Monday, December 16, 2019

Happy Holidays! We are all looking forward to the annual party where we will be celebrating with good food and fellowship. Of course the fun continues with the gift exchange! Come join us in the New Year, work on your goals and look for more photos coming.

Over the past three meetings we have had many speakers who have been working on their educational goals. Great to have guests enjoy our meetings and return again to learn more.

We even had a Speakers Night last week, as we have many members wanting to give speeches and work on their goals. We will be having this once a month to meet our members needs. Over the past few weeks, evaluators were giving helpful tips and motivating speakers continue to take their speeches to the next level. New members giving ice breakers, members achieving goals through consensus and more experienced members working on toasts and roasts. Great to see so much support for our members working on Pathways or the Legacy program!

Imagine what you could do next year if you started working on your communication and leadership goals!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Secrets from Storytellers

Dermot always has a story up his sleeve. Every week he knows how to make us laugh! How does he do it?! He shared some tips to help you become a better storyteller.

Secret #1 A good story should be at least 80% true, the rest can be attributed to a bad memory.

Secret #2 Humour goes a long way and helps to gauge the listeners reactions.

Secret #3 I generally have two endings to my stories...a soft ending and a crash landing. Depending on the audience response I deliver one or the other. Both are the same ending, just delivered differently. For example : if the audience laughs at the sad parts I will go with the flow and deliver in a humorous fashion.

Secret #4 Remember that the story is to entertain the listener, not to feed the ego of the storyteller. 

Craig Valentine, World Champion of Public Speaking  has a masterful way of helping you communicate with more power? He has some great tips on being a better storyteller. How could this help your speeches? Bonus Secret . . .

We have some terrific storytellers and writers at Igniters. Come to a meeting and meet them. What can you learn this week to make you a better communicator?!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Igniters Warm Up their Speaking!

What did we Learn this week?

Igniters are a hearty bunch! Although it was snowing, it was a full house. Speaking and a friendly meeting will warm you up quickly!

Tips This Week: Trevor shared in the Meeting Mentor Moment. He has learned to be a better audience member. He turns off phone. Pays attention to the speaker. Listens!
Pause - A good pause can do the heavy lifting
Speech - Aim for crafted. Not perfectly polished.

Mentoring Power
Our members are able to grow because of the strong mentoring in our club. Marion does a fantastic job of mentoring for the major roles. More members willing to step up.

This week she used her creativity and even created a sign for Dermot - Toastmaster in Training! She shares a script to help newer member learn the Toastmaster role and share the role so they can learn and feel more comfortable.

Congratulations! Nandini finished her Level 3 in Pathways with an inspiring speech about Wellsprings a fantastic resource for providing support and care to cancer patients and their family.
Yvonne used the acronomyn H.O.P.E. from the speech to give feedback and getting the audience to imagine a scene will have more impact.

Gil shared his Communication Style of Intitiating and shared his goal of wanting to speak more off the cuff and from the heart. He left us with two questions to think about this week. What is in You? What Is your Story? Mona gave helpful feedback about a well organized speech and focussing on 3 key parts - Heart, Energy, and Purpose.

Way to go Lindsay!- she won the TT award this week sharing her insights about fireplace guy on tv.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Start Strong! How To Do It

Every wonder how to start a speech with more power? Looking for examples to help you do it?
Press Play!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Educational Achievements

What can we learn this week?
Our Toastmaster Gil shared the importance of Rememberance and how we all have stories where we have been summoned to make decisions with courage. During the introductions, we all shared our stories and got to know each other better.

Getting Better! Speakers and Evaluators
Glen gave a speech from the Special Occasions Manual. He gave a heartfelt tribute to his father and honored him with an award for his contribution during World War II as a member of the Royal Merchant Navy. We all had a chance to learn more about his work and to appreciate the freedoms we have in Canada.

Congratulations Jey on completing Level 1 on your 2nd Path! He gave an interesting and interactive speech, where we all got a chance to work on our drawing skills and how our brains are able to take in a visual in milliseconds and know what it is!

Fantastic Marvin on completing your Level 2 in Dynamic Leadership Path.
He shared how his first manager helped to mentor him and had a BELIEF in him. (Build Relationships, Evaluate, Listen, Interact, Encourage, and Follow Up) and as a mentee he would LEARN. (Listen, Eager, Action Oriented, Respond, Never Give Up! He shared stories of other mentors in Toastmasters and our club who have mentored him and helped him grow.

Diane brought homemade tarts to thank all the members for their help in helping her win the Evaluation Contest. She shared the Divsion trophies - great seeing the history of other Toastmasters who have won and a nice way to inspire newer Toastmaters.
A supportive club every week. Come for a visit!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Winning at the Division Contest!

Igniters rocked it at Division E Contest in Cochrane! Great turnout to support our members! Lots of Igniters were involved in helping out at the contest as contest officials.

Congratulations Diane! - who won 1st place in the Evaluation Contest! She gave very helpful feedback to the test speaker who chatted with her after the contest.

Fantastic Marvin! He won President of the Year as he belongs to two clubs and won as President for Calgary Advanced.

Diane and Marvin will be competing for District Contests and District Of the Year Awards held in Lethbridge at the District Conference on May 1-3, 2020. Let's go and cheer them on!

Divison E Director Saya and Division Contest Chair Susan sharing in the excitement.

Evaluation Contest     
1. Diane                       
2. Harvey                 
3. Shazin

Table Topics Contest
1. Lucas
2. Scott
3. Rick               

Lynette Past E Division Director shared testimonials and highlighted many contributions of Marvin for the Toastmaster community. Other Of the Year awards were presented including Rookie of the Year, Toastmaster of the Year, Public Relations of the Year, and Area Director of the Year. It was an inspiring afternoon of leaders who are making a difference.

Hurray Igniters! Ksenija recieved a Pathways Chart on behalf of Igniters.
Our club was recognized as having members 75% or more enrolled in the Pathways Educational Program. Keep working on your goals. Every week you have an opportunity to get stronger!                     

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

President Distinguished Club!

Congratulations!! Ksenija our current President presented Yvonne last years President with the President's Distinguished Ribbon. 

This is the highest achievement a club can attain with 9 out of 10 goals. This is in areas of education, membership, and leadership.  Igniters has achieved this distinction for the past 5 years in a row and other years prior.

This club success is because members are always willing to support each other, mentor and share experiences, encourage new leaders to take on executive positions and encourage members to attain their goals at a fun and friendly meeting.
Guests are always welcome.

Stephen in a Pathways speech challenged members to give a speech a month. Some Igniters have taken him up on the challenge! Others are continuing to give speeches regularly.
Next week we have a full agenda with 3 speakers sharing their ideas.

Stephen also inspired Nandini with a speech using a post it note and she used this to help teach others about emotional intelligience and what she learned in keeping a journal for two weeks. He offered her feedback this week as she shared 3 tips when you are feeling annoyed!
1. Smile and breathe to calm down.
2. Find supportive friends to vent.
3. Journaling can help you become more clear in finding strategies in dealing with difficult people. We all know some!

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Circle of Gold - Giving Your Best

On Saturday Nov 2 at the Crowfoot Library, Diane along with other evaluation contestants attended the Division E Circle of Gold. Circle of Gold Team Darlene, Val, and Nandini shared tips on competing. Then along with Glen offered feedback for all the evaluators.

 Mike from Transformers was the test speaker and gave a funny and thought provoking speech about missed connections and cell phones. Imagine the days when you didnt have a cell phone! Just like at a contest, evaluators had 5 minutes to prepare their notes and their share their feedback.

The Circle of Gold is a safe environment where members receive support and encouragment, learn from each other, and can strengthen their confidence in speaking. This was Diane's first experience with Circle of Gold and she found it very helpful!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Exciting Area Contest!

Diane wins Area E6 Evaluation Contest! Way to go Igniters! Glen, Mary, and Stephen showed their support by coming. Great to have friendly faces in the audience!

The Area Contest was hosted by Smart Speakers and our A.Director Jennifer. Mona was a funny SAA and entertained us with introductions after the fact! Marvin helped as Chief Judge and Marion was an awesome timer! Nandini as Evaluation Toastmaster introduced the Test speaker who shared tips on positive self talk.

Dermot shared his experience of being a test speaker at other contests. He learned lots of feedback from the evaluators and really enjoyed the opportunity to develop his speaking skills.

Come on out to the Division Contest Nov 2 in Cochrane. A great afternoon of Table Topics, Evaluations, and awards. 

Friday, October 11, 2019

Club Contest - Celebrating our Members

How can you step out of  your comfort zone and grow? Enter a club contest, help out as a contest official, or learn from others for the next time!

Table Topics Contest
Toastmaster: Yvonne

1. Diane
2. Trevor
3. Chris
We learned alot about our members as they shared 1 thing they do uniquely

Evaluation Contest
Toastmaster: Nandini
Thank you to Jey for getting us the test speaker from his other club. Margaret gave a heartfelt and inspiring speech and honored her son.

1. Diane
2. Trevor
3. Glen

Dont you love a good photo where everyone is growing a little taller!!

Marion was a terrific food organizer and boy were the members delighted. Thanks to everyone for helping out and making the club contest a successful night.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Celebrating and Listening

September Birthdays! Jey, Gil, and Chris
Ayanna won Table Topics! 
Marvin honors Gil's Level 1 Pathways
Great turnout this week! Nice to have one of our guests return for another week. We celebrated frienships and birthdays with baklava.
Ayanna won Table Topics this week sharing her tips on how to have fun and still be disciplined.
** Tip: she sets a timer for 15 min and gets down to work! Then she rewards herself. Then she starts the timer again! Combines work and rewards.
Congratulations Gil! He was away for the summer and recieved his educational certificate. Igniters every week are working on their goals.

Listening Skills and Creative Thinking

How effective of a listener are you? One way of developing your skills is as an evaluator. Trevor demonstrated specific suggestions and used positive descriptive language to empower the speaker. Gil gave a creative evaluation using Vision, Opportunities, and Confidence to offer strengths and suggestions. Diane F gave an Oreo Evalution! She was thinking outside the box and had us all hungering for more!!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Learning Through Laughter

Full House! Pleasure to have two guests visit. Vibrant energy and members were chatting up a storm!

What is your dream job? How Table Topics helped nail an interview!

Member Recognition
Congratulations to Trevor! Won this week for best Table Topic (TT). Great tip when he sat down on the floor and showed us what his friend likes to share with him! ** Tip: Nothing like a good demo! One of our guests showed courage (Word of the day too!) and shared who she likes to talk to at work. She got an extra round of applause for her efforts. Mary as the TT evaluator, took on this role for the first time with humor and had us laughing out loud.

Way to go Devon! He was presented with the weekly Igniting Spirits Trophy. This trophy is given to the member who Ignites Spirits by inspiring us by taking on new roles and stepping out of his comfort zone. Who will win this week?!

Speakers of the Week
** Tip: Chronological order - one way to structure your speech to make it flow more easily. Yvonne has been working on her Pathway speeches and shared her leadership styles in high school, during university and her residency, and dealing with health challenges. She is determined to use her skills to help educate others. Jey used the S.T.A.R. method to help Yvonne get stronger as a speaker.

** Tip: Giving a speech, getting feedback, and applying the feedback to another speech. One of the fastest ways to grow. Ksenija gave a speech about Contests last week, recieved feedback from her evaluator and mentor Marvin, and this week continued to inspire and educate the members with "Contests Part 2" about getting involved in the upcoming Club Contest on Oct 8.

Marion had us chuckling with her joke of the day and Dermot as Grammarian had us laughing out loud with his play on words. Glen rounded out the meeting as General Evalutor by offering feedback to the evaluators and the overall meeting. Yes, he tickled our funny bone at times too!

What will you learn next week? Come and stretch your brain and find out!

Friday, September 13, 2019

Say Cheese! Learn to Think on your Feet Better

We learn and laugh alot at our meetings! A great way to spend a Tues evening. Terrific having our Area Director Jennifer visit! She enjoyed our meeting and has some great ideas from Igniters to take back to her own club.

Our Toastmaster Glen brought his sense of humor to a more serious theme of Dental Hygiene. He was wanting us to learn from his experiences. Diane, the General Evaluator gave dental floss to thank evaluators! Marvin used dental terms to give a memorable evaluation!

Meeting Mentor - Chris helped newer member Devon with the timing role. He sat next to him and they shared parts of the role as a newer member was mentored by a more experienced mentor. The Igniters Advantage!

More Mentoring!
Ice Breaker - Naomi gave an inspiring first speech about moving to Canada and what she was able to do to get her dream job. Mona her evaluator gave her feedback and demonatrated a mentor mentee conversation on working on goals. Mentoring Teams - Thurs Sept 12 Mentors discussed issues and Mon Sept 16 - Conference Call with Mentors and Mentees to work on goals.

Preparing for Contests - The Club Contest for Table Topics and Evaluation will be held on Oct. 8. Ksenija our President gave an educational on the purpose of contests, types of contests, and three key roles in the contest. Stay tuned this week when she when she shares Part 2 on Contests.

Table Topic Tips - Jey and Nandini worked together as a team to share ideas and TT tips with the members. Also the judging form and the key criteria were discussed.
* Key Tips: May repeat question to buy time. Answer the question as early as possible. Use stories to illustrate your key points. Personal stories are a powerful tool. Summarize your key points.

2 min video - More Tips!

See you next week!

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Listen and Learn!

Tips from World Champion Craig Valentine
Watching speakers and the techniques they use can help us get better. Check out other videos in Members Resources above. World Champion Craig Valentine states you can add more power to your stories with 3 Cs. Tip: Characters, Conflict, and Conversations. Look for these as you watch the video. How can you use these 3 C's to make your next speech stronger? You know where to come to practice!

Devon warm welcome to our newest Igniter. Great to see our new members stepping up and learning new roles. Members next to you can always help you out. 

Stephen shared a speech about mentoring and the value of practising impromptu speaking with a few members. He also had us write on a Post-it note an encouraging note to ourselves to post on the mirror. Tip: You engage the audience when you throw a curve ball or unexpected idea. He then had us pass the note to the right! Encouragement from another member. Congrats on finishing Level 2 in Pathways! 

Jey gave an entertaining speech about buying vacation tickets on Kijiji. We all learned a few lessons!! He is embarking on his second Path. He used gestures, vocal variety, and alot of enthusiasm to share his stories. Tip: Keep working on your goals step by step. Wow! Way to go on finishing Level 5 in the Path Presentation Mastery. 

Ksenija our President has been learning from various trainings in the city and shared highlights from an excellent session by Lynette T "It's Not About the Points!" and explained about the Distinguished Club Program and how it is all about the success of the members that leads to the success of the club. Inspiring! She shared the goals the members and the club have already achieved just over the summer. Go Igniters!! 

Club Executive - Thanks to our dedicated team for their ideas at the executive meeting

We are looking forward to members who were away during the summer. It will be great to have you back!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Power of Stories and 2019 World Champion of Speaking

Ksenija, our President went to another officer training this week and shared "Facts tell, Stories sell!"

Watch the 2019 winner of the International Speech Contest at the Toastmaster Convention. What can you learn from his story? How can you tell a better story with more impact?

This week our speakers Yvonne and Mary were sharing stories and the lessons about time management and leadership. Mary shared a tip she learned from Yvonne 500 - 600 words is approximately a 5 -7 min speech. Try it! 

New Member Induction - Great to have Naomi join us!
Planner or Spontaneous?
We had a fun meeting learning about our members. Some are organizers and like to plan for travelling and some are more spontaneous.

What books are you reading? Margaret shared a book she is enjoying called Serve to Win by tennis player Novak Djokivic about his diet and fitness plan that helped him with his best season ever. She used it as a prop to ask spontaneous questions and the members shared their favorite books, dreams, and ideas in a 1-2 minute speech. You need to get to the point quickly!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Igniters Celebrate! Mentoring and Video Tip

Celebrating Birthdays! Igniters had a fun meeting celebrating five August birthdays. After the meeting fruit, cupcakes and chatting with each other and our guest. You should have been there trying to fit five names as we sang Happy Birthday!

Advantages of Mentoring Plus At Igniters you have the advantage of working with a mentor and also being part of a mentoring team. Mona, Mentoring Coordinator met with new members to share about the benefits and getting a mentor to help with their goals. Save time, grow faster, and learn from others at your own pace!

What leadership skills do you want to develop?  Jey was working on his Level 5 in Pathways by moderating a panel with Stephen, Yvonne, and Marvin.

Tip from his evaluator: where you stand is important. You can connect better with your audience. Lindsay a new member was timer and she had to pay careful attention to many timing requirements. Great job! She has been taking on new roles at the meeting and applying some of these learnings at work.

Leadership Opportunities! In August there have been leadership trainings (CLED) and workshops all over Calgary. Igniters has 7/7 club officers trained!

Igniters were giving workshops, Nandini sharing tips on impromptu speaking, Mona on effective evaluations, and Marvin teaching treasurers. Dermot a newer member and Sergeant at Arms networked with leaders. Ksenija, our President supported members and gathered ideas.

*Video Tip: How to prepare for a speech in a minute

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Welcome More Igniters! The Evaluation Advantage

A warm welcome to Ayanna, Trevor, Lindsay, Naiomi, and Mina!  Great to have you join our club. We are all here to help and support you with your goals.

The Evaluation Advantage

 This week Trevor gave his icebreaker speech "Three Objects that Define Me" while Jey gave his ice breaker on his second Path "Where Are you From?" Stephen on Level 2 of Pathways, shared about his communication style. Each week our members learn new ideas.

The Evaluation Advantage is you get feedback, learn from it and grow. This week, evaluators Chris, Mary, and Vicky helped the speakers develop their skills by sharing strengths and areas for improvement in an encouraging manner. Not only do speakers get feedback from an evaluator, they also get written evaluations  from the members of the club. 

It doesn't stop there! Yvonne, was the General Evaluator and she gave feedback about other roles at the meeting, and how the evaluators can also improve. 

Want to learn more about giving an Effective Evaluation? (click for more info)

Stay Tuned! Next time the Benefits of Mentoring and Leadership Training

President Ksenija inducts new member Lindsay 

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Growing This Summer!

Yes our members are growing this summer! Every time you practice, get feedback - you get better.

Great to see many Igniters at the meeting. We had a fun meeting with Marvin as our Toastmaster, sharing tips on wine tasting and vineyards in B.C.  Ayanna gave an ice breaker speech in the Presentation Mastery Pathway. She shared why she is learning Spanish and how as a dietician it can allow her to help more people. Muchas Gracias!

Diane, our VP Membership gave an induction for our new members Trevor and Ayanna  to welcome them to our club. Igniters also gave their support to help the new members grow. Look for more inductions as we have more guests joining!!

 Do you want to be a stronger leader? Better communicator? When will you start working on your goals? "Day One or One Day?" Jay Shetty a motivational speaker - shared this idea. You decide!

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Igniters at District Conference

Margaret, Mona, Diane, Glen, Nandini and Marvin had amazing time at the District Conference in Moosejaw, May 3-5. We enjoyed the 4 contest and learned from our International Director Larry. We shared the excitement with friends while making new friends.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Area E6 Contest

We had an amazing Area Contest Tuesday. Our contestants gave us all Inspirational and entertaining speeches. Congratulations Nandini and Glen, you both gave wonderful speeches and made us proud placing in the International and Humorous Speech Contests. Thanks everyone for supporting us. 

International Speech Contest
  1. Geetha   - Transformers
  2. Shaona   - Spoken Word
  3. Nandini   - Igniters

Humorous Speech Contest

  1. Lucas  - Spoken Word
  2. Glen    - Igniters
  3. Val      - Transformers

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

"The Life Story Interview" guide used in reasearch for the book: "The Art and Science of Personality Development", by Dan P. McAdams

I've enjoyed the book "The Art and Science of Personality Development" so much that I have read it every year for the past three years.

If you are interested in adding depth to your personal story I recommend it.

Drawing on state-of-the-art personality and developmental research, this book presents a new and broadly integrative theory of how people come to be who they are over the life course. Preeminent researcher Dan P. McAdams traces the development of three distinct layers of personality--the social actor who expresses emotional and behavioral traits, the motivated agent who pursues goals and values, and the autobiographical author who constructs a personal story. Highly readable and accessible to scholars and students at all levels, the book uses rich portraits of the lives of famous people to illustrate theoretical concepts and empirical findings.

While researching Dan P. McAdams I came across "The Life Story Interview" guide for researching how people think about and tell the story of their lives. I used this guide to help me write my own life story.  Enjoy:

(Apologies for the formatting)

The Life Story Interview

Dan P. McAdams, Northwestern University

Revised 1995

Introductory Comments

This is an interview about the story of your life. We are asking you to play the role of storyteller about your own life -- to construct for us the story of your own past, present, and what you see as your own future.

People's lives vary tremendously, and people make sense of their own lives in a tremendous variety of ways. As social scientists, our goal is to collect as many different life stories as we can in order to begin the process of making sense of how people make sense of their own lives. Therefore, we are collecting and analyzing life stories of "normal" adults from all walks of life, and we are looking for significant commonalities and significant differences in those life stories that people tell us.

In telling us a story about your own life, you do not need to tell us everything that has ever happened to you. A story is selective. It may focus on a few key events, a few key relationships, a few key themes which recur in the narrative. In telling your own life story, you should concentrate on material in your own life that you believe to be important in some fundamental way -- information about yourself and your life which says something significant about you and how you have come to be who you are. Your story should tell how you are similar to other people as well as how you are unique. Our purpose in these interviews is to catalogue people's life stories so that we may eventually arrive at some fundamental principles of life-storytelling as well as ways of categorizing and making sense of life stories constructed by healthy adults living at this time in history and in this place. We are not interested, therefore, in pathology, abnormal psychology, neurosis and psychosis. We are not trying to figure out what is wrong with you. Nor are we trying to help you figure out what is wrong with you. The interview should not be seen as a "therapy session." This interview is for research purposes only, and its sole purpose is the collection of data concerning people's life stories.

The interview is divided into a number of sections. In order to complete the interview within, say, an hour

and a half or so, it is important that we not get bogged down in the early sections, especially the first one in which I

will ask you to provide an overall outline of your story. The interview starts with general things and moves to the

particular. Therefore, do not feel compelled to provide a lot of detail in the first section in which I ask for this

outline. The detail will come later. I will guide you through the interview so that we can finish it in good time. I

think that you will enjoy the interview. Most people do.


I. Life Chapters

We would like you to begin by thinking about your life as a story. All stories have characters, scenes,

plots, and so forth. There are high points and low points in the story, good times and bad times, heroes and villains,

and so on. A long story may even have chapters. Think about your life story as having at least a few different

chapters. What might those chapters be? I would like you to describe for me each of the main chapters of your life

story. You may have as many or as few chapters as you like, but I would suggest dividing your story into at least 2

or 3 chapters and at most about 7. If you can, give each chapter a name and describe briefly the overall contents in

each chapter. As a storyteller here, think of yourself as giving a plot summary for each chapter. This first part of

the interview can expand forever, so I would like you to keep it relatively brief, say, within 20-25 minutes.

Therefore, you don't want to tell me "the whole story" now. Just give me a sense of the story's outline -- the major

chapters in your life.

[The interviewer may wish to ask for clarifications and elaborations at any point in this section, though

there is a significant danger of interrupting too much. If the subject finishes in under 10 minutes, then he/she has not

said enough, and the interviewer should probe for more detail. If the subject looks as if he/she is going to continue beyond half an hour, then the interviewer should try (gently) to speed things along somewhat. Yet, you don't want the subject to feel "rushed." (It is inevitable, therefore, that some subjects will run on too long.) This is the most

open-ended part of the interview. It has the most projective potential. Thus, we are quite interested in how the

subject organizes the response on his or her own. Be careful not to organize it for the subject.]

II. Critical Events

Now that you have given us an outline of the chapters in your story, we would like you to concentrate on a

few key events that may stand out in bold print in the story. A key event should be a specific happening, a critical

incident, a significant episode in your past set in a particular time and place. It is helpful to think of such an event as

constituting a specific moment in your life story which stands out for some reason. Thus, a particular conversation

you may have had with your mother when you were 12-years-old or a particular decision you made one afternoon

last summer might qualify as a key event in your life story. These are particular moments set in a particular time

and place, complete with particular characters, actions, thoughts, and feelings. An entire summer vacation -- be it

very happy or very sad or very important in some way -- or a very difficult year in high school, on the other hand,

would not qualify as key events because these take place over an extended period of time. (They are more like life


I am going to ask you about 8 specific life events. For each event, describe in detail what happened, where

you were, who was involved, what you did, and what you were thinking and feeling in the event. Also, try to

convey what impact this key event has had in your life story and what this event says about who you are or were as a

person. Please be very specific here.


Event #1: Peak Experience

A peak experience would be a high point in your life story -- perhaps the high point. It would be a moment

or episode in the story in which you experienced extremely positive emotions, like joy, excitement, great happiness,

uplifiting, or even deep inner peace. Today, the episode would stand out in your memory as one of the best, highest,

most wonderful scenes or moments in your life story. Please describe in some detail a peak experience, or

something like it, that you have experienced some time in your past. Tell me exactly what happened, where it

happened, who was involved, what you did, what you were thinking and feeling, what impact this experience may

have had upon you, and what this experience says about who you were or who you are. [Interviewer should make

sure that the subject addresses all of these questions, especially ones about impact and what the experience says

about the person. Do not interrupt the description of the event. Rather ask for extra detail, if necessary, after the

subject has finished initial description of the event.]

Event #2: Nadir Experience

A "nadir" is a low point. A nadir experience, therefore, is the opposite of a peak experience. It is a low

point in your life story. Thinking back over your life, try to remember a specific experience in which you felt

extremely negative emotions, such as despair, disillusionment, terror, guilt, etc. You should consider this experience

to represent one of the "low points" in your life story. Even though this memory is unpleasant, I would still

appreciate an attempt on your part to be as honest and detailed as you can be. Please remember to be specific. What

happened? When? Who was involved? What did you do? What were you thinking and feeling? What impact has

the event had on you? What does the event say about who you are or who you were?

Event #3: Turning Point

In looking back on one's life, it is often possible to identify certain key "turning points" -- episodes through

which a person undergoes substantial change. Turning points can occur in many different spheres of a person's life -

- in relationships with other people, in work and school, in outside interests, etc. I am especially interested in a

turning point in your understanding of yourself. Please identify a particular episode in your life story that you now

see as a turning point. If you feel that your life story contains no turning points, then describe a particular episode

in your life that comes closer than any other to qualifying as a turning point. [Note: If subject repeats an earlier event (e.g., peak experience, nadir) ask him or her to choose another one. Each of the 8 critical events in this section

should be independent. We want 8 separate events. If the subject already mentioned an event under the section of

"Life Chapters," it may be necessary to go over it again here. This kind of redundancy in inevitable.]

Event #4: Earliest Memory

Think back now to your childhood, as far back as you can go. Please choose a relatively clear memory

from your earliest years and describe it in some detail. The memory need not seem especially significant in your life

today. Rather what makes it significant is that it is the first or one of the first memories you have, one of the first

scenes in your life story. The memory should be detailed enough to qualify as an "event." This is to say that you

should choose the earliest (childhood) memory for which you are able to identify what happened, who was involved,

and what you were thinking and feeling. Give us the best guess of your age at the time of the event.

Event #5: Important Childhood Scene

Now describe another memory from childhood, from later childhood, that stands out in your mind as

especially important or significant. It may be a positive or negative memory. What happened? Who was involved?

What did you do? What were you thinking and feeling? What impact has the event had on you? What does it say

about who you are or who you were? Why is it important?

Event #6: Important Adolescent Scene

Describe a specific event from your teen-aged years that stands out as being especially important or


Event #7: Important Adult Scene

Describe a specific event from your adult years (age 21 and beyond) that stands out as being especially

important or significant.

Event #8: One Other Important Scene

Describe one more event, from any point in your life, that stands out in your memory as being esepcially

important or significant.

III. Life Challenge

Looking back over the various chapters and scenes in your life story, please describe the single greatest

challenge that you have faced in your life. How have you faced, handled, or dealt with this challenge? Have other

people assisted you in dealing with this challenge? How has this challenge had an impact on your life story?

IV. Influences on the Life Story: Positive and Negative


Looking back over your life story, please identify the single person, group of persons, or

organizaton/institution that has or have had the greatest positive influence on your story. Please describe this

person, group, or organization and the way in which he, she, it, or they have had a positive impact on your story.


Looking back over your life story, please identify the single person, group of persons, or

organization/institution that has or have had the greatest negative influence on your story. Please describe this

person, group, or organization and the way in which he, she, it, or they have had a negative impact on your story.

V. Stories and the Life Story

You have been telling me about the story of your life. In so doing, you have been trying to make your life

into a story for me. I would like you now to think a little bit more about stories and how some particular stories

might have influenced your own life story. From an early age, we all hear and watch stories. Our parents may read

us stories when we are little; we hear people tell stories about everyday events; we watch stories on television and

hear them on the radio; we see movies or plays; we learn about stories in schools, churches, synagogs, on the

playground, in the neighborhood, with friends, family; we tell stories to each other in everyday life; some of us even

write stories. I am interested in knowing what some of your favorite stories are and how they may have influenced

how you think about your own life and your life story. I am going to ask you about three kinds of stories. In each

case, try to identify a story you have heard in your life that fits the description, describe the story very briefly, and

tell me if and how that story has had an effect on you.

Television, Movie, Performance: Stories Watched

Think back on TV shows you have seen, movies, or other forms of entertainment or stories from the media

that you have experienced. Please identify one of your favorite stories from this domain -- for example, a favorite

TV show or series, a favorite movie, play, etc. In a couple of sentences, tell me what the story is about. Tell me

why you like the story so much. And tell me if and how the story has had an impact on your life.

Books, Magazines: Stories Read

Now think back over things you have read -- stories in books, magazines, newspapers, and so on. Please

identify one of your favorite stories from this domain. Again, tell me a little bit about the story, why you like it, and

what impact, if any, it has had on your life.

Family Stories, Friends: Stories Heard

Growing up, many of us hear stories in our families or from our friends that stick with us, stories that we

remember. Family stories include things parents tell their children about "the old days," their family heritage,

family legends, and so on. Children tell each other stories on the playground, in school, on the phone, and so on.

Part of what makes life fun, even in adulthood, involves friends and family telling stories about themselves and

about others. Try to identify one story like this that you remember, one that has stayed with you. Again, tell me a

little bit about the story, why you like it or why you remember it, and what impact, if any, it has had on your life.

VI. Alternative Futures for the Life Story

Now that you have told me a little bit about your past, I would like you to consider the future. I would like

you to imagine two different futures for your life story.

Positive Future

First, please describe a positive future. That is, please describe what you would like to happen in the future

for your life story, including what goals and dreams you might accomplish or realize in the future. Please try to be

realistic in doing this. In other words, I would like you to give me a picture of what you would realistically like to

see happen in the future chapters and scenes of your life story.

Negative Future

Now, please describe a negative future. That is, please describe a highly undesirable future for yourself,

one that you fear could happen to you but that you hope does not happen. Again, try to be pretty realistic. In other

words, I would like you to give me a picture of a negative future for your life story that could possibly happen but

that you hope will not happen.

[Note to interviewers: Try to get as much concrete detail as possible.]

VII. Personal Ideology

Now I would like to ask a few questions about your fundamental beliefs and values and about questions of

meaning and spirituality in your life. Please give some thought to each of these questions.

1. Consider for a moment the religious or spiritual dimensions of your life. Please describe in a nutshell

your religous beliefs or the ways in which you approach life in a spiritual sense.

2. Please describe how your religious or spiritual life, values, or beliefs have changed over time.

3. How do you approach political and social issues? Do you have a particular political point of view? Are

there particular issues or causes about which you feel strongly? Describe them.

4. What is the most important value in human living? Explain.

5. What else can you tell me that would help me understand your most fundamental beliefs and values

about life and the world, the spiritual dimensions of your life, or your philosophy of life?

VIII. Life Theme

Looking back over your entire life story as a story with chapters and scenes, extending into the past as well

as the imagined future, can you discern a central theme, message, or idea that runs throughout the story? What is

the major theme of your life story? Explain.

IX. Other

What else should I know to understand your life story?

Book: "The Power of Story, Rewrite Your Destiny in Business and in Life" Jim Loehr

I recently read the book: "The Power of Story" by Jim Loehr and I highly recommend it.  

"The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it". 
James M. Barrie

As Toastmasters we are both story tellers and relentless self improvers and this book combines both interests by offering up a handy 9 step roadmap for writing your compelling action focused personal transformation story:

1.    Purpose?

·        How do you want to be remembered?

·        What is the legacy that you most want to leave for others?

·        How would you most like people to eulogize you at your funeral?

·        What is worth dying for?

·        What makes your life really worth living?

·        In what areas of your life must you be truly extraordinary to fulfil your destiny?

2.    Face the truth

·        In which areas of your life is your story not working? If your story is not aligned with your core purpose, then this story cannot take you where you want to go.

·        In which categories do you want to be more engaged to fulfill your Ultimate Mission?

·        Work

·        Family

·        Health

·        Happiness

·        Friendship

·        Money

·        Self-Indulgence

·        Fame/power

·        Death (constructive awareness of)

·        Sex/intimacy

·        Trust Integrity

·        Parents

·        Religion

·        Spirituality

·        Love

·        Food/diet

·        Exercise

·        Children

·        Spouse/Partner

·        Other

3.    Select a story to work on first.

·        Which of the stories causes you the most concern and grief?

·        Which of the stories causes you the most disruption in your life?

·        Which of the stories causes the most misalignment in your life?

·        Which of the stories do you most want to work on now?

4.    Write the Story you have been telling yourself that has allowed this misalignment to continue?

·        Capture the private voice

·        Capture the public voice

·        Exaggerate the emotion to get it going

·        Bring in as much color and texture to your story as you can

·        Bring in faulty assumptions

·        What are you ignoring?

·        What assumptions are flawed?

·        How does it not inspire you to take action?

·        What are the hidden influences?

·        Do you get defensive? What are you protecting? What parts are the most sensitive?

·        If you follow the fear where does it take you?

·        What is the logic and rationale that allowed this story to keep you from making change?

·        Is this really your voice telling the story or someone else’s? Who’s voice is it?

5.    How does your Old Story make you feel?

·        Sick?

·        Dumb?

·        Embarrassed?

·        Does it stir powerful feelings of disgust?

·        Can you see and feel the story’s dysfunctionality? 

6.    Write a New Story that:

·        Is fully aligned with your ultimate purpose.

·        Reflects the truth.

·        Inspires you to take hope filled action.


·        Start with the words: “The truth is…”. Describe as vividly as possible what will happen if you continue with the old story you’ve got.

·        Let it stir emotionality.

·        It should clearly reflect and connect with your ultimate mission and clearly what you care about

·        It should be inspirational for you when you read it. It must move you powerfully, emotionally and move you to take action.

·        Optimism and hope that it is achievable with persistence and dedication

·        Be sure this is what you really want.

·        Craft the story around it being a major turning point and as a breakthrough.

·        Use a sincere voice to communicate it completely and unambivalently

·        Bring forward your best voice of reason, wisdom and intelligence.

7.    Design explicit rituals that ensure your new story becomes reality

·        Rituals enhance energy management

·        Rituals invest energy into the new story and make it come true

·        Connect it to values

·        Invest energy in it for 30 to 90 days

·        Be precise

·        Adopt a limit number at a time

·        Focus on where you are going

·        Create a supportive environment. Partners, tracker, triggers, calendar, to do list etc.

·        Reread your new story every day.

8.    Establish a daily accountability ritual

·        Accessible for daily updates

·        Energy and Time

·        Consider reviewing it with someone

·        Be obsessive

·        Rewrite the story of necessary to keep up your enthusiasm.

9.    After Mission is Completed

·        Pick another faulty story to work on.

·        Repeat the process as long as you live.

Highlights “The Power of Story”

"The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it". James M. Barrie

Our brains are story creating machines and create cause and effect stories to make sense of things. Our stories are the only reality we will know in life.

To edit a story you must be able to see, to identify the dysfunction in it.

Ask the question: in what important areas of my life is it clear that I cannot achieve my goals with the story I have got?

Identify how pervasive story is in your life and rewrite it.

How did your unintended consequence occur? Gradually and then suddenly.

Culture as stories we tell ourselves.

You can’t have everything but you can have what is most important.

Disengagement (Presenteeism/Absenteeism) vs full engagement

The most precious resource humans have is energy (not time).

Faulty storytelling drives how we create and how we spend energy.

The most important story you will ever tell is the story you tell to yourself.

The most erronious stories are those we think we know the best and therefore never scrutinize or question. Stephen Jay Gould.

Tell yourself the right story, the rightness of which only you can determine, only you can feel and the dynamics of your energy will change. If you are living the story you want you aren’t just the author, you are the hero and the story is an epic (not a tragedy or a comedy).

Chapter 1 Old Stories

People don’t need new facts they need new stories. Annette Simmons “the Story Factor”

If you have to blame the institution, then get out. Don’t be a victim your boss isn’t going to change.

Be prepared to alter the story if it isn’t working.

Organizations thrive when their people are energized, engaged, nimble and responsive.

Most organizations people are in survival mode and chronically fatigued and in survival mode so excellence, speed, productivity and innovation are secondary.

Military or sports ignoring your health would be unthinkable.

Chapter 2 The Purpose of Your Life

Words on your tombstone

Your ultimate mission

Purpose Is Never Forgettable

Is the story true? Why is the story being told?

Unity and alignment are the hallmarks of persuasive stories.

Flawed alignment leads to a flawed ending

3. How Faithful a narrator are you?

Faulty assumptions?

Because I can syndrome. Nobody to reinforce your choices. No immediate feedback.

“Be careful how you interpret the world: it is like that.” Erik Heller.


Close to the truth. White lies.

The four scenarios:

A good past led to a good present

A good past led to a bad present

A bad past led to a bad present

A bad past led to a good present

Pessimists watch out

Optimists watch out

4. is it really your story you are living?

A Big Battle for a Little Voice

Indoctrination happens in organizations

Group think: intolerance, rigidity, inflexibility, fear, inability to see value in opposing points of view, fanatical, coercive, control, deprival of information, deprival of voice

Susceptibility to brainwashing:

·        Preoccupation with wealth, fame or power.

·        Lack of clarity around values, purpose and spirituality.

·        Tendency to look outside yourself for answers to life’s most profound questions.

·        Very limited capacity for self awareness and self reflection

·        Poorly defined sense of self

·        Considerable inner turmoil, unhappiness and discontent.

Step outside yourself and examine your story. Examine what does and doesn’t work in your life as you’re living it. Its so easy to go with the flow and to become our surroundings and our environment and to not be self-aware.  Without clarity we are our own deceivers.

Your values may not be yours. I don’t necessarily agree with everything I say.

Your values and beliefs affect your story.

We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.

Do my beliefs and values help my story take me where I want to go?

Crap detector or gatekeeper. Don’t want it to be absent or overactive.

5. Private Voice

Compare your inner and outer voice

Voice Lessons: Ten Inner Voice Skills

1.       Quiet your inner voice. Able to shut down the chatter and be totally absorbed.

2.       Summon your inner voice of conscience

3.       Summon your inner voice of reason and wisdom

4.       Summon your inner voice of support and encouragement. Watch out for that critic!

5.       Summon your inner voice of toughness. What would a heroic person do?

6.       Summon your I don’t buy it inner voice. What evidence supports this?

7.       Learn to suspend your I don’t buy it voice. What if this was true? What if I’m wrong?

8.       Summon your inner voice of compassion.

9.       Summon your inner voice of sincerity

10.   Summon your inner voice of intuition

6. Three Rules of Storytelling

The best way to increase happiness is to consciously increase thoughts of gratitude in one’s daily life.

Change is possible but when? When is the right time?

Turning points are more evident in the later telling “What’s your Story” Ibarra, Kent Lineback HBR

During life we experience moments where we lose our sense of meaning and purpose.

There is no longer a sense of alignment between our inner values and our tasks in the world.

We lack vitality, commitment and initiative.

After reflection and contemplation, we realize we need a new focus a new vision, but it is hard to uncover. How by taking control of the story. Your story has to move you.

Three rules of good storytelling.

Purpose. Truth. (hope filled) Action.

The truth is:

·        Does it take me where I want to go?

·        Is it grounded in reality?

·        Does it lead to action that stimulates genuine hope?

What moves all stories is energy. Physical energy.

7. It’s not about time. It is about Energy and Engagement.

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it. Winston Churchill.

Mister Fred Rogers hosted Jeff Erlanger. Laser like presence. Focus.

If all you had to give was your total energy you could accomplish historic things.

Are you distracted, multitasking? Your chances of returning a 140 mph serve? Zero.

Multitasking is the enemy of extraordinariness. Multitask when it doesn’t matter. Fully engage when it does.

Pick three things to do in the day and rate the level of focus 1-3-5

Don’t credit time. It’s meaningless.

What would a video camera show?

You need enough energy to fuel your story.

Energizers leverage and replenish energy physical, emotional, mental and spiritually. People want to work for energizers. Energizers perform better and those who touch energizers perform better as well.

Willingness to hope (vs victims).

8. Do you have enough resources to live your best story?

Get the Eating Story Straight

·        Feeling satisfied vs feeling full

·        Eat slowly

·        Eat light and often

·        Do not multitask while eating

·        Eat only what you need for the next two hours of the day.


·        Regular

·        Outside of the comfort zone

·        Be engaged while doing it – don’t just go through the motions


·        Move around get the blood flowing

·        Get outside

·        Move vertically from engaged and active to relaxed.

·        Pomodoro technique.

·        Work in different places and on different things.

·        Replenish the mental energy by doing something easy.

·        Maximize creative energy by carving out dedicated uninterrupted blocks.


·        Sleep

·        Breaks

9. indoctrinate yourself


Go into the iceberg to understand wants needs, memories, feelings. Shine the light on shame.

Lift up the defenses and become aware of the hidden stories. Let the tension be released. Forgive.

Embed your new Life Story by Indoctrination:

·        Write it

·        Read it daily

·        Journal where your energy goes

·        Create training missions

·        Create rituals and track them

10.   Turning stories into action.

Create training missions

List rituals to fulfil the objective

Energy invested will result in a training effect, muscle grows and it becomes easier.

The Eating Story