Self Development

Why You Should Tell Your Stories & (One of) My Unconventional Stories...[Video Production Brisbane]

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“Somehow we realize that great stories are told in conflict, but we are unwilling to embrace the potential greatness of the story we are actually in. We think God is unjust, rather than a master storyteller.” 

- Donald Miller

So I have a confession to make--I love telling other people's stories, but I haven't told mine...yet. Today, I'm going to share with you just one of my stories--one type of story (there are many types of stories). It's the story of where my journey began as to how I started my first business at the age of 24.

The reason I'm sharing this story is because honestly...I've been told time and time again that it's about time I told my story. My excuse is that I'm always so busy telling other people's stories and showing them how to share theirs and I've just never got around to telling mine. But the cat is out of the bag, and the truth is...Telling your stories requires vulnerability. I'm great with vulnerability...just not my own!

And well, which story do I tell?  Because it's kinda complicated. And I don't want to bore people with my stories. Hell! Other people's stories are much more interesting--or so I keep telling myself. The thing is, we don't have to tell all of our gory, uncensored, and drama-filled stories. You know those stories? The ones about the challenges and the times we'd rather forget. We think, "who wants to know ,right?".

But here's the thing--unless we tell other people of our struggles, not just the triumphs, it's hard for them to relate and they wonder if we're really qualified to give them what they need. Sometimes people need to know that we are real people with real feelings and experiences. And you know, we only have to tell the stories that our audiences can relate to.

And sometimes, we just need to tell them because they need to be told--for our own good, and because it gives others permission to be vulnerable too. It's kind of the great equaliser. 

An Unconventional Story of Where Things Started


So the very top picture is me is as a black belt in Karate with my original club (which is still around BTW), twenty-something years ago now.  The other photo (above) is me doing a public demonstration of chinese staff in Yangshuo in China in 1995.  By this time, I had left my old Karate club, started a partnership and built my own martial arts club of around 200 students, and we had just made a huge transition from (Shito Ryu) Karate to Shaolin Kung Fu. We were in China training with our Kung Fu masters at the time this photo was taken.

Unless you've done any type of martial arts , it may have missed your attention that it's a pretty big undertaking to transition to another martial art, and one whose principles are in complete opposition. It's unheard of. In fact, it's highly unconventional. 

And that's the whole life has been built on being 'unconventional'. I just don't accept the status quo and if I can find how to do something better, I'll do it, regardless of how it may appear to others. I've kind of always marched to the beat of my own drum.

So how does that relate to business? 

Well the other thing I've never publicly shared is that starting my martial arts club was my first foray into business. It was also my biggest failure and it took a long time to get over.  The reason being was I started this club because I saw an injustice in the other club I was at. Who would have known that I would suffer a greater injustice at the hands of the very person whom the original injustice was perpetrated upon (my partner)? It took a long time to get over, because it was my first big dream of having a business that would sustain me financially, keep me fit and something that I was so passionate about. We were growing and expanding--we had instructors opening branches--life was good...I thought my life was set.  It was never about the money though--it was about the people--the students and the family we'd created. And it was about the dream and how I lived a life of purpose.  Oh how naive I was back my early 20's and bullet-proof!

You see, my story, or rather, this particular story (because there's more than one) is not necessarily about 'video' or marketing. But it's about business in a way, and it's about relating to you. I may not know who you are and I may not know all your stories, but I know that there will be at least one of you who may have had a similar experience in business and there may be one of you who can maybe relate. And there may also be another one of you that may not have had a business failure, but you may have been deceived or you may relate to feeling bullet-proof when you were a young dreamer just like me (maybe you still are).

And you know...I'm still that dreamer.  It's just that now I've been knocked down a few more times and I'm just a little older and a bit battle-worn, a little bit more cautious and definitely a lot wiser. It took me a while to learn my lessons, but they were valuable lessons which have brought me to this point. Because of these experiences, these stories, they give me a better understanding and empathy for others. I have a deeper appreciation of people's circumstances. They've also increased my level of compassion, awareness and my fascination of other people's stories. They've influenced and improved my ability to tell the stories of others without judgement. 

What about you? What story or stories are you not sharing that could benefit others? Because it is our own stories of uniqueness that help us determine what it is that we do differently or bring to our businesses, and who we will attract. And remember that you have many different stories. You don't have to share a 'how it all started' story. You don't even have to feel that you need to have 'completed' your story. You can still be in the middle of a story and be able to share it.

This week, take the time to sit down and start 'a' story--any story. You don't have to share it with anyone, but just observe what comes up for you and what you write down and then look for a thread that either relates to  your business or what may relate to your customers. You'll be surprised at what you'll discover.

Have a great week!

Kerry :) x

The Stories That Bind Us--How Narrative Shapes Identity...[Brand Story}

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"What story will you write for yourself? What story will you share with the world? In the end it is our stories that bind us, that heal us, and that grow us."

- Nicole Cody

It's said that every person has a story. It's true. We all have a story. But do you think you have a story worth telling? Well I'm here to tell you that I believe you do. Because if I didn't think you had a story worth telling, I wouldn't be here right now talking to you, and I wouldn't be here right now, telling my client's stories and documenting them in the only way I know how to...visually.

Those like us who have taken the road-less-travelled and pursued the calling in our hearts to create or go into business, I think have some of the most interesting stories. Usually, business people are more driven than your average person and have an insatiable thirst to make their mark upon the world in some way--to make a difference. Usually, there's a reason behind that drive and it's often wrapped up within a story. It's often a journey made up of many stories along the way. How we got to where we are today matters, however humble the road we've travelled.

Lately, I've been a little frustrated with being in business and having to be so visible--feeling like the proverbial hamster on the social media marketing wheel, and all that goes with building a business in this digital era. I don't know about you, but sometimes like now, I feel a little lost and I become overwhelmed, not knowing where I begin and where my business ends--the lines get blurred and I feel like just another 'face' out there whose voice becomes drowned out among the myriad of other voices just like my own--all scrambling to make sense of our own place in the world and having to make a life that is financially viable and sustainable--and questioning whether our place in this world has real value.

Do you ever feel like that sometimes?

It's times like these that I take a step back. I turn and look back to see how far I've come. I turn to look back at the stories I've created or been a part of in my life. It helps me make sense of who I am and why I'm here right now doing what I'm doing. 

The Stories That Bind Us

So I love stories...all kinds of stories. I'm fascinated with stories and the human psyche. Sad stories...happy stories, and all those in-between--they make our lives more meaningful. Because without grief, how would we come to know true joy? Without challenges, how would we come to know and appreciate our triumphs?

And here's an interesting thing...what we know about our own family stories and narratives, often plays an integral role in how we approach business and to a certain extent, how resilient we are when it comes to the challenges we face.

It was observed by American psychologist, Sarah Duke, the wife of Dr Marshal Duke of  Emory University, who works with children with learning disabilities that the students who do better at facing challenges were the ones who knew a lot about their families. Dr Marshal Duke and colleague, Robyn Fivush set out to test Sarah Duke's hypothesis, and came up  with a measure called the 'Do You Know?' scale that asked children to answer twenty questions. Some of those questions included examples such as: "Do you know where you grandparents grew up? Do you know where your parents met? Do you know the story of your birth?"

[Excerpt from article, The Stories That Bind Us, by Bruce Feiler, New York Times, March 2013]  "Dr. Duke and Dr. Fivush asked those questions of four dozen families in the summer of 2001, and taped several of their dinner table conversations. They then compared the children’s results to a battery of psychological tests the children had taken, and reached an overwhelming conclusion. The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned. The “Do You Know?” scale turned out to be the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness."

Dr Duke goes on to say that the answers are to do with a child's sense of being part of a larger family...a family that has a unifying narrative. And that "the children who have the most self-confidence have what he and Dr. Fivush call a strong 'intergenerational self'. They know they belong to something bigger than themselves."

So what do narratives have to do with business?

I quote from the same excerpt above..."Leaders in other fields have found similar results. Many groups use what sociologists call sense-making, the building of a narrative that explains what the group is about. Jim Collins, a management expert and author of “Good to Great,” told me that successful human enterprises of any kind, from companies to countries, go out of their way to capture their core identity."

And the core identity--the who and why of who we are and how our businesses came about, all stem from our stories and narratives. In knowing and appreciating our own significance in these stories, we come to feel like we too belong to something bigger than ourselves. This gives us the courage and resilience to keep going in the face of challenges. 

But most importantly, it also gives our customers a sense of something bigger that they too, can feel a part of. So if you ever wonder about the significance of your own stories--don't question that, but look deeper into it.  

Because all we need to do as business owners is find the RIGHT STORIES that speak to our customers, strongly connects and resonates with them, and then find ways of authentically telling those stories to attract our ideal customers and keep them coming back for more.

So what stories are you writing for yourself and your business, sharing with the world and in turn helping to bind, heal and grow yourself and others?  I'd love to know! So if ever you feel like sharing a little of your story, I'm here to listen. 

Kerry :) x




What is Authenticity and How Do You Create That In Your Business?...[Video Production Brisbane]

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"Authenticity requires a certain measure of vulnerability, transparency, and integrity."

 ~ Janet Louise Stephenson

Today I'm going to take a detour from '6 Simple Types of Video to Showcase Your Business', to talk about something that's been popping up a bit lately. Just in general life, and interactions with clients as well as what's been floating around in the big and often overwhelming world of business and marketing...AUTHENTICITY.

This word just keeps jumping out at me and like many other words, it's being used more and more. I'm seeing this word used generously in marketing, and I myself use this word in my own marketing.  But it's one of those words that gets bandied about so often and we see it used over and over again as the latest 'fad' in marketing, that it loses it's ability to shine and to offer us the depth and significance that the word truly implies. But that observation doesn't discount the fact that we need to be looking at authenticity as part of our own personal and business development.  And how if we want truly want to grow our businesses,  we need to ensure that AUTHENTICITY forms an important part of our core values - business, as well as personal.

So what is 'Authenticity' and how do you create an atmosphere of authenticity in your own business? 

The definition of Authentic according to Miriam-Webster dictionary, is "True to one's own personal, spirit or character - sincere and authentic with no pretensions", and "not false or imitation: real, actual". So as much we need to be talking about that in our marketing, we also need to ensure that what we do speaks louder than what we say.  I'll repeat that...we need to ensure that what we DO speaks louder than what we SAY.

I think it takes a certain amount of courage to be authentic. How often is it, that when you engage with your customers, regardless of how good your relationship is, you can sometimes experience challenges, doubts, and uncertainties during your dealings with them?  These are moments when your courage to be authentic, both as you genuinely consider the needs of your customers and also your need to bring value to your business, can be truly tested. But having the courage to do so also provides the opportunity to build a stronger relationship and set that all important foundation of trust.  Because without trust, we can't progress our businesses. And as we know, trust is hard to establish, but so easy to lose.

Authenticity is also not just about what we do and say, but it comes through in the visual messages that our customers see across all our platforms. Have a look at your visuals...the images, the colours you use...the style of fonts, and how you bring all these elements together.  Is there are commonality? Do they have a similar look and feel? What about your photos? Your head shots (if you have any), your stock photos and graphics - do they imply a certain message? What do they stand for and does what they stand for align with your core values and reflect your personal and or business brand?  

If your words speak corporate and professional, but your visuals and behaviours smack of anything but, you're going to lose the trust of the people you're wanting to attract, because there will be a mismatch between the message you're implying and the actual message that's being received. This then comes across as being 'false' and people get a feeling of something not being quite right.

I believe that authenticity requires a high level of integrity, which is doing the right thing, regardless of the status quo and what others think is the right thing for you to do.  I also think integrity is having a deep sense of responsibility and genuine care for others. It's about thinking of not just what is going to be in alignment with our own values, but what is going to ensure that our customer's needs and wants are being considered and that we also place value on that too.

But mostly, I think authenticity is about understanding what makes us uniquely qualified to offer something of value, and conveying a consistent and strong message, so that we then attract to our businesses other people who possess those same core values of transparency, integrity and trust.

So this week, think about the messages that you're putting out in your business, whether that be in person, online or otherwise. Do those messages convey authenticity? Do they reflect your unique offerings and are they aligned with your core values? Because there's always time and opportunity to work towards this in order to gain and build trust with your customers.

And if you're like to read a little more about authenticity in marketing, I found this great little article to help you called 'Why Authenticity in Marketing Matters Now More Than Ever'.

Next week we'll continue with the series '6 Simple Types of Video to Showcase Your Business'  where we take a look at WHITEBOARD VIDEOS to create interest!

Ciao for now...

Kerry :) x

Attracting the Right Client is about Clarity - Are Your Clear on that?...[Video Production Brisbane}

Image by Kerry Warnholtz, TSI Multimedia

Image by Kerry Warnholtz, TSI Multimedia

"Her clarity gave her purpose, and her purpose gave her clarity."

~ Jonathon Stroud

This weekend I'm holding a video workshop to help some women in business create an introductory video as part of their marketing and branding.  And I couldn't be more excited! Even though it's not exclusively for women, I just happened to attract women.

Going through the exercise of creating the ad copy and piecing my marketing together for this workshop has been an interesting exercise for me, because for the first time since starting down this particular road in business, it's the first time I've been really clear on who I am and why I'm doing this.

So what I found interesting is that I'm attracting a different type of client - clients that believe they can make a difference and bring about change through who they are and what they do.

Initially when I started out in business I was happy to have any client that was willing to take me on and pay me. Today my expectations are so different.  They're different because I'm beginning to get clear on who I really want to work with, what I truly value and what I stand for.

This weekend these passionate women are going to get much more than an 'introductory video'. This weekend these women are going to get really clear on who they are...what their purpose is...what they stand for...what they value, and WHY they do what they do.

Most importantly these change-makers are going to find out that what differentiates them AND WHAT SETS THEIR BUSINESSES APART is who they are and what they're about. Video created through story, is just the medium to fully and authentically express that.

Kerry :) x