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The Ryan Eidson Show
6 minutes | Jun 27, 2014
The Difference Between Inductive and Deductive Communication
Today's article is part two of "Why You Need to Use Transformational Storytelling" I decided I was going to figure this whole story structure thing out. Back in college I had a professor who always emphasized using stories for teaching. He taught us ...
3 minutes | Jun 25, 2014
Why You Need to Use Transformational Storytelling
There is one ancient secret that screenwriters, novelists, and top business authors use to captivate their audiences. Virtually all cultures in history used it, too. Yet this secret is largely lost today. (To listen to Ryan read this article, click the player above. Or subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or Stitcher, below.) What's the Story? Ancient cultures gathered around a fire and shared the experiences of the day with each other. The hunters came back to camp and shared how they killed their game. The boys became men through these hunting rituals. In addition, they preserved their own history and worldview through oral repetition of these stories. When people go camping today, gather around the fireplace, attend mastermind meetings, or meet a friend at a coffeehouse, they share tales of what they've done and look for meaning in life through these stories. In modern times, the top-selling movies, songs, artwork, and books all tell a story that resonates deeply with many people. Star Wars, The Hobbit, Shrek, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Hunger Games, U2, The Beatles, and the list goes on. These screenwriters, songwriters, and authors have all captured and presented a worldview through a narrative. Transformational Storytelling Not just any story will do. Most businesses do it the wrong way: they put the megaphone to their mouth and shout through all their ads: “We're the best in our industry” “In business since 1924” “We've won x award every year since 2005” “We have the best quality product around” And their customers don't give a rip about these things. (Do you? ) What I care about, what your prospects care about, is that you can deliver results to them today! As they look through your website and consume your content, your target prospects want to know, “Can this person take me from where I'm at today to where I want to be?” That's a tale of transformation. Today's savvy customers and clients are looking for stories of transformation that help them navigate through the fog and the mud. They want to find someone who can help them move forward. That someone is you. And they're more than willing to pay for a GPS and personal ally to get beyond the fog and mud to clear water and blue sky. They want to hear transformational storytelling to inspire them, to give them the next step, to show them that they can do it! To be continued Friday...
3 minutes | Jun 23, 2014
It’s OK to Set Goals Now and Change Course Later
Last week I compared goal setting with story structure. Let's go deeper with that idea today by obliterating your fear of setting goals today and having to change course later. (To listen to Ryan read this article, click the player above. Or subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or Stitcher, below.) How Fiction Characters Change in the Draft Let me illustrate with an example of me writing a book. When I sit down to write my fiction books, I have an idea of where I want the story to go. I know how the story will end, and I create an outline to get there. Sometimes when I'm in the middle of a story, the characters do something I don't expect. Or a situation in the story changes so much that I have to alter my outline. I set goals for the characters up front. Yet there are moments as if the character makes choices for himself/herself that I didn't anticipate ahead of time. The character develops more of himself as the story goes along, and makes different decisions as he matures. And that means the story changes. You Goals Change as You Progress in Life, Too The same is true for you. You may set goals up front, but situations change and you grow up. You end up going with the flow more than you think! Don't be worried about changing course mid-way. A ship parked at the dock can't change its direction. Set your sails and adjust your rudder as you go! So many people (myself included) want to have every detail right before we even get started. But the problem with that is we fret over all the details and delay our important work! "Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction." ---Often attributed to Harry S. Truman Get out there. If you fail, fail fast. Test early and test often. Test your minimum viable product or service. Transfer theory to real-world measurable results as soon as possible. Connect with great people along the way. Set Goals Now and Don't Worry About the Future Don't beat yourself up for setting goals and changing course later on. That doesn't make you a failure. Who knows? Maybe your ship will land in uncharted territory full of big discoveries and untapped wisdom. But you'll never know if you keep your boat tied to the dock. Discussion What will you do today to set sail?
6 minutes | Jun 20, 2014
The Similarities Between Goal Setting and Writing Your Life Story
What is it that you want for your future? When you are goal setting, what do you want to achieve? On Wednesday I posted a review of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. Today's post is inspired from my reading of that book. (To listen to Ryan read this article, click the player above. Or subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or Stitcher, below.) When I compare story and plot with vision and goals, I see a big parallel. A well-crafted goal, a target to shoot for, grants meaning to your day. If you wander around aimlessly, wondering what to do, you don't have a sense meaning or purpose, right? "It's true that while ambition creates fear, it also creates the story. But it's a good trade, because as soon as you point toward a horizon, life no longer feels meaningless. And suddenly there is risk in your story and a question about whether you'll make it. You have a reason to get out of bed in the morning." ---A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, p. 113 Allow me to explain with a chart. Below I compare Zig Ziglar's General Goals Procedure Chart (page 9 in this PDF) with Donald Miller's definition of story, as well as an abbreviated form of Christopher Vogler's Hero's Journey: Zig Ziglar Donald Miller Hero's Journey Identify your goal A character who wants something Call to adventure Your benefits to reaching this goal (Why does the character want it?) Threshold and entrance into new world Major obstacles and mountains to climb to reach this goal Who overcomes conflict Adversity, enemies, ordeal, conflict Skills, knowledge, individuals, groups, companies, and organizations to help you reach this goal Allies Plan of action to reach this goal Plot Completion dates To get it (Projected) Return with elixir Wow! Look closely at the sequence of each of the three systems in the chart above. Do you now see the similarities between goal setting and writing stories? What other correlations can you make between goal setting and creating a story? Do you have a clear idea of what you want? "It made me wonder if the reasons our lives seem so muddled is because we keep walking into scenes in which we, along with the people around us, have no clear idea what we want." ---ibid. If you want to live a better story, read/listen to/watch better stories. Set different goals. Where you end up is your choice. Do you have some big goals you're working on, or are you walking around in a haze? Share in the comments below.
4 minutes | Jun 18, 2014
Your Life as a Story: A Review of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Have you ever thought of your life as an unfolding story? In Donald Miller's 2009 release, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life, you quickly discover that you can change the course of your story, overcome conflict, and get to a new place. (To listen to Ryan read this article, click the player above. Or subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or Stitcher, below.) Many people do want to live a "better" story. They want more time at home, a less stressful job, and a greater impact on the world around them. They want something different. You want something different with your life. Yet you get tripped up over and over. Why? Donald Miller's Definition of Story Miller says (in A Million Miles in a Thousand Years) that the essence of a story is a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it. A character - That's you. Who wants something - What is it that you really want? What are you pursuing? And overcomes conflict - You trip, fall on your face, and make sideways progress. You fall again, this time backwards. And you feel like you'll never gain any steps forward. To get it - You never "get it" because you're afraid of what will change in your life when you actually do achieve your goals. You're scared because when your dreams come true, you'll be living in a whole new world. "Here's the truth about telling stories with your life. It's going to sound like a great idea, and you are going to get excited about it, and then when it comes time to do the work, you're not going to want to do it. It's like that with writing books, and it's like that with life. People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen. But joy costs pain. "People fear change...Though their situations may be terrible, at least they have a sense of control; at least they know what to expect. Change presents a world of variables that are largely out of their control." ---A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, p. 99-101 (emphasis mine) Maybe you've felt like you'll never make it. Perhaps you're scared to take the first step. Or, you have taken the first step, but you step back because you have a fear of success. The fear of actually pulling it off holds you back. Beware of the Easy Life Recognize conflict when it comes. Work through it. See conflict for the character-building process that it is. "I realized how much of our lives are spent trying to avoid conflict. Half the commercia
3 minutes | Jun 16, 2014
The Idol of Busyness
Busyness is an easy trap to fall into. We like to believe these two lies: The busier we are, the more we get done The busier we are, the more important we feel But those are NOT true at all. (To listen to Ryan read this article, click the player above. Or subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or Stitcher, below.) Why are we so busy as a society? Workaholics do not want to say "no" to anything. We fill leisure time with things, and accumulate unhealthy stress. What are the root problems of busyness? Fear and a poor self-image. First, we're afraid of what we would do if our calendars weren't so full. We get anxious any time we have a free moment. We don't know what to do when we actually have a moment of silence! We're afraid of being called "lazy" by others. We want to look good in front of other people and always want to have our hands full of activity. This means we're actually afraid of what other people think about us! We have a poor self-image and think that busy work makes us more valuable. Just because we're working on several tasks gives us the illusion that we're actually accomplishing something important. Overcoming Busyness We can combat the problem of busyness by creating spiritual priorities. Put some parameters around your lifestyle. Create healthy boundaries and maintain them so you have time for seasons of rest and solitude. Worshiping busyness & keeping the calendar always full will rob us of quality time with God. He created us to be faithful, but we become disobedient when we are always busy. It robs God of intimate fellowship with His people and robs the church of spiritual growth. God is interested in building depth, but even many of our churches promote busyness and serving in all kinds of programs. Put aside the idol of busyness. Delegate or outsource tasks to others. Say no. Block out time for what is really important for you.
3 minutes | Jun 13, 2014
On My Writing Routine
Writing in my journal before going into the other room to continue writing the draft of my sequel to A Couple with Common Cents is like taking two warm-up laps around the track before competing in a race. This is my writing routine: do a little journal work before hitting the big writing project for the day. (To listen to Ryan read this article, click the player above. Or subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or Stitcher, below.) This gets my body focused on the upcoming work, my muscles practicing for the groove of writing, and my mind ready for written language as I prepare with the same skills I'll be using for most of my morning. Each writer has his own preference as to the time of day his output is of both highest quality and quantity. My circadian rhythm puts my mind in its sharpest position during mid- to late-morning, the same as most of the population. Of course, I will often have flashes of insight at other times of the day. But mornings are my time of highest productivity. On Reading Before Writing Some writers read before they write. I find that reading just leads me to more reading and research. Yes, all writers should read from their genre(s) and learn from other masters of the craft. It's best to use ideas from other writers as fodder. Let your mind ruminate on them. And read for fun, too: read outside your genre for pleasure. Why I Journal As Part of My Writing Routine As I journal, I practice all the same writing skills I use when I draft my books. I journal with pen and paper, feeling my hand move across the page as I write. This is the same method I use when drafting my fiction books. (Are you surprised that I wrote my books out by hand?) Drafting my books by hand allows me to: Think deeply about the topic and characters Not be distracted by "getting online" Feel a sense of tangible accomplishment as I fill the pages of the notebook Make corrections when I type the next draft on my computer Go "analog" with my ideas and notes on the table After my muscles get warmed up, my hand is in the groove of writing. It's easier to keep going that way. The hard part is getting started. When you have a few hundred words on paper (as I do now), you're focused and ready to go. Finishing this entry gives me a sense of accomplishment: "Yes, I've already finished something today!" My books are high-quality, in part, because of my practice of warming up as a writer before I sit down to my primary project for the
6 minutes | Jun 11, 2014
Is Your Team Really a Team? A Review of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
Have you ever been involved in a group that called itself a team, but really wasn’t? One group that I was involved in met on a frequent basis. We lived in the same area, and the founders called the group a team. However, we did not function as a team. (To listen to Ryan read this article, click the player above. Or subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or Stitcher, below.) There was a lot of gossip, which clearly demonstrated a lack of trust among the individuals. Not everyone showed up to each meeting (mostly due to frequent travel). And we had no common goals to work toward; all objectives were very ambiguous. That group was characterized like this: “Many teams are simply not results focused. They do not live and breathe in order to achieve meaningful objectives, but rather merely to exist or survive. Unfortunately for these groups, no amount of trust, conflict, commitment, or accountability can compensate for a lack of desire to win.” Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, p. 218 If it’s not a team, then don’t call it a team! Call it what it is! Use the right word to describe the situation. In the book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, the corporate executive group was not called a team by the employees. They recognized the executives as “the staff” instead of a team. I first read this excellent book by Patrick Lencioni about eight years ago. I’ve recently re-read it because the dysfunctions are so prevalent in business, non-profit, and day-to-day life today. Becoming a true team can be an elusive thing. It takes time and much patience. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team The five dysfunctions, stated positively, are: The members trust each other They engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas They commit to decisions and plans of action They hold one another accountable for delivering against those plans They focus on the achievement of collective results All five are inter-related and must be present for a team to be a healthy team. Insights from This Book Because so many other people have commented on the five dysfunctions model (and you can get a free PDF explaining them here), I will highlight here the ideas that stuck out as I re-read this book. It’s hard to let someone go, even if it’s the right thing for the team. Because of emotional bonds, however weak or strong they are, as well as a fear of change, we often don’t want to kick out non-performing members of the group for
8 minutes | Jun 9, 2014
Joy in Contentment
A story is told of a Husband Super Store that recently moved into a community. The Husband Super Store had five floors. The quality of husband would increase as you go up the floors of this store. A group of girlfriends decided to go shopping at this super store to find a husband. (To listen to Ryan read this article, click the player above. Or subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or Stitcher, below.) They arrived at the first level and was welcomed by a sign that said, “These husbands have jobs and love kids.” They thought, “That’s pretty good, but there must be something more.” They went up to level two and the sign said, “These husbands have high paying jobs, love kids, and are extremely good looking.” The ladies said, “Hmmmm! But we wonder what is at level three.” They went to the third floor and the sign read, “These husbands have high paying jobs, are extremely good looking, love kids, and even help with the housework.” They paused and said, “Very tempting, but there is more.” They rushed to the fourth floor. The sign read, “These husbands have high paying jobs, love their kids, are extremely good looking, help with housework, and have a strong romantic streak!” “Oh mercy!” they cried as they rushed up to the fifth floor. When the fifth floor elevator opened, there they found a sign that read, “Sorry, this floor is empty! There are no husbands here. The fifth floor exists only to prove that women are absolutely impossible to please!” Is it possible to be satisfied with what we have, what we do, and who we are? How could we ever satisfy our desire for more? Or, how can we stop comparing ourselves with others around us? Why do we think we have to always purchase the best, greatest, and latest gadgets, or work 80 hours a week, just to feel good about ourselves for a moment, yet be upset in the next? Is there a special secret to contentment? The apostle Paul could have complained about needing more as he journeyed through the Roman empire. He may have wanted to quit because he had next to nothing in supplies. Sometimes he was all alone, and at other times Paul had two Roman guards chained to him while he was in prison. Paul speaks of contentment in Philippians chapter 4. I see three ways Paul exercised his contentment in life. 1. Paul was thankful regardless of the circumstances. In verse 11 he says, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am.” He went through much trial and p
3 minutes | Jun 6, 2014
The First Dollar I Made Online
I worked really hard to get the first customer for my first commercial book back in fall 2011. The book was Money Management for Cross-Cultural Workers. (To listen to Ryan read this article, click the player above. Or subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or Stitcher, below.) Strategy First I had to decide what price points I wanted to set. My ebook and paperback books were packaged differently. I determined what each one was worth. I established e-junkie as my online shopping cart. (That's what I used back then.) Next, how would I collect payment? PayPal. Then I needed to find out my sales tax obligations. In the state where I live (Missouri), I only need to charge sales tax when the purchase is made at a retail point in the same state. If I’m selling wholesale to a bookstore (which I did), to a nonprofit organization, or to people who live outside of Missouri, I don’t collect sales tax. Finally, I was ready to promote my book to potential buyers. I printed up flyers advertising a free preview of the first part of the book in exchange for an email address, so I could keep in touch with potential customers. I passed out these flyers to people I know, as I told family and friends that my book would soon be available. Several people I knew were traveling to attend a national conference in the book’s niche, and some of them gladly distributed those flyers on my behalf. Launch On December 2, 2011, the day of the book’s launch, I did not have any sales. I was somewhat disappointed. I had spent so much time thinking about and implementing a pre-launch strategy that I had set myself up for high expectations. By the end of the first month, I had made some ebook sales. I received requests to make the book available in print, so I found CreateSpace to do print-on-demand for me. I even confirmed that a college class would start using my book as a textbook, and the professor invited me as a guest speaker for that very class! (It helped that I had studied under that professor when I was in college myself.) Lessons Learned The first dollar I made online was from the sale of the first edition ebook for Money Management for Cross-Cultural Workers. Since then I've found that particular market is extremely small. I learned a lot during that season about self-publishing and book launches. The book is in its second edition now, but I've moved on to other projects and I haven't promoted this book very much lately. It's currently in paperback and as an
4 minutes | Jun 4, 2014
With a Will to Perform: A Review of Performance Driven Thinking
A few weeks ago I read the book Performance Driven Thinking: A Challenging Journey That Will Encourage You to Embrace the Greatest Performance in Your Life. (To listen to Ryan read this article, click the player above. Or subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or Stitcher, below.) Whew! That's quite a subtitle. What is the difference between people who choose to perform and those who just sit on the sidelines? It's a "thought process that connects the desire to perform with the will to perform a specific task or goal." That's how the authors define performance driven thinking, and is the issue they tackle head-on in this book. Key Ideas from Performance Driven Thinking The authors discuss success in a fresh way that will have you: Identify obstacles to performance Cultivate foundational attitudes Perform well in personal and business life Lead others into performance driven thinking Deal with non-performers Celebrate small, daily wins on the road to big goals Sustain your new mode of thinking Select your stage where you perform best Determine if you are a performer or a bystander Change Your Thinking, Change Your Achievement Performance Driven Thinking is the productivity guide for 21st century achievers. It reads like a manifesto with a few stories woven into it. David Hancock and Bobby Kipper present each of their perspectives throughout the book. Each author has his own style of writing, and they do a good tag-team job in their first co-written book. Here is one quote from the book that I found valuable (emphasis mine): "Individual and professional goals were not set for overnight success. Goal setting takes a sustained attitude of performance. The idea of 'one and done' performance, in most instances, is unlikely and unsustainable, and many times leads to mental and emotional defeat. It becomes too easy to give up Performance Driven Thinking when we do not instantly receive the big trophy. The idea of small wins in reality means that any growth in our personal or professional performance is really a victory. We can sustain our Performance Driven Thinking when we embrace those small victories and count them as wins." --- pp. 88-89 This is an encouraging read. If you are a fan of Dan Miller, Jon Acuff, Brian Tracy, Ray Edwards, or Og Mandino, you will like the ideas Hancock and Kipper present in this book. Grab your copy today! On Amazon: Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle | Also on Barnes & Noble
3 minutes | Jun 2, 2014
The Myth of the Best Selling Book
What does a "best selling book" really mean these days? Perfectly timed affiliate marketing and joint ventures can easily produce an Amazon "bestseller" because Amazon updates its book rankings every hour. I've heard of authors hiring companies to strategically purchase their new books, which in effect manipulates the New York Times bestseller list. Listen (To listen to Ryan read this article, click the player above. Or subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or Stitcher, below.) I've read many great books that never won literary awards or reached mass-market penetration. You've read great content, too, that was not written by a household name. (Especially non-business books.) When was the last time you picked up a book because it sold well? Yes, we all do this at times. And yes, we do have a general respect for business authors who do hit the New York Times or Wall Street Journal best selling book lists. We often get books because we're looking to answer questions about a specific topic, or because a friend (or trusted online resource) recommended the book to us. The Myth of the Best Selling Book Do you really want (or need) wide book distribution to the general population? Most likely, you have niche content. Saturate that niche. Get your book to do what you need it to do: generate high-quality leads for your business. It's better for you to give away 300 copies of your book, sell 150, and generate 40 great prospects than for your book to appear on some arbitrary list and receive a flood of unqualified leads! It's not wrong to have a best selling book. However, some people pursue the title of "best selling author" just for the sake of the title. Go for great content first. You can have the best launch plan for your book, but if your book itself doesn't hold up, it won't be a "best seller" for long. (Click the highlight to tweet.)
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