Finding Your Core Story and Your Superpowers

Today I’m talking to Hillary Rea about finding your core story and your superpowers and how you can use them in your storytelling.

Hillary Rea is the founder of Tell Me A Story, a communication consulting and coaching business that trains ambitious leaders who want to take up more space, communicate with impact, and become more confident as they become more visible. Through her company’s signature Crafting Your Narrative: Solo Retreat, as well as ongoing coaching partnerships, Hillary helps her clients to find their voice and then empowers them to use it — by sharing their unique stories with honesty and passion.

She is an award-winning storyteller, and has been telling her own stories on stage for 13 years – as a performer, as the host of a the long-running Tell Me A Story Live Show, and now as a keynote speaker.

When Hillary first reached out to me to ask if she could come and speak about Storytelling on my podcast I thought “another Storytelling expert”. But then I read further and started to really appreciate her radically different approach to storytelling. And you know how much we like ‘radically different’ on the Humane Marketing Show.

"I believe that storytelling gives people that personal power to get comfortable being visible and taking up space" – @sarahsantacroce #humanemarketing Click To Tweet

In this episode, you’ll learn about finding your core story and your superpowers as well as…

  • How storytelling helps you identify your superpowers
  • Hillary’s reframe of the ‘Origin Story’
  • Her take on the Hero’s Journey storytelling structure
  • The concept of ‘taking up space’ with your story
  • And so much more

Hillary’s Resources

Hillary’s Website

The Speak Up Session – A free monthly session with Hillary

The Speak Up: Be a Dentist

Other resources mentioned:

NY Times essay by Brit Marling

Connect with Laura on:

LinkedIn

Sarah’s Resources

Watch this episode on Youtube

(FREE) Sarah’s One Page Marketing Plan

(FREE) Sarah Suggests Newsletter

(FREE) The Humane Business Manifesto

(FREE) Gentle Confidence Mini-Course

Marketing Like We’re Human – Sarah’s book

The Humane Marketing Circle

Authentic & Fair Pricing Mini-Course

Podcast Show Notes

We use Descript to edit our episodes and it’s fantastic!

Email Sarah at sarah@sarahsantacroce.com

Thanks for listening!

After you listen, check out Humane Business Manifesto, an invitation to belong to a movement of people who do business the humane and gentle way and disrupt the current marketing paradigm. You can download it for free at this page. There’s no opt-in. Just an instant download.

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Warmly,

Sarah

Imperfect Transcript of the show

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Sarah: [00:00:00] Hey, Hillary, so nice to have you here. Thanks for coming. 

Hillary: Yeah. Sarah, thanks for having me. I’ve been thinking about our conversation all week. 

Sarah: Wonderful. Yeah, well, it’s been more than a week. I was just saying offline that we connected like many months before, and so I’m just excited to have this different, , approach that you bring to storytelling.

But as you know, we’re kind of putting this under the p of personal power and I think, it really is a good fit because. Do bring that different approach, about storytelling coming from this personal power. And actually that’s where I’d like to start. You know, you talk about superpowers and, we talk about superpowers in marketing as well, like finding out your humane marketing superpowers that you can bring more of you to your marketing.

And, and so tell us why that matters in your, , storytelling approach. 

Hillary: Yeah, [00:01:00] it’s funny. When I think of the word marketing or maybe flashback a handful of years ago, in my perception of marketing, I was always told, oh, it’s about the the other person. It’s about who you’re marketing to. And while I still agree with that, I think.

When I was able to make this shift of, okay, yes, it’s about that other person who I’m communicating with, but I also need it to be about me as the communicator. And that’s why storytelling and sharing a story from my own life that connects to who I am, my superpowers, what I put out into the world, is so important.

And I think this idea of personal power with storytelling. We, each of us as the storyteller has control over our narrative, so I can choose what experiences from my life I share with other. People, [00:02:00] and sure other people might have stories about me, stories about my company, my brand, and there might be stories I tell myself that maybe aren’t the nicest or the, the truest mm-hmm.

But if I really zero in and focus on the story, I choose to express outwardly to other people, to me that’s where the power is. And that personal power and, and light and how that connects with super power. Is I can find the experiences in my life that support what I consider my superpowers, or when I’m working with clients on their storytelling, we do a full exercise that helps them identify what their superpowers are, and then we continue the brainstorming of, oh, what are the experiences that you’ve had in your life?

Looking at all aspects of your life that really support these superpowers, and how can you craft that into the narrative that makes the most. For your audience. 

Sarah: Mm-hmm. . Yeah. I [00:03:00] love that. It’s a very similar approach to what we do in, in the marketing, like we’re human program because we need to first go deep and figure out, you know, who are we and what’s our story?

And we’re gonna talk a little bit later about this origin story or you have another name for it. Mm-hmm. . So who am. But then also, yeah. How does that connect with my ideal client? And I’m so glad you brought this up. You know, it’s like this idea of marketing being only about the client. And, , as I just said offline, I’m, currently recording the marketing like we’re human book and I was taught that the client is always king, right?

That’s kind of like one of these marketing things. It’s like the client is king and, kind of thinking, oh, everything I do has to serve this client then makes you think, oh, people don’t even care about. I am and what my stories are. I have to focus everything on this. Yeah. Outside source. And [00:04:00] I’m so glad you brought this up, that this is really like a reframe.

It’s like, yeah, the client is important and yes, we wanna understand them, but in order to actually resonate, we need to first also, , find out who we are and, and what our stories are. And that means finding out these superpowers. 

Hillary: Yeah, and I think what I learned early on in, in sharing stories for my own life, I started as a performer telling my own stories on stage in front of audiences.

At the time, I think I went into it thinking like, oh, I’m funny. I can entertain people. But what I soon learned and felt is that a story isn’t one sided, and there’s that automatic reciprocity and exchange with a listening audience. They’re hearing my story, they’re taking it in. If there’s opportunity for conversation after, people tend to share stories of of their own lives that connect or resonate somehow.

And when I was [00:05:00] able to. That that storytelling was a conversation. I trusted myself more that I could, again, like channel what’s inside of me, channel, the experiences I’ve had and who I am to then have that conversation with an audience. 

Sarah: Right? So it’s like you’re not just telling the story to avoid you actually.

There to be feedback. Right. That’s the communication and connection part. It’s like we’re not just doing this as performers. Even I would say even performers, they want feedback from the audience, otherwise they wouldn’t do it. So, yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s so interesting. So that kind of leads as then, , I already hinted at.

This origin story, right, that we’re, again, it’s another thing that we, I guess we hear a lot from storytelling experts. We have to have this origin story, , and then we need to tell it in a, in a compelling way. You have [00:06:00] there as well kind of a suggesting a reframe. So tell us about how you call it and, and what’s different, Sure.

With the 

Hillary: origin story. Yeah. Early on in starting my. I used the phrase origin story for everything. And I would say I work with a lot of business owners, entrepreneurs, and also leaders of larger companies. And for everyone, I would say what you just said of you have to have an origin story, and there would be this immediate wave of overwhelm of, oh, my good, my goodness.

I have to start from the very beginning of my. And like take everyone through my education, my expertise, my awards, my accolades, and then what if I’ve changed my business or changed my career or, or another thing in my life has changed. How do I explain that? And there was always this pressure of, it has to be this all-encompassing story.

I have to make sense of myself, make sure people understand [00:07:00] who I am. And there would also be times where I would be listening to other. And hosts would say, oh, so what’s your origin story? And again, there would be like this long winded response from people where you know that they’re trying to get to the end, but the, the preparation or the thought put into it maybe wasn’t considered as much.

And so when I started teaching storytelling, I defined origin story to be less overwhelming. And it’s a story that answers two questions. How did you get to where you are now and how did you get your superpowers? And so again, going back to superpowers, I do a really intensive exercise with my clients around identifying what those are.

And then when we get to that question, the how did you get to where you are now, which is pretty standard for an origin story. I splice the question in half and I reverse it. So it’s Where are you now? And how did you [00:08:00] get there? And by focusing on the where are you now, it allows people to tap into the presence of where am I now in my business?

Where am I now in my life? Where am I now in terms of how I wanna communicate with other people? And once you have that, it’s really finding those moments in your life that illuminate that, that support that. So it doesn’t necessarily mean starting at the I was Born moment, or. The birth of the business moment, it could really be a more recent moment in time that supports who you are, what you do, what you stand for.

And so that is a, to me and to everyone, I work with a really liberating way to think about it. Again, it it’s a. A way to tap into that personal power and strength of like, this is who I am now and this might change, and when it changes, I can adjust my story as, as such. Mm-hmm. . and then really in the last handful of [00:09:00] months, I’ve decided not to use the word origin story at all because I don’t want that overwhelm and that pressure, , to envelop people and hold them back from sharing their story or finding their story.

And I, I saw that it still was overwhelming people. And so I’ve landed on this new term called Core Story. That still has that same definition, but it helps people stay again in that inner strength and personal power as they’re communicating outward. 

Sarah: Mm. Yeah. So much good stuff in there. And, and I think I, I will have to kind of adapt the way I talk about the I don’t think I ever mentioned the word origin story, but we talk about, , in the marketing, like we’re human program creating our story.

So I don’t really use origin or core, but it’s true that there’s some. Overwhelm when people are first thinking about, you know, what is my story? And so I, I totally agree with [00:10:00] you , on that overwhelm part. What I’m wondering, and I’d like to hear from you is like, because when they actually do write the story and sometimes they have to go like really deep and eventually when it does come out, it may be too long.

But they feel like such a big sense of relief that they have actually put it on paper and they see it and it’s almost like it’s healing to work through that story. ] what’s your take on that healing part of putting it on paper? 

Hillary: Yeah. So when I work with my clients, we work on this core story for two months, right?

It starts out rather large in terms of spanning time or diving deep into like a, a period of life that supports , the person where they are now and what they wanna talk about. And often in that there’s a letting [00:11:00] go of old narratives. So whether it’s the story they. To telling about themselves and their business or like in Yeah, an inner voice that’s been telling a story for a long time.

Sometimes that just comes out in the crafting process. Right. And once it’s out there, I often hear, oh, that’s definitely not the story. I’m really glad that I said it now and I don’t need to say it again. Right. And so that tends to happen, and as I continue to work with people and fine tune. The story, I do something called Zoom in.

And so as someone sharing their story, I will pause them in our work together and say, zoom in on what it felt like in the garden when you had that idea. Mm-hmm. . And what happens is each person. Goes into specifics, goes into details like visual details, sensorial details, what [00:12:00] they were feeling, a new perspective now as a storyteller on how they were feeling then, and those are the moments that stick.

In the story. So there isn’t really a necessity for like extra backstory or extra details. It’s really finding the moments of specificity and finding the moments of movement. Mm-hmm. in the story. And what that ends up doing is it, it does. Shorten it and, and each storyteller still understands the context of everything, but the audience doesn’t necessarily need that context, which is also really powerful to let go of the extra.

Yeah. 

Sarah: This is so good. I’m gonna share this episode , with the group. Right now, even though it goes out in a few weeks, cuz I think that that is kind of the. Maybe the missing piece. , it’s like, yes, you need to, at least, I think for me, I’m still gonna tell ’em, look, yes, write your story.

, and it seems like [00:13:00] that’s what you’re saying as well. You’re working on this and so there, it may be a lot longer at the beginning, but then you work your way. Back and, and kind of come to the essentials and therefore the term, , your core story. And, and it makes it easier for the reader to then connect the dots, right?

, rather than having all this extra fluff that people go, huh, how is that even relevant here? 

Hillary: Yeah, and when there’s a written version of the story, the core story, I still approach everything from a spoken version place. So a lot of my clients, all of them actually have to do both. They have to go through a process where, where there’s writing involved, but I also make them practice with what I call low stakes audiences.

So trusted friends, business best. Not so much family members or partners, but people in your life that you feel comfortable around but might not already know everything about you. And in that practice work, [00:14:00] especially trying it with different audiences, they continue to find the story and find again what’s.

Worth sharing and what needs to be shared when there’s a listening audience there. Yeah. So even when it goes back to written form and you don’t know who’s there connecting with your story, you can still, again, feel the connection and feel the conversation of those live spoken experiences. 

Sarah: Yeah. So good.

We talked about superpowers, so I’m curious, what are your superpowers and how do you use them in your storytelling? Yeah, 

Hillary: so I love this question. I have two worksheets that I give my clients in the brainstorming phase of their core story work, and one is identifying superheroes and what connects, and that could be like fictional characters.

People alive now, people from history. Mm-hmm. , people that are close to the person. It could be [00:15:00] any, anybody really. But I make them do that. Identify what connects those people together and what connects you to those people in terms of values or , accomplishments or feelings, things like that. And then I transition them to this super powers worksheet.

And I hadn’t done it for myself. And so in preparation for this podcast yesterday, I took some time and I filled out both of those worksheets and it was so difficult and I now have so much more respect. , I’m even more respect for my clients because it is a really hard task. To do. And so there’s a list of 10 superpowers, like for them to brainstorm, and then there’s the desert island three.

If you had to choose only three, what would they be? So the three that I chose from my list of 10, I’m looking down at my paper. Mm-hmm. , uh, my voice, my visual imagination, and the fact that I’m an opportunity creator. Mm. And it was [00:16:00] really hard to land on those. But I feel like they encompass who I am as a human, who I am as a leader, who I am as a business owner, and they are things that I can tap into and share stories about, but also just inform.

How I take up space and show up in the world. So I feel really good about what I landed on, but it, it was pretty difficult. 

Sarah: It’s hard. Yeah. Of course. We’re now curious what the other seven are. Can 

Hillary: you read those to us? Yeah, sure. So I said feedback and it’s interesting because I know I’m really good at giving feedback.

I had a, a job many years ago where I was trained in like a very specific feedback style, and I’ve carried it through into my. Business, but it’s also things that I hear like that is something I hear from clients of like, wow, you’re so good at giving feedback. Mm-hmm. . So I claim that, , my listening ear, so I have a degree in music.

I’m a trained singer. We had to take classes and college that literally trained our [00:17:00] ear, but I know that informs how I hear stories and what I. To and how I can help people in that way. I said my visual imagination, that’s like just in terms of what I see possible, but then also how I bring stories to life and how I help people bring stories to life.

Mm-hmm. commitment to self, which is one I’ve like really worked on over time, but feel like that is a power that I. Like now have, that’s unwavering. , my comedic lens. So my background, a bit of my background is in comedy as well. And, , my partner and I are always in competition about who’s funnier and he’s day, , that skill, he still thinks he’s like naturally funnier.

I don’t know if I agree, but skills wise, I, I am the funnier person. , , a vision for what’s possible. So that’s for myself, for other people, for the world. Like my vision for if everyone using storytelling and what’s possible, if that was the case. Mm-hmm. , [00:18:00] my feet. And so that has to do with, , my sense of groundedness, but also I’m tap dancer.

And I actually hear stories and rhythms and I like think about it like in terms of tap dancing and then also my feet in terms of like my convictions, like I am grounded in like what I stand for, what I believe in and in my, for my voice, the one I shared of my top three. It’s also, it’s the way I use my voice to take up space and share stories, but also my singing voice and knowing that that’s there to support me as well.

Number nine, determination. And 10 was opportunity creator. And again, that’s for myself and for other people. And just knowing that, yeah, opportunities can come, but they can also be created. 

Sarah: Wow. Yeah. Yeah, I can see how that must have been really hard. First, I was thinking you gave people a list with the different superpowers, but No, you came up with those 10 for you specifically.

So everybody has to come up with [00:19:00] 10 or however many on their own, right? Yeah, 

Hillary: and And it’s amazing what people come up with. Mm-hmm. , because it’s in their own like language and framework . For how they move through the world. Yeah. And it’s, and then there’s some that are really, that are shared by so many people.

Yeah. Which I think is really great. But no, I don’t, people have to come up with their own list. But they, but the superheroes exercise is a springboard into that list because they already start to identify, okay, who, what connects me to this group of people that I Right. Like, respect that inform my life in some way.

Yeah. So there it’s definitely one leads in’s the other, for sure. 

Sarah: I just shared one of mine on, on a LinkedIn post recently, so it’s top of mine. , one of mine is starting with the no, so meaning I always. Look at how can we simplify, streamline, make things easier, , less overwhelming. So that’s kind of one of my superpowers, I think.

Like just very [00:20:00] straightforward and yeah, simplifying things. I love 

Hillary: that. And I can already imagine so many stories. Mm-hmm. where there were things in your life where when you started with the know what happened or moments in your life. Maybe should have started with the No, but you can share them as a, a learning Yeah.

Experience too. That’s so 

Sarah: cool. Exactly. Yeah. That’s wonderful. All right. I’m really excited also to go into the next topic, which is the, the hero journey, , topic that you and I had some interesting email conversations about already. , You know, it’s part of that storytelling vocabulary and, and a lot of storytellers follow that hero, journey.

, and I actually wrote in the, in the book, I’m like, you know, I think I’m actually getting tired of that, same old hero journeys, , story. And so when you and I talked. My email, you shared some, also some interesting thoughts on, on that, so I’d love to hear them hear. 

Hillary: Yeah. [00:21:00] It’s interesting because I, I felt a pressure that I don’t even think I realized I had to have a hero’s journey story starting when I was telling stories in front of audiences for entertainment, but also at the early stages of my business and needing, I felt like I needed a story that.

Expressed power and strength that I wasn’t actually, that wasn’t mine. Mm-hmm. like it was someone else’s. Right. And that’s sort of, I guess, esoteric the way I just said it, but it felt like I had to be someone else in my story. Right. To get to a certain type of, Story, a certain type of result, a certain type of messaging.

And it was this inner struggle. And I think I never, I always was resisting it, but I couldn’t really fully identify why it didn’t sit well with me. And then in February of 2020, I’m on New York times.com. And there’s this opinion piece [00:22:00] written by this woman named Brit Marling, and she is a writer, director, actor.

She had a brilliant science fiction show that was on Netflix called The oa. And she’s done some films as well. And it was a article something. The title is like, I don’t wanna Be Another Strong Female Lead. And this, it’s a beautiful essay and a beautiful series of stories about Brit Marlin’s life before she became an actor.

And, and the sort of powerful role, woman role she had to live up to, like in the, in the finance industry. And then when she was getting these strong female roles in film, they would get killed off or beaten or all of these things. And as I’m moving through this article, she brings up the Hero’s journey and Joseph Campbell.

And talks about that structure with the inciting incident and the rising action and the climax and the deman, the like happy ending resolution. And she compared it to a male orgasm . And I’m [00:23:00] reading this article and I was like, Oh yeah. . And then the end of the essay, and I’ll make sure to that you can share it , in the notes.

Yes, please. Starts asking all these questions of like, well, what if there are other ways of telling stories? Like what’s the, the feminine journey story and, and what happens if we imagine all of these different types of narratives then can come in And I looked and I, I, after I read that, I. Fully in myself and in my work and, and I understood myself more and I understood my approach to storytelling more.

And I really like put a stake in the ground of like, yes, there is another way. We don’t need heroes journey. It’s not about this one person battling. Inner and outer demons and getting on top and everybody else is under them. There are other structures for storytelling, and especially in business and marketing.

There are other ways to invite people into our experiences as the founder, business [00:24:00] owner leader, and so that was. A really powerful moment for me, and from that point on, I’ve pretty much been on my anti-heroes journey, train, and inviting people to join me. When I tell other people and invite other people to imagine other ways of telling stories, oh, the freedom it brings.

And also, again, I think it helps people access that inner personal power versus this idea of like achieving power that that structure brings about. 

Sarah: Yeah. Oh, I had forgotten about the orgasm thing, but that is just, yeah, I need to reread it. It’s so good and it, it is funny to me how, to me, it’s a bit of an outdated, way of looking at business or even life and, and, yeah.

It is because it’s, very male and , this strong surviving kind of thing where if you look at it from the [00:25:00] feminine approach, it would be completely different. And it also made me think of what we, mentioned earlier , maybe the client doesn’t want heroes like we were told to tell this hero’s journey because the client would look at us as having lived through these difficult times.

And, and it’s kind of this rag and richest story, right, that America loves. I just saw last week an article, oh, in America we love some good rag riches story. Yeah. And it’s true, right? That’s part of the, culture as well. But maybe the today’s conscious client doesn’t want those stories. And that’s what I say in, in marketing, like, we’re human is like, well, I can’t tell you that kind of story because I, I’m not there.

You know, I’m right here, right now and I’m, , starting over. And so in a way, I feel like the conscious client wants to be on the same level, not hearing you how you have [00:26:00] suffered and now you. , succeeded and you’re now a multimillionaire. So I think people have changed and, and consciousness has changed as.

Hillary: Yeah, and I work with a lot of clients that have service based businesses, so whether they’re like a mindset coach or they specialize in a specific topic, like I have a client that specializes in high functioning anxiety, and she’s a former therapist, her coach. Right. And she has. High functioning anxiety.

So she’s trained as a clinician and a therapist and understands it that way. But she has really tapped into saying, Hey, this is something that can’t be fixed and it doesn’t go away, but here’s what you can do to quiet it, to build self loyalty, to move through the world. And she has really found like people respond to her and.

I’m so happy that you shared this. Mm-hmm. , I feel like I don’t feel broken anymore. I feel like there, it’s possible for me [00:27:00] to live my life and I understand that it doesn’t go away, and I understand that you go through it, but you also know how to help. And so just again, it like builds a bridge and deepens those connections with an audience.

And I do it myself in terms of like a lot of my clients, especially in their marketing endeavor. They wanna take up more space and be visible, but without the like, Big show or without, you know, they wanna do it as themselves. Like so much of what you talk about, , and I talk about, I tell stories about how scary it can be to take up space or the struggles with visibility and, and where that fear comes in and where the like, oh, what if I’m perceived this way or that kind of, all of those what ifs and things like, I still go through them as well, and I, and sometimes there are better days and so, There are are worse, and that that’s always gonna be an ongoing issue and struggle.

Sarah: Yeah. I feel like in a way, the hero’s journey is part of the [00:28:00] old. Marketing paradigm as well, where we didn’t share with transparency. We just shared, you know, the 6, 7, 8 figure success, right? It’s like, oh look, I came from nothing and now I’m, I have an eight figure business where that just. I believe definitely doesn’t resonate with our audiences, but it also will no longer resonate as much with other people because we’re, we just want transparency.

That’s what we want today. So in a way, to me, the hero’s journey, at least the way he saw it, kind of belongs to the past. we need to have different frameworks and, and I’m so glad you’re, you’re offering these, I 

Hillary: just, one thing too about the hero’s journey is there’s a pressure for an ending that hasn’t necessarily happened yet, and yeah, one thing I really appreciate that I heard you say in conversation with, I believe, Lisa, in your conversation about storytelling, there is this idea of the messy.

[00:29:00] Middle. Mm-hmm. and that they, when you let go of the hero’s journey structure, there’s so much storytelling that can happen about the messy middle, right? That, again, serves you as the communicator, but also the audience in all of the ways we just. Talked about 

Sarah: as well. Yeah, exactly. That, that’s what really connects with your audience and, and, and then of course, yeah, you need to think about Brene Brown and think about the vulnerability and decide, well, how, what’s the intention behind me sharing this?

Is there integrity behind this? , me sharing this or, or, because right now we all know that, okay, it sells to share with vulnerability. So obviously we don’t just want to share it because it sells, but because we really want to. Connect and relate with our audience. But, but yeah, the messy middle, that’s where, that’s where the good stories are, right?

Yeah. 

Hillary: Yeah. And I think one set of questions I take myself through [00:30:00] and take my clients through is the, why am I telling this story? And what do I want my listener to do once they’ve heard this story? Mm-hmm. . And I feel like when those questions are answered and identified, the, it’s like the checklist of integrity, the checklist of intentional vulnerability that’s safe, both for the communicator and for the audience.

It’s not manipulative, it’s not oversharing, all of that. So I love that too. And again, I think going back to personal power. That gives you more inner strength as the communicator to be like, oh no, this is why I’m sharing this. Yeah. And this is what I want them to do once they’ve heard or hope that they’ll do once they’ve heard.

Yeah. 

Sarah: Yeah. So good. You mentioned several times this term of , taking up space. So how does being in your personal power and telling stories from that place, how does that help us with taking up space? [00:31:00] 

Hillary: I found for myself, and I found it through storytelling, that when I was able to know myself and know how I wanted to share myself with other people and then find those stories that I wanted to share.

I was not afraid of taking up space because it’s this like my inner message of like, this is who I am. I know myself. I’m committed to myself back to one of my superpowers, and I have a reason for sharing this. Story with you. So I have no choice but to take up space because I am doing it with intention and with the goal of this.

Creating a dialogue. Creating a connection. And so I believe that storytelling gives people that personal power to get comfortable being visible, to get comfortable taking up space, which marketing is getting comfortable, being visible, getting comfortable taking up space as you are. Authentic self and as the [00:32:00] expert that you are coming from that authentic, genuine place.

So I think that it’s like grounded in a trust of self, but then it’s also, you have to trust your story and trust that it will communicate for you and do the work for you. And then there’s that third piece, which is you have to also trust your audience in order to take up space and be visible. And that can be really scary too, especially if it’s a audience.

Is landing on a webpage and you don’t know who they are listening to a podcast and you don’t necessarily have a face or a name to connect. 

Sarah: Yeah, and I feel like. If you’re doing that deeper work of really figuring out, okay, what is the core story and not, like we mentioned before, you know, what are was my education, what are my accolades and accreditations and all of that.

Then you’re taking up space from a different place, , not from necessarily the ego, but probably from your gut more. [00:33:00] And so it’s a different, it’s not. It’s not an intimidating space or a, you know, ego driven space. It’s just. Grounded space in a way. It’s like, here I am, you know, this is what I believe in, this is what I stand for.

You like it, great. I open my arms. If you don’t like it, you know, feel free. , go to the next person. That’s what I perceive. 

Hillary: I love that visualization of, of open arms and then, and like I think of it as like a heart centered right way of com, like your stories coming out of your mouth, but it’s also coming out.

Your heart. And I think it takes a bit of, , like I, I’ve never sky gone skydiving or bungee jumped, but I think it’s this idea of like letting the trust and self trusts and story trust in the audience be a letting go in the moment and saying like, this is, yeah. What you said. This is who I am, this is what I believe, this is what I have to offer the [00:34:00] world here.

I go, mm-hmm. . And it can feel really scary at. But it’s the most freeing feeling to communicate from that space versus any other space of trying to fit into a, a template or a formula or put on a character or a facade. Like it just isn’t worth it. . Yeah. 

Sarah: So what would you tell someone, uh, tell our listeners.

If they want to, you know, you know, get this deeper trust and probably figure out their superpowers to start from where, where would they go? 

Hillary: Yeah. I mean, it really does start with a trust in self and I think there’s a lot of brainstorming work, like even just sitting and thinking. What stories from my life are even coming to mind immediately and without trying to bring in the logical of like, well, why is this coming to mind?

And all that, but just trusting the memories and the [00:35:00] brainstorming ideas that are coming to the surface and just logging them in some way. Mm-hmm. , I make my clients have something called a story bank. I think your um, Lisa mentioned something about a story bank. Mm-hmm. as well. Mm-hmm. . Um, but just logging your brainstorming ideas there and, and keeping them there and holding onto them for the time when you’re ready to explore it as a story.

So I take my clients through like a two hour brainstorming experience as part of the work that they do. I know a lot of my stories, idea story ideas have come from just like a, a flash of a memory that I had or an object that’s in my space that reminds me of something. So I would say that’s a really great place to start in terms of cultivating the trust.

Mm-hmm. . And then it’s a matter of, ooh, let me. Go with this one idea and let’s see what happens if I add a beginning, middle, and end. I may be right some around it. Practice [00:36:00] telling the story in an off the cuff way to a friend, and then building trust in the story and the storytelling and what that can do for you.

I would say those are the good places to start. The trusting audience stuff can definitely, Take longer 

Sarah: to, it’s a muscle, right. That you kind of practice. Yeah. Yeah. What I would I add also is, is this creativity thinking. Like what, what I wrote about in the book is this idea of,

for probably a decade now, we know about storytelling, but if you come from this left brain thinking, analytical mind of I have to do marketing and now I have to, you know, tell stories in my marketing, your left brain. Is an overtrained muscle where your right brain is an undertrained muscle, and so your left brain will always want to bring in some techniques and, and, and features and benefits and, and those make.

Don’t make for a [00:37:00] good story, right? Where really the right brain is bringing in the creative storytelling approach. And so I would say yeah, bring in some creative, , activities let that brain take off and, and, and experiment freely. , to me it really. When I understood storytelling is when my right brain turned on.

I’m like, oh, okay. So it’s more about connecting with my audience and not about, you know, making them do something or buy something or, or any of that. So I think that was, , yeah, important to share here. 

Hillary: Yeah, and I think listening to other people’s stories, whether it’s like in someone else’s marketing, but also just.

Watching videos of storytellers on YouTube or listening to storytelling podcasts, right. At any time I hear someone really like in their story and sharing, I’m connected to it, but at the same time, it’s helping me think of stories from my life that I want [00:38:00] to share. Yeah. And also I know when I go for walks or.

My ideas always come to the surface, and I always have like a, either on my phone or a notepad next to me. , I just shared a story about my dentist in my newsletter, and that had been, I, that appointment was in. July, I think. So I was sitting with that story just brainstorming wise until I was ready to share it and had a reason to share it with my audience as 

Sarah: well.

Mm. Yeah. That’s good. There needed to be a reason, right? Because obviously otherwise, Yeah, it’s just a story, but if there’s a reason for the story, then it always is more compelling. Yeah. Yes. This has been so good. Thank you so much for sharing a different, very refreshing and radical approach to storytelling.

I really appreciated it. Let people know where they can find you and find out more about [00:39:00] your way of doing things. 

Hillary: Sure. So the best place to connect is on tell me a story’s website, which is tell me a story.info. And there’s also a link on that page to something called the Speak Up session. It’s a monthly free gathering that I host virtually, all around storytelling and taking up space and, and visibility.

And there’s typically a guest storyteller that. Jumping off the ledge, ready to share their story with a, a wonderful, warm audience. And then opportunity to kind of dive into your own storytelling and communication challenges. So I invite anyone listening that wants to check that out, to sign up and 

Sarah: come.

Wonderful. Yeah, we’ll make sure we add that link in the show notes as well. Thank you so much. I have one last question, Hillary, and that is what are you grateful for today? Or this. Mm. 

Hillary: I mean, this is very literal, but I’m really grateful for our conversation and I’m also grateful. [00:40:00] That I reached out to you.

I used my voice to reach out with you many months ago because you and your work really resonated and we had such a lovely conversation. And so I’m grateful for this relationship that has been built and for being in conversation with someone that is so aligned. It’s really lovely and I’m just a fan of your work, and your work is important and much needed.

So thank you. Thank 

Sarah: you. And likewise, thanks so much for being.

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