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My Introduction to Storytelling

The first time I am introduced to the idea of storytelling is back in 2012.

Ryan Smith, my boss at Samsung, mentions the term to me, alluding to the fact that it would be a valuable skill and would aid my career development. He tells me that stories are one of the best ways for people to relate to my experiences, similar to how we use similes and metaphors in everyday conversations.

Photo taken with my Samsung colleagues
A picture with my Samsung colleagues (from left to right: Ryan, Ted, Wayne)

My conversations with Ryan pique my interest, so I begin researching local coaches. When I say everything happens for a reason, I mean it. It was destiny that I stumble upon Arina Isaacson, a professor at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and a world-famous storytelling coach, while looking on LinkedIn.

Arina and I exchange a few emails and even talk on the phone before I book my first appointment.

The next weekend, I drive 90 minutes to see Arina face-to-face. I am both excited and nervous to speak in front of her. Expressing vulnerability and opening up about my highs and lows is not something a regular practice for me.

Regardless, everything seems to click. Before the end of our first session, I am already starting to feel less anxious and my guardrails come down.

Seek out Challenges

There's a saying that resonates with me, both as a storyteller and as a coach.

Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

People do not grow when they live within their comfort zone. Growth happens when you seek out those opportunities that challenge you. You can tell how challenging it is by how far it takes you outside your comfort zone. Experiment and put yourself out there.

Storytelling is no different than lifting weights. You gain muscle strength by repetitively pushing your limits. The more you practice storytelling, the more effective and confident you become.

David Ghodsizadeh is founder and storytelling coach at Storytelling 4 Success.

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