Story Wise Wrap January 2018

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G’day Story Wise Folks,

I have a confession, the following was written in December but didn’t hit the airwaves, so I have adapted it for now, and hope it is still resonant.

The end of the year is almost out of sight in the rear view mirror, and for us here in the Southern hemisphere, we are coming to the end of the long hot days of summer holidays where, at least for an afternoon or two, not much happened except of the buzzing of flies and human moves to get food.  

Where I live, the next 6 to 8 weeks are the most dangerous, as the abundance of significant bushfire anniversaries tells us. But last night a steady rain ended a heat wave, and brings a window of ease. It is also the start of the school year this week, which for me at least, will bring a freeing up of time. 

Summer is always a time of reflection, but my usual focus in on thinking and planning for the coming year, I rarely stop to take stock and celebrate any achievements, so here and now this is what I will do, maybe it will inspire you to the same.  

The big steps forward for us (i.e. me and Story Wise (I read recently that it is important and useful to separate your business from who you are?)), have been the rise and rise of Story Wise Women, giving a TEDx talk, lots of writing, reading and preparing like pupa, for transition into some serious offerings in 2018, as well as pursuing the creative art of radio/podcast storytelling.   The down side was realising that Story Wise Woodend was not sustainable for me and so I will not be continuing to host this event in 2018.

But I think more than anything has been a shift from feeling like I don’t know enough, have enough experience or knowledge, can offer enough, or that to offer enough I must tie myself to the wheel and move a mountain, to now feeling like I am skilled and experienced in story, and deeply so. I have something significant, useful and appealing to offer, that I really believe in. 

 I now know when I am in the saddle of my strengths and talents.  It is often a lot of work to get there, to get that ease and flow, whether its telling a story, advising or coaching on story, hosting an evening or listening to stories in circle, but these are the things that allow me to soar, even if momentarily, and that I must pursue, because that is how I am of greatest service. 

So now over to you, what did you want to celebrate year? How are you different now from how you were at the beginning of 2017? What have you learned?

And just in case you missed it, I am currently offering free story coaching sessions, up to 45 minutes. No matter what your issue, if you think story has a part in it and want a sounding board, to get clarity and ideas, make an appointment here.

Story Wise Wrap: November 2017

Hey Story Wise Folks,

It has been a big month, mostly because I passed the milestone of giving a TED talk. Yippee!  It was an epic journey that had me learning right up to the middle of the speech, and as I am now embarking on the creative task of podcasting my story of TED talking, it is an adventure that keeps on giving.  

By the time you are reading this I will on my way to France to ‘pick up’ my 16 year old daughter who has been away since January.  I am so very much looking forward to seeing her, swanning around France with her as interpreter for ten days, and then resettling my back family back together as we move towards the holiday season.

Story Wise story telling nights have finished for the year. I was unable to attend the last Story Wise Woodend and Ann Bolch kindly stepped in to host.  It was a small gathering, as was the October night, which is in part why I have decided not to continue hosting the event.  I love the community that has developed, but the numbers make it not sustainable for me to keep going. 

Story Wise Women, on the other hand finished the year on a wonderful high, with a full list of tellers, a full house of listeners, great stories and much hilarity. And of course there was meaning making, warmth and laughter, connections and conversations. We will return with more events in March 2018.

The Story Wise website has had an overhaul, with greater clarity around the work I do.  I am keen to do more work in organisations and communities, using story sharing to patchwork together an overall story, for peer leadership support, to process difficult events, to build culture and connection and as a way of enabling emotions to be acknowledged in the workplace - to be expressed, shared, processed and embraced, a counter to the overwhelming levels of workplace disengagement. This is the subject of the latest blog post.

I am also stepping up to develop my place as a speaker, on the topics storytelling, and its role in self awareness, connection and persuasion, the topic of emotions and emotional expression at work, and the impact of the simple but powerful tool of circle process to create connection and participation at work. So if you are looking for a speaker, please contact me, at this stage I am almost free!

I am also offering a Speakers Retreat, an individual and intensive program for women with significant speeches or presentations coming up. The idea is you take a couple of days out of your routine, and we work together, in between you writing, working, researching, thinking, walking and whatever you need to do to think deeply about your topic, and prepare to give a great speech. 

And the details for Spiral Wise Impact, the flagship women’s leadership program are now up on the website here. 

Still much work to do over the summer to refine details and offerings, but next year is to be a year of being out there!  Hope you can join me on the journey. 

Yours in story,



Story Wise Wrap: October 2017

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Hi Story Wise folks,

It has been two month since my last enews and a lot has been happening at Story Wise HQ.

Right at the minute, I am a wee bit jittery as its three days until I present a TEDx talk in Bendigo. My topic is naturally enough the power of storytelling.  On Sunday, as soon as I had it nailed, I decided to overhaul the whole thing!  I have just re-written what I sincerely hope will be the last version, now all I have to do is learn it!

I am hoping to do more public speaking work on the back of this, so if you’re looking for a speaker, get in touch.

The storytelling nights have been ticking along with Story Wise Women booming and Woodend going from being one extreme of a good size crowd one month, to last month being a very small crew.   Next month for Story Wise Women we will have filmmaker Mojan Jivadi along to film (if tellers would like) stories from our childhood.  A full explanation of this new theme is elsewhere in the newsletter).

 In another spin of the iterative business cycle, I am pivoting a little in my focus, not away from storytelling, but adding in women’s leadership.  Next year I will offer a new program called Spiral Wise Impact: Inner and Outer skills for women change agents

It is a program for women who are fighting the good fight from the inside or leading a change-the-world cause from the outside.  It is for women who want to develop confidence, be able to be seen and heard, get their message across and lead and inspire strong teams and collaborations. The program will explore and develop emotional intelligence, storytelling, facilitation and public speaking skills. 

If this is something that interests you, I would really appreciate your input, either through a survey I have created on Facebook or a phone call. I really want to explore what you and other women you know, are struggling with at work, and how I can best tailor this program to meet the needs of women in organisations. There’s a free ticket to November’s StoryWise Women for anyone who gets involved.

And if this isn’t for you, rest assured, storytelling nights will continue to keep the good stories coming.

The other direction I am heading, which I am excited about is, audio storytelling, not the kind like Story Wise Woodend, where a story is told before a live audience and then published as a podcast, but the kind where the story is narrated, with sound effects, music and real time conversations and commentary. My first idea is a series of about 6 episodes which tell the story of giving a TEDx talk.  Of course as Story Wise faithful subscribers, you will be the first to know when it hits the airwaves.

In the meantime, if you are in or near Melbourne, I hope you are enjoying the brilliant Spring weather we’ve been having, otherwise, I hope the sun is shining wherever you are.

Yours in story,


Story Wise Wrap: August 2017

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My first professional job was as a community lawyer at the North Melbourne Legal Service.  It was the job I imagined having all through my law degree, it was my dream job. 

In that job I was required to write a monthly report and which was always a chore, a time where I had to stop my forward momentum, to think about the past, assess, count, report and comment on where my work was going.  The report was for the monthly meeting of the volunteer committee of management and the report was really all they had to go on to know what was happening in the place they were responsible for. 

All of this is by way of saying this little Story Wise wrap of what I’ve been up to in over the month is similar.   

But even though I begrudged doing the legal service monthly reports, when it was done there was a level of satisfaction, a moment in time to stop and appreciate the progress that had been made.  And I grew to enjoy them.

So I will imagine I have a Story Wise committee of management, and in the spirit of those legal service reports, here is my report for the month for Story Wise.

(Great, I am off to a good start, I have filled out half a page without saying anything.  I am peddling fast under the water, but not much to show for it. Here goes nothing.)

The new venue for Story Wise Women was a great success.  We had about 35 women attend and ten stories, and Katrina and her sister, who manage The Good Room, put on a wonderful supper and set the room up beautifully.  The event is gaining momentum and a following, with a little help from Facebook ads, but gee Facebook ads beat walking the streets with flyers.  

Story Wise Woodend was beautifully hosted again by Ann Bolch last month and it is very nice to hand over the reins every so often. 

I am still beavering away writing: I have the footy piece back at the drawing board for a complete redraft, a storytelling workshop manual being chipped away, plus a public speaking curriculum, the TEDx talk, as well as a story for the monthly story nights.

It might sound like a lot, but I have discovered micro habits, and it suits me very well.  The aim is to write every day, as little as a paragraph for each of the projects I have on the go.  This keeps the idea moving forward, the task is never overwhelming, and combined with a daily habit tracking app, enables me to be productive and focussed on a few things at a time. 

Last week I travelled to Adelaide to run a train the trainer day long session with some amazing women working as facilitators and coaches for women in the rural and agriculture sector of South Australia.  I was training in a project I did over five years ago, called Weather The Storm: Women Prepare.  It is wonderful to think of the program getting a new lease of life, and the days training reminded me of my great love of the circle process for any kind of group meeting. Teaching circle work will become part of a women’s leadership program I am starting to plan for next year.  More on that to come.

So I know there’s not many statistics here, and don’t think I haven’t noticed - no files opened, no new clients, no contracts signed, but I am thinking about it, a lot, and I will be adding a new micro habit to the list, ‘developing offerings for next year’. 

yours in story,


Story Wise Wrap: July 2017

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The month of July at Story Wise has seemingly evaporated.  A couple of days at Victoria’s first Creative Summit, another day out that promised to have me speaking my way to success, then school holidays, and whoosh, the month has gone. 

In the background I am working on a personal essay about my years playing footy.  The personal essay is a writing genre that I love.  It combines memoir with ideas, beliefs, observation and persuasion, and in structure is quite similar to public speaking.

Speaking of which, I will be giving a TEDx talk in Bendigo in October, about personal storytelling, connection and ancestry, and so I am in the middle of wrestling this mass of story experience and thinking, into a concise, story filled, logical, informative and inspiring speech! No easy task. 

Both storytelling nights continue to grow and be appreciated by tellers and listeners alike.  I have been struck by a parallelism the nights have to a football match.   Well you may wonder how they are related - it is the unknown and unfolding nature of each story night, co-created by the participants, that reminds me of the unknown outcome of a footy game.  It is how the theme and motifs recur at unlikely places through the night, and how the night becomes a whole new story, made up of stories.

I am really enjoying writing at the moment and want to clear the decks so I can do it as much as possible.  Which means giving up something else, and in the short term that something is podcasting.  So this week will see the Story Wise Woodend Pause Podcast episode and then … a pause, probably until the end of the year.  I will keep recording, dividing and saving stories from the nights, until I, or someone else, is ready to create a season of podcast stories. (If you’re interested, drop me a line).

Until next month, catch the stories as they unfold.