentially, I’d say there’s two things that happened, which made me kind of get into long form posting, maybe maybe more than two things. The first is that I actually tried showing up on social media channels through the video format, so I tried doing lives on Instagram and Facebook. And I realised that it just wasn’t for me. It just wasn’t for me every time I would show up in front of the camera. I was a bumbling mess of anxieties and all of that, and it just wasn’t who I am. And so in a way I felt that I couldn’t really bring my best foot forward. The second thing I realised was that when I was working on a book earlier this year, I realised that I actually really like long form writing. So when I, for some reason, when I hit the 1000 word mark, something seems to happen. And there seems to be the staff that’s opened and interesting things come out. If I may say so myself. I figured okay, maybe this is a better video. And I just feel more at home without you know, with the keyboard and the and the open Word document.


It’s so important, isn’t it to find your medium because there are so many different ways you can tell your story today that if you don’t feel comfortable with it, or you know there’s something that doesn’t quite work, then you’re not going to do it. It’s going to be hard or you’re not going to feel like you’re expressing yourself properly.


Totally, totally. And I think there was another element as well, which is that I actually wanted to have some externally facing work in the world. Because a lot of the work that I do writing wise is very private, so I don’t see how it lands with readers, which is why one of the big things really trying to find out is how does my writing land with readers? So that’s one of the reasons why I’m doing this as well. I think the style itself, i i honestly I still don’t know how to define the style. I’m writing I’m still figuring it out. But essentially I want to make a little bit of my personal experience with some of the information that I have or some of the knowledge I’ve gained. But I don’t want the knowledge to be the focus of it. Because then I feel like that would make put a certain dynamic with the reader which I don’t necessarily, which I don’t necessarily want.


It’s a very human approach. At a time when you know, you read anything about how to tell your story on social media, whatever. It’s gonna say, No, you’ve got to reduce it down to three to five points. It’s got to be a how to, you’ve got to be thinking about what the audience needs and yet you’re doing it almost in the old fashioned way, which has worked for many years and should continue to work, which is writing something that’s beautifully written writing something that really expresses what you want it to express and inspires the audience that way, rather than sort of saying this audience knows that they want to know how to resolve this problem, and I’m gonna solve it for them.


Yeah, thank you. Yeah, that’s kind of one of the intentions so I’m trying to stay away from the how tos, which is a hard thing to do because I feel like a lot of leaders ask for that today. They want to solve some problems. In their life and they want that value. But I don’t know, I just feel like it creates a certain dynamic with the reader and it expects me to write a certain way, which I don’t, which I don’t necessarily enjoy.


If anyone is interested in reading this, what should they do? Where should they sign up? Whether


whether it’s actually going up on Substack? So it’s Vishal K. T. Hacker that’s the easiest way to spell it. We can put up a link in the description to say, well,


we can’t do that. I was I was distracted. I was distracted by thinking what is the K


My name is Vishal but my surname is Thacker. So that’s T H AC K E R. But when I was looking for my first email address, I didn’t find Vishal Thacker anywhere. So I put a little k in the middle. And that’s my dad’s first name. So his name is Kamal. So I just took the little k and I put it in the middle and we shall get Thacker available everywhere. But no one knows how to spell Thacker. I make it Vishal K T hacker. It’s easier to remember. Oh my god, I really like I feel like I’m really pushing my brand.



No, no, it’s fine. I mean, even even mine. I had to choose your notice that I was using Katie Annice Carr. I don’t actually use my middle name when people speak to them, but I had to use it because there are lots of Katie Carrs so this is a personal branding thing. We can’t completely escape right from all of the social media and all the rest of it. We need to play along with something. So defining your name and keeping it consistent across all all channels is important.



Either we can’t escape from the social media stuff or we can’t escape from the fact that we are our parents children and that they gave us certain nominally. Now we have to live with it.



Yeah, I must say that when I had my kids I didn’t really think that carefully about will the will that will that be available as a .com



by the domain



Find the domain and then register the name of the child and the domain at the same time. relating to what we kind of talked about on here I think there are two things that are interesting about what you’ve done recently. One is raising your voice and raising your voice in an authentic way and the process of of that which you’ve started to talk about. And the other is some of the stories that you’ve included in these articles. Talk about how important storytelling and particularly writing has been for you as a kind of way of getting over things through things understanding. And maybe we could talk a little bit about that.



Writing has actually played a huge role in my life. It’s funny because there’s my stack of journals right here,



about 30 centimetres of journals. Piled up



all the way up to my face. Yeah, they’re all full. For me, writing has been a massive part of my life, especially in the last five to six years. And essentially what I’ve seen is that it has helped me It helped me make sense of my internal experience in a way and it helped me it’s helped me know what my thoughts are, know what my feelings are. And it’s helped me to live more coherently with myself in the sense of being able to, to to recognise that oh, okay, this is what I want. This is who I am. This is how I think this is how I feel. And therefore this is what I do in my life because the way I see it, and that’s the reason I also recommend writing so heavily even to our students. Is that actually our internal experience of who we are and what matters to us and what’s meaningful to us is a very ambiguous thing. It doesn’t exist as a single clear idea. It exists as a bunch of thoughts inside of us. And to make sense of that is not necessarily an easy task. And that’s really where the writing comes in.



Yeah, I think it’s interesting you say that because it’s it’s that internal bit, but it’s also the external there isn’t one single perception of reality. Yeah, exactly. Even the external stuff. Yeah. We have a take on that. There’s a story that has an understanding of it, that sometimes we forget about, and we think oh, no, this is a fact. These are the facts. This is what



Yeah, absolutely. Actually, even the external world we have a tendency to look at it from our own lenses and the Writing helps us understand like, what we lose our lens and what are we what how are we? How are we interacting with reality in a way, right? Yeah, also from a language point of view, because language is something I find really fascinating, which is, that language actually is kind of our user interface with life, isn’t it? Like right now? We you and I are interacting with each other’s internal code with some language user interface, right?



Además podemos cambiar



Es verdad y de repente somos dos personas distintas



we’re not going to change it to Spanish for the rest of the podcast.



That’s kind of why I talk about the writing and when it comes to the stories as well. And I think we can use this to segue into the work that we do as well, in the sense that with the stories, I think it helps us kind of make sense of our lives so far right by by asking ourselves, what are the moments that define us?



kind of the basis of therapy or most talking therapy, or even expressive arts therapy is is about telling these stories in different ways and giving them a voice giving them words usually words could be also be pictures which is just another language. Absolutely. Being forced to create some kind of narrative from what’s happened to us, helps us to make sense of it because otherwise they’re just kind of bits in our head floating around experiences that may or may not be corrected.



Totally and also when we have to when we have that strange moment of having to talk about ourselves to someone else. That’s I think that’s where it gets particularly interesting is because there’s so much we can talk about, like if I meet someone and they go, Okay, I’m Vishal, where does one even begin to talk about themselves? And I think that’s the where the whole idea of assimilating stories from our lives becomes crucial because it allows us to define, in essence, an idea that can stand by itself, right? In essence, it can, it can, it allows us to define one idea that can go here’s what this is what my life is about so far. And here are the stories that lead to it.



Yeah, so that’s, that’s really crafting your story. When I use it. I use storytelling both in terms of teaching people to storyteller or getting that having them practice storytelling, and also through therapy or coaching. And when we do it in therapy or coaching, I get people to do various stories of their lives. So you can have them write a list of I was just this really simple exercise. So you just write a list of I Am, write at least 30 Things I am really quickly. I was for and looking at those to decide three or four that aren’t something is the story of my life. And then use that as the basis for for different stories, connecting real true stories from your life. And what you find is you have four completely different stories. With completely different things that kind of intersect. Yeah, they help to understand this flexible idea of identity. Yeah, totally. We are not one thing. We are always in a flux.



Absolutely. Why I love that. Yeah. I love that sense of Yeah, actually because we are so many things and we and we could have a story for each of those things that we are in but still they will all still be true. And there will be elements of each story in every other story. And that’s kind of what makes it beautiful because they all kind of point to the same person. And that’s you. That’s kind of cool. Yeah. It’s kind



of is a bit like when you know the Marvel Comics and things like that they have one story that has all of the characters in it, I don’t know the Avengers or something like that. And then you have separate stories that have the individuals in that sort of pop up in the other stories. The overall reality is still the same.



Yeah, I think there’s also many because there’s so many aspects that make each of us who we are, right, there’s the aspect of what we do. There’s the aspect of where we’re from and how culture shapes us. There’s the aspect of what we love to do this the aspect of how we have grown our mental and spiritual level, so I guess there’s many different lenses that we can look at ourselves from



is both interesting to create all of those different stories. And also, I think we both found that when we’ve been helping people to hone their career story, which is obviously for a specific purpose to get a specific job or a role in a company. Or a sector or whatever. So they’re really focusing on that. And they’re picking the things that go towards that. That people have also found that quite transformative, just doing one story.



Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. I think there’s a certain catharsis in the process of getting it out and packing it together, right? Which is why I like the thing you said earlier about, you can even do this while painting it doesn’t necessarily have to be stories. Because I think in the end of the day, and also while talking to someone and not just while writing, because the kind of the mind organises itself by putting itself out out it outside write in some medium, mediums painting, or, or words or stories, whatever the case may be. And once it’s out, we can pack it together. And I think that that process is fundamentally cathartic for the mind. And so yeah, it’s interesting. You mentioned that a lot of students do come up to us as well. Where they go, yep. Was that wow, it was like being with a shrink or something for a half an hour.



Totally after my one week storytelling course, I always get a load of students who like wow, you know, this was basically like therapy. Totally, but I mean, it’s so satisfying. I remember when I started to kind of connect things together that I’d done before because, you know, I’ve got a really random background, you know, drama law. How does all of this fit together? And when I started to see how it could fit together, it helped me to define my narrative looking backwards, but also look at my narrative going forwards. Yeah, yeah, totally. Yeah, I think that’s an interesting thing. That’s we’re not we’re not at the end of our narrative. We’re in the middle of



it, hopefully. Yeah, absolutely. I think this also has something to do with that notion of you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. Right. And I think there’s a connection there with the sense of, like, as you rightly said, when you make sense of your past into a narrative, you can, you can set it up for where you want the narrative to now go because now you can go okay, so this is what’s happened before. And now how do I want to direct this? And actually, I think that’s also why it makes it easier for us to live coherently in the future when we’ve made sense of the past is because now once we’ve made sense of the past, essentially we’ve taken a whole bunch of dots of our life, and we’ve made it into a singular thing. Yeah, we’ve made it into a singular narrative. And anything that singular is more pointed, it can just move forward more easily. And so in a way that allows us to live in the future more coherently, I guess,



at least, as well, in terms of interaction with other people. We want to be able to understand us. And of course, it’s very difficult to understand people those that have been in long term relationships. Okay, 10 years down the line. I still don’t understand them properly. But so it is also about simplifying isn’t it and kind of choosing what goes and what stays out and helping people to understand you that way. I think it goes back to reflecting doesn’t it making sense or reflection? Because we live our stories and I think most people especially who are kind of dynamic and you know want to go out and do things we live lots of things we say yes to all the opportunities we go and get those stories, the real stories, we’re living them. Yeah, but quite often we don’t make time to actually make sense of what happened. Yeah. And that can be done in lots of different ways. And most I mean, the ones that we’re talking about journaling or writing about them, talking to a therapist, talking to a friend, even what we used to do a long time ago. I don’t know if you have anyone in your family who used to kind of come back from a trip and have a you know, projection of their family, the album that they’ve got from the trip or something like that. My uncle used to do that and very proud of explaining all about it. But in order to explain the photos, you needed to have made some sense of it because you’re not going to tell someone a two week trip. You haven’t got two weeks to explain what happens. So you can’t explain everything. You’ve got to select and make sense of it. And I think we don’t even share photos anymore, which was previously a way of storytelling. You know what happened?



Yeah, yeah. It’s interesting to think about the slideshow. I hadn’t really haven’t struck me. I hadn’t thought about that for a while. Because I don’t think it’s something that we had much growing up. And it will be it because just two days ago, I was thinking I wish I had more productive more photos with my brother when we were kids. Because now I realise that back then, you know, we didn’t have so many cameras flying around. Which is weird because now we have a lot of cameras flying around and we don’t value the pictures as much was back then we valued them quite a bit.



Was that because you had to like print them out? Didn’t use to choose? For sure. Yeah, I think because when you take a photo now, it doesn’t cost anything. Each photo is basically free. And then you can print it if you want to. Whereas before it’s like okay, I’ve got 24 or 32 I can use them and then I’ve got to pay to print them. So let’s be careful of what we take pictures of



Yeah, yeah. I remember when my brother got the first digital camera in our house. He was just flipping out and taking pictures and all of a sudden, what



telegraphy is an important part of storytelling, not only because it helps us to remember some of the things that happen but because it kind of prompts us to share those stories. I don’t know if you if you flick through your iPhone, sometimes you see these things like go to picture number 75 on your camera roll and tell the story of that.



Oh, wow. I don’t even know how I would find the picture number 75 Okay, let me see 12345



Just to give you an idea, I’ve got 10,206 and 790 videos on my phone. I haven’t been taking careful photos.



I do have picture number 75. And what is it really? Likely to find photos with my phone? There you go. I don’t know if you can see it. Do you see it? Can you see me take a journey






Me and a friend and we’re essentially near the White Cliffs of Dover. It’s not exactly though we’re just like about 20 kilometres south outside Folkston. And this was in in August. It’s really weird that this has come up but it was an August. Some of my friends in London decided to a little one night party in the forest. And so I flew in for that. And this was the picture as we were walking to the location. I started to elaborate on that story.



I guess I could already tell that we don’t need to know the whole story but I can only tell from the way that you your voice changed that it’s it’s bringing



Yeah, it is it is it was a beautiful it was a beautiful two days and I’m super glad that we’re not only have it for two days, but generally it’s been a beautiful part of my life this group and because I got into DJing last year during the lockdown and these are a bunch of guys who started this online party during the lockdown. And so they decided to throw a festival. I mean, not a festival, like an actual inverses party this year, flew in for that. And so that’s why it’s a it’s a precious moment for me, not just for the party itself, but because I think in some way, like we’re talking about all the forms, right? For me, mixing music has also been one way to open myself up and to express myself. And so to have a bunch of people who have made it possible and who kind of facilitated that for me, has been really beautiful and so yeah, I value the



music is interesting because you’re essentially doing the same thing, aren’t you? You’re creating a story using the music and you’re trying to lead people through different emotions and feelings as you mix it together. I don’t know an awful lot about mixing. I’d like to know more about it but I’d like to know more about loads. That involves buying expensive technology that I’ve got limited



for the moment. So what’s your picture number 75



Mine is of my son my first son it just a week after he was born. And there he is on the sofa or probably on my knee in a very short period of time when he’s not feeding is looking at me. Yeah, that was a very, very weird part of my life when you go from being sort of single and free and travelling the world to being a mother and going oh my god. I’ve got to look after this little thing and I could talk for quite a long time about that. But I’m not sure I can imagine this has happened. We’ve got to two random stories that we can make sense of just by looking at photos. And this is just a really simple way of prompting your stories because we often forget our stories, don’t we or we don’t have them to handle so many students say to me Oh, I don’t have I don’t have any stories. Right? Of course your stories you’ve lived you know even in lockdown even when you weren’t allowed out. You have stories to tell. It says we might not have them top of mind. So for sure one thing is about mining for your stories in your past. And you know, one way of doing it because we’ve got all of these photos of practically every day we’re taking a photo is to randomly pick one and tell the story of that.



I think I think that’s an interesting thing you mentioned but also I want to talk about a little bit more with this notion of a lot of our students they say that, Oh, I don’t have stories. And I think that really also comes down to the fact that like because a story is kind of an overview of a series of events, right? And so we’re looking at it from the outside in a way. And I think a lot of the times people forget that because they’re in the story. They don’t see that that is a story. Like Frodo Baggins doesn’t know he’s in Lord of the Rings. He’s just being Frodo Baggins. Right in the sense we see large rings from outside. And so and that’s I think that’s also the beauty of the whole process of making sense of your stories because in a way you’re stepping out of yourself. And you’re moving from being the agonist to being the screenwriter, or to being the director. And now you can ask yourself, Okay, guys, how’s this going? How is this panning out? And therefore how do we want it to pan out and therefore what do we want the hero to do?



Yeah, this is something that’s it’s really interesting because it’s part of narrative therapy, or storytelling in therapy and coaching is about viewing the problem or viewing the issue from the outside, viewing it as something attached to the person. So if we if we’re able to tell the story, we’re able to distance ourselves from the problem so I am not the problem. Yeah, I might be in some. I don’t know the problem. The problem is the problem. And what’s my interaction with seeing that as kind of an obstacle in the story, rather than something that is absolutely devastating at the centre and can really help people to overcome even when it’s something that’s quite traumatic, I do therapy and I do coaching. So in coaching, it’s more about, you know, maybe limiting beliefs or things that are holding people back from achieving what they want to achieve, but in therapy, it can actually be real trauma. And that can be seem like it’s impossible to get over because it’s there all the time. And it’s it is the problem. It’s part of me, it defines me. And yes, there are elements that will have influenced and do define in in one way or another part of the character but that isn’t you. Yeah. And so the story, but then a little bit further back.



Yeah, totally. Kind of it gives you perspective on yourself, doesn’t it?



Yeah. We have a story prompt for today. So now we’ve talked a little bit about narrative therapy and our story prompt for today was night. Yeah, we did have a quick conversation before the podcast started or before we started recording about whether we’d continue with the story prompts or not. It’s difficult because I think both of us are also encountering resistances to this like, Oh my God, I’ve got to tell a story. I’ve got to put myself out there and do this, instead of talking about telling a story, which is frankly, much easier. So I kind of feel like we should keep prompts. We should keep trying, even when we don’t do it particularly well, which I think this is going to be my case today



was Vegas last weekend, so let’s see. I think I totally I think I think we both of us,



but I thought what we could do is we could maybe give each other a little bit of feedback after we hear stories, positive constructive feedback, because if we are each other students, right, rather than saying that was shit, which I don’t think you would do, but I might do night what what you can guess.



What’s my story for the night? Yeah. Okay. So first of all, I have to make this explicit. Two things explicit. The first thing is that there’s no element of night in the story itself. It just start the story came to me that night, we did record the last podcast, so I decided, You know what I’m going with the story. So that’s the first and the second one, which I think is also interesting. From a narrative therapy point of view. I’m not going to go too deep into it. I just want to make the connection for whoever’s listening, is this sense of a lot of times, stories from our lives may not necessarily be things that we will remember having experienced firsthand, because a lot of times our memories are kind of fishy themselves on there. Have we do we actually remember experiencing it or do we remember it because we were told we experienced that. So the story that I have to share with you today is essentially something like that, because I don’t remember it. I don’t remember experiencing it myself. But my parents have spoken to me about it several times. So I assume it’s true. Anyway, so the story is that it goes a bit like this. So this happened when I was when I was I must have been in kindergarten or something. And I had this reputation with some of the teachers that I was impossible to argue with because I had questions for everything.



When you were five, okay.



So yeah, I was about five. And so this particular story goes a bit like this. So the teacher in kindergarten she asked the class what animals can you have effects and obviously everyone in class had the usual cat and dog and everything else. And I raised my hand and then the teacher asked me what animal I suggest that we can have as a pet and I said a tortoise. And she said, that’s nonsense. You don’t have a tortoise as a pet. Michelle is clearly like so sit down. And she made me sit down and I got really upset because we actually did have a daughter. I was not really pleased, by the way she, by the way, she responded to me. And so I essentially started egging on the student who was sitting next to me. And I told him that you could have a lion cub as a pet. And he at first didn’t believe me, obviously. And I said, No, I really do have a lion cub as a pet. And I convinced him that it was true. And then he raised his hand and then when he was asked to answer the question of what animal you can have as a pet, he said lines up. got really furious. She was like, What the hell is wrong with you? You do not have lion cubs. Where are you getting this nonsense? And he goes, Oh, Vishal says he has a lion cub. So that, obviously I got into a lot of trouble with the first otitis and because it’s so the parents will call and my mom made what turned out to be the first of many trips to school to address a complaint about me. And at the end, she essentially was still What’s up with your son. He’s doing all these things. And my mom went but we do have a tortoise so that so in a way, you know you were wrong. And he was right. And until he clearly didn’t like that, he’s pushing your buttons. So yeah, that was it. So I think at some level, I must have been quite a handful to the students. For the teachers when I was a kid because I questioned a lot of things and I always had some wisecrack.



bit harsh to call the parents just because of that. Be sure you didn’t do anything else.



Oh, wait, that particular day? No,



I guess I mean, this this was India, right. There were lots of animals. I mean, you could have said elephant and you could have had an elephant. I mean,



I couldn’t have given the city. Maybe if I was if I was in if I was in some other parts of India, I probably could have said but Bangalore I take that task.



And he’s very, very expensive in terms of land.



Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, exactly. Oh, yeah. Yeah, but that was funny. I did. I did end up having my parents gone to school a lot when I was a kid because I got into a lot of trouble. So yeah,



what I really liked about the story was the very quick characterization you did at the beginning of yourself. I can’t remember what you said exactly. But it was I was I was the type of kid who get things right.



Yeah, I think I said I was, yeah, I was kind of kid who the teachers had this reputation that I was impossible to argue with, because I always had a question. Yeah. So



I mean, this is a great technique. I’m just going to pick up on this and we can talk about it briefly. Because we immediately can understand something about you. We can understand a bit about your motivations. And we already have this image of you. If you don’t say that if you just say oh, so I was in kindergarten. And you know, we don’t emphasise with you so quickly. And you did it in a way that’s really short. So one of the things that I see quite often is that there’s a balance, isn’t it? There’s including information about characters or description or whatever. But it’s got to be short, and it’s got to be sort of precisely done. Otherwise, it’s distracting. It’s stopping the story from forward.



Totally. Totally. Yeah, totally. Actually, that’s something I do intentionally when I share a story especially if I’m if I’m doing it with intention which I didn’t do in the first two recordings. practising what I preach, but essentially the reason I do it and the reason I also recommend that my students or anyone else for that matter, do it is that the one line summary at the beginning of the story. It does two things. One, it it kind of Prime’s the audience into, here’s what the story means. Here’s what I want you to take out of the story. And the second thing it does, which I find more important, is that it relaxes the audience. It makes them go okay, now I don’t have to make sense of the story, but he has and he’s given me the sense upfront, and therefore I can relax and actually listen to the story, as opposed to have to work my mind during the story. Sense of it, though, in a way, like it just makes the experience more pleasant. So it’s also



important to do it like you did, which is not kind of making it super explicit. It’s not like the end of an American cartoon film where it’s so clear what they want the message they want you to get that you feel like well, I haven’t come to that myself. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, an audience needs to feel like they’ve done some work and they’ve come to the conclusion or they’ve understood it themselves. So it’s a balance again, isn’t it? Setting out you know, you’re not saying this is a story about this, but you’re giving enough information to really guide them through?



Yeah, totally. So what’s your what’s your story for the night?



So you’re gonna see that I didn’t properly plan this sort of out the story and then didn’t plan it. So when I was thinking about night, the one thing that came to mind was how my perspective on night has changed. So I have always been the type of person who likes sleep. Hey, I’m not lazy. I don’t sort of tend to lie around. In bed that much. But I do really appreciate these, you know, eight hours of sleep at night and I remember that I used to go to bed at 12 and not wake up until eight and it would just be completely all night almost switching off and then waking up in the morning again revived and that’s something I’ve really appreciated and took for granted until I had my first child urines he was born when I was 39. So you know I’d have plenty of time to get used to living my life, sleeping well. Doing hundreds of things during the day running around and enjoying life and getting lots of things done. And yeah, he was born and suddenly that just threw everything out the window. I suddenly was not able to sleep. So anyone who’s got experience of breastfeeding a child may know if they’ve been unlucky like me, that you can end up with the child awake every hour every hour and a half and you literally have them kind of stuck on you and uh, constantly just waking up all night. This is what happened to me. So I would literally be there with the child ended up putting him into my bed because I couldn’t deal with getting up and going to the other room and feeding him and then putting him down and it’s just, there’s no way I could do it. So sleeping hardly anything. I mean, less sleep than I’ve ever thought would be possible in my life. And I’d like to say that that has improved that I’ve overcome it and I’ve tried hundreds of things and as they’ve grown older, he’s now four and a half. And yeah, he does sleep properly through the night more or less, but my other child doesn’t. And so I’ve had to struggle with this whole idea of sleep and working with no sleep, which has been really tough because you are like I found myself just worse a worse version of myself. How is that? How is the worst version of myself of basically being a lot more grumpy, being unable to be as creative I was as I would like pushing myself even physically and finding that I couldn’t do things like sort of really coming up against this wall of you can’t do it. Even with a creative mindset not being able to overcome it. So I’ve just found this incredibly, incredibly frustrating. And this isn’t really a story about how I’ve overcome it because I haven’t it’s kind of an external thing that the problem with it is that that it’s something external that I can’t fix. If I was in therapy, I’d probably say well, this is something you need to let go of control of and you know, just go with the flow. And it’ll get better and it kind of is. But I think that why this came to mind was that now I’m sort of moving off the story, I guess because I’m trying to avoid



is that I think there’s a lot of myths around sleeping at night and all of this and I lie there with a baby and I’d be awake all night and I’ve never had such long nights, right? I started doing some auto art therapy so self art therapy on myself. And I basically imagined this story of us as penguins on the South Pole. felt like we were it was just me and the baby because for the whole night was sort of me and the baby doing our thing and I was looking after him and all of this but really kind of zooming out feeling all the cold of the North Pole and trying to get through it and so I ended up doing it, illustrating a children’s story which isn’t published around this which is called when we were penguins is essentially about this isolation that you feel very close connection but isolation at the same time and I guess the reason I would tell this story or the reason I should probably push to get this published in one way or another is because I think it’s normal. I think it happens to a lot of people and it’s incredibly lonely and incredibly difficult to deal with because I found that my, my emotional state was difficult, like, you know, I’d find myself crying and things like that, that I’ve never really been that kind of person because I couldn’t cope with it because I didn’t have enough sleep. And it would just sort of go on and on and on and on and on. And I know also people who’ve had insomnia I think you’ve had that a little bit. When you when you have the night ahead of you this amazingly long night. That of this switching this turning off the switch which I was used to. It turned to 8/10 hours where you’re trying to do something but you’re just you on your own fighting against it. That is tough. So how I guess the story is how my short nights became long nights and how I haven’t really overcome that just yet.




Beautiful Wow. Thank you for sharing that it is such like I felt transported for a few moments. So what I’m going to share with you three things that I noticed. So three things I noticed the first two I’m going to kind of run over them a bit more quickly because I think that’s more from a story point of view. And the third one’s more from from a user point of view. So I want to spend more time on that. So the first like the first two, the two things that I really liked in the way you told the story is that first there was a there was a clear moment where something shifted, right where you went and then my son was born. And so you had this really nice setup about your relationship with sleep until then. And then boom there was a tonne, there was a pivot, right. I really like that because I think once good stories always have a good pivot. And that was the first thing the second thing I really liked is that you kind of stepped out from yourself as you were telling the story and you went into if anyone has, you know has done breastfeeding, they would know what I’m talking about. So in a way you made that connection with anyone else listening very explicit. And, and it also created it also kind of added a new variable in my mind because obviously I’ve not, you know, I’m not a parent, I have not done breastfeeding. So when I’m listening to your story, there’s a certain part of me that there’s a certain part of me that even though it wants to connect with you, it doesn’t have the capacity to do so. But when you make that explicit, it makes me go oh shit, right. I would never know what this feels like. And so it makes me lean in and connect with you more deeply. So I really liked that. That was a very nice trick. Thank you. Yeah, it was super. And then so that was the first two but the third one. So this one I was a little bit for Taiwan. Perhaps this this thing you mentioned about you haven’t overcome it yet. Right. I don’t know. First of all, I think well, you’re still in it. Right? So in a way, maybe maybe not every story has to be a story of triumph and overcoming something you’re still in the middle of it and you’re still living it out. And so it’s it’s awfully courageous of you to actually even talk about this. So I really like that. But also, I wouldn’t entirely say that you haven’t. I know you haven’t overcome it yet in the sense that it is not in the past. But what is beautiful is that you are actually directing the challenges that this process has brought you into some creative output, right? And so in a way you are directing that into the creation of something beautiful for yourself and for others through this children’s book that you’re working on and that is insanely beautiful. And I think that’s basically what being a hero in the story is about right? Dark shit is going to happen whether you like it or not in your life, some tough stuff is going to happen. Whether we can use that as people to create something beautiful for ourselves and others and you’re doing that and so you’re still in the middle of it. And I think it’s beautiful that you’re writing this book, and I’m really looking forward to reading it. Thank you. Yeah, it was super. And then so that was the first two but the third one. So this one was a little bit more perhaps this this thing you mentioned about you haven’t overcome it yet. Right. I don’t know. 

First of all, I think really , you’re still in it. Right? So in a way a baby. Maybe not every story has to be a story of triumph and overcoming something, you’re still in the middle of it and you’re still living it out. And so it’s it’s awfully courageous of you to actually even talk about this. So I really like that. But also, I wouldn’t entirely say that you haven’t. I know you haven’t overcome it yet in the sense that it’s not in the past. But what is beautiful is that you are actually directing the challenges that this process has brought you into some creative output right? And so in a way you are directing that into the creation of something beautiful for yourself and for others through this children’s book that you’re working on. And that’s insanely beautiful. And I think that’s basically what being the hero in the story is about right duction is going to happen whether you like it or not in your life, some tough stuff is going to happen. But whether we can use that as people to create something beautiful for us, then you’re doing that. So you’re still in the middle of it. And I think it’s beautiful that you’re writing this book and I’m really looking forward to reading it.


I may pick it back up again and get it finished. Oh, nice. Thank you. Thank you for the feedback. It’s it feels really weird to get feedback on my own stories because I don’t know about you, but Like usually I know I’m getting the feedbacks. Yeah. No, and it’s nice also to get feedback on a story. That I know isn’t perfect. So I feel a lot like I guess at least half of the students when I have a class of around 30 Students will have not prepared the story that well. And I will say to them, it doesn’t matter even if you haven’t prepared it at all and you improvise it you’re going to take learnings from that. And there’s there’s another thing isn’t there about how much you practice and you you consciously start using the tools or the the ideas or you know some of the ones that we’ve said today, throw them into your stories consciously. And then when you start telling stories unconsciously let’s say just chatting to friends, telling your story to a therapist or whatever else you’re doing. Those we’re going to come out practice. So I think we’ve we’ve covered quite a lot of ground today quite a lot of information about how stories can really make a difference in terms of coaching therapy, getting to know yourself better understanding yourself since making Yeah, and also a little bit about how technically to do storytelling with a few things that we’ve seen from both our stories.


Very cool. salutely Yes, good fun. This has been a really fun conversation. I think this has been my favourite one so far. The only


thing that we haven’t done yet, I think is the prompt for next time. And so I’m gonna do it on the random word generator again, because it worked quite well this time. I think so. Yeah. The standard worked well. And so the word that is coming up on the random word generator is intelligence. Oh.


Oh, no. Seems rather burdensome.


It’s probably similar to when we ask our students what the story of your licence that’s pretty burdensome, they go Oh, my God. Yeah, it does seem burdensome, but maybe we can do something different with it. Do you want to add any other parameters to it? Or should we just keep intelligent


let’s say let’s keep it with intelligence. But I would say I don’t want to I personally this is more of a challenge to myself. I don’t want to come with a with a heavy just a head heavy story. Because I think the prompt is very likely to take me in that direction. So I’m going to consciously stay away


from that, okay. I didn’t I did the one thing that came to mind just randomly in my head was like, I want to talk about one of my travels around the world, right? Random. I don’t know how I can connect that but just because sometimes I think about this what I was saying about making sense of things after our travels, I’ve been super lucky and seen lots of the world. And I think I haven’t really done a sense making on all of that. So I could use this as an opportunity to make some sense out of a story from my travels that I haven’t told before. Wow. Interesting. So thank you very much for listening, and we will see you soon. See you soon. Bye


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