In Art Of Coaching Podcast, Podcasts

When trying to convince someone or alter their behavior we often lead with facts and figures. Ironically, that might be the LEAST effective strategy for inspiring real, lasting change. Rather, we should utilize the most powerful persuasive ability humans possess: storytelling.

You might roll your eyes or reminisce on bedtime stories as a kid, but good stories aren’t just for fun and laughs- they can quite literally capture audiences, move people to action, and catalyze change. Better yet, storytelling is a skill and just by understanding/utilizing a few simple “ingredients” we have the ability to make our communication that much more convincing. 

Today’s guest, Kinda Hall is a professional storyteller (yes, you read that right!) who teaches leaders, executives and entrepreneurs across countless industries to harness and leverage the power of their stories. Her book, Stories that Stick debuted at #2 on the Wall Street Journal Bestseller List and Forbes said it “may be the most valuable business book you read.” In 2020, she became the Chief Storytelling Officer of SUCCESS Magazine where she interviews icons like Deepak Chopra and Misty Copeland in an effort to hear and share their stories of success. She is based in New York City with her husband and two children.

On today’s episode we discuss:

  • The 4 essential components to a good story and how to implement them
  • Why every professional needs to become an expert storyteller
  • When to share personal stories and knowing where to draw the line
  • How to create powerful stories from the small moments in life

Connect with Kindra:

Via her books: Stories That Stick and Choose Your Story, Change Your Life (pre-order)

Via Instagram: @kindrahall

Via Twitter: @kindramhall 

As Kindra knows and shared, these days, “It’s not enough to differentiate, you have to be uniquely relevant.” Speaking of, there’s just 1 WEEK LEFT to sign up for our most popular online workshop! 

CLARITY 2.0: TUESDAY, JULY 27th at 3:00PM EST. 

Register at!

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Brett Bartholomew  0:06  

Thank you to Momentous for sponsoring this episode. Just as all of us at art of coaching, discuss the critical nature of the words we choose and how you deliver them. None of you need me to tell you the importance of what you put in your body. I could care less if you’re a world class athlete more of the uncle Rico archetype, or somebody who just sits at a desk all day and the corporate world, what you put in your body matters and Momentous makes products that are no nonsense, quality tested at the highest level, and therefore anyone who just wants to feel better, without overthinking their nutritional support options, skip the fads, master the basics, and go with Momentous by visiting Additionally, as an art of coaching listener, you can get 25% off your first purchase of anything at Momentous. When you sign up for a subscription, you will also get 15% off all subsequent orders, just use code Brett 25 at checkout to receive that offer again, that’s b r e, t t, two five at checkout.


Welcome to the Art of coaching podcast, a show aimed at getting to the core of what it takes to change attitudes, behaviors and outcomes in the weight room, boardroom classroom and everywhere in between. I’m your host, Brett Bartholomew, I’m a performance coach, keynote speaker and the author of the book conscious coaching. But most importantly, I’m a lifelong student interested in all aspects of human behavior and communication. I want to thank you for joining me. And now let’s dive into today’s episode.


Do me a favor and think of a time when you did your best to convince somebody of something? I mean, you really went all out? Got it? Can you a little help, perhaps you wanted them to be more active, like your family members. Or maybe you wanted somebody you work with to take a second look at a proposal, or you wanted to help a friend through a particularly trying part of their life. Now, oftentimes, we lead when we’re trying to create change with facts or we try to appeal to rationality, yet, these approaches tend to be some of the absolute least effective strategies, whatever we’re trying to promote change or inculcate some kind of feeling of empowerment. Now, some of you might stop right there and say, Well, okay, then what do we do? I mean, many of you, as listeners are brought up in research based backgrounds, or your managers and leaders, you need to have the facts. Others listening may feel like they don’t have great persuasive ability. So they’re starting to tune out. But we know that this isn’t true. So just hang with me. Now, how do I know this is true? Because one of the most powerful persuasive abilities is something we as human beings already inherently possess. And that ability is storytelling. 


Now maybe it’s the new dad in me because I’m reading my son a lot of nighttime books, as is my wife. But from childhood, we are nurtured on a steady diet of Once Upon a Time Stories. And as adults, that inner child in US responds reflexively and positively to all kinds of case studies about actual people and events. That one reason for the success of storytelling, and its use as a tactic is that the vividness and the psychological closeness of a single case study is often more relevant to an individual than scientific data. While as mentioned earlier, statistics, of course can heighten the power of evidence, but they often come across as cold and detached. And not to mention they risk losing somebody in the details or maybe even alienating them. Regardless of whether you consider yourself to be a skilled storyteller or not. Today’s guest has more than enough tactical strategies to impart you with so that by the end of this episode, you will have a far greater understanding of how to discover shape and tell stories with a combination of candor, and conviviality and being able to get your message across more clearly and effectively. In doing so. Her name is Kindra Hall. And she is a professional storyteller, who teaches leaders, executives and entrepreneurs across countless industries to harness and leverage the power of their stories. And her book stories that stick debuted at number two on the Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. And Forbes even said, it may be the most valuable business book and I’ll add coaching in there you ever read. Now in 2020, she became the chief storytelling Officer of Success Magazine, where she interviews icons like Deepak Chopra and Misty Copeland in an effort to hear and share their stories of success. She’s based in New York City with her husband and two children. And guys, I just want you to sit back, relax, and make sure you grab your free podcast reflection sheet from our website, and enjoy this conversation with Kindra Hall.


Hey, everybody, welcome back to another episode of The Art of coaching Podcast. I’m here with Kindra Hall. Kindra, thanks for joining me.


Kindra Hall  5:40  

So happy to be here. And thank you so much for the invitation.


Brett Bartholomew  5:44  

Absolutely, yeah, as a podcast that’s dedicated to communication. You know, it only made sense when we look at guests to look at somebody that is really the authority on one of the most impactful forms of communication, there is storytelling. I’d love to know a little bit how storytelling became your forte, and we’re gonna go into your book and all these other aspects. But how did you fall into this love of storytelling?


Kindra Hall  6:06  

You know, it’s funny, I’m one of those people who first did the thing that I am now, doing at a very young age, I told my first story when I was 11. It was an assignment for fifth grade. And we were supposed to take a tour, it was kind of like the first lesson in public speaking, but it was at the very end of the school year. So we were just ready to be done with school. And we were supposed to choose a children’s book and then go read it to a third grade class, I practice reading it inflection in your voice, and I went into the third week paired up. So I went in with one girl to the third grade classroom, and she read the book, I don’t know if you’ll remember it. It’s the one I’ll like you forever. I’ll love you for always, as long as I’m living my baby, you’ll be right. So it was it was a new book back then. So now I’m dating myself and a really emotional book for parents. But we were both fifth graders, she was reading it to third graders. And all they really thought was it was extremely boring. So by the end of her time reading that book, they were like bouncing off the walls, I knew I had to do something. And so I decided to just put the book down that I was supposed to read and instead just go all in and tell the story. And it only took like two or three sentences in this room. That was pure chaos. They were all right there sitting on the floor, all eyes on me. And I was holding them like in the palm of my hand. And at 11 years old, even then I knew that maybe I was onto something. And so I went through, you know, but of course I didn’t drop out of elementary school.


Brett Bartholomew  7:51  

No, you didn’t?


Kindra Hall  7:53  

No, no, I wish now looking back, I’m like, Oh, I really should have. And really it went on to become in some ways. Like a party trick. I would pull it out. And do you like just for fun. I was on the speech team in high school. Storytelling worked really well there. But at some point, I really thought that while I remained interested and my interest in storytelling matured as I did, like if a fairy tale worked in front of a roomful of third graders, would a different type of story, work in an organization as I was studying, in college and what you know. So my question started to grow around storytelling, but at the same time, I didn’t really see how you could turn that into a job. As far as I knew, if you wanted to be a storyteller. You were like, going into libraries and reading books to kids. So it was kind of a long, winding journey. But But eventually, you know, I ended up here.


Brett Bartholomew  8:59  

Well, first of all, thanks for that recap. And I do remember that book, it’s odd that you ate or it’s serendipitous, rather, that you would bring that up, because today is my mother’s 70th birthday. And that is the one book that would make her cry so often that I remember when I was a little kid, I would want to read it. And after a while, she was like, I’m not reading that book, you know that. And now I’m a parent of an 18 month old, and I totally understand that at a different level. I’m not ready to read that to him. But you know, you speak to an important point of when you have to follow up and this goes, whether it’s in grade school, or whether it’s in a keynote presentation, which I know you do all over the world. There are times where that energy in the room is very different and people are not always prepared for a certain message. You know, how do you overcome that skepticism or that drop in energy when you do have to follow me you mentioned it well here. One it helps to know your story and to it helps to know your audience. But what are some other things you’ve learned through that? tremendous amount of storytelling you’ve done that helps kind of bridge that gap, whether you’re following somebody or maybe even giving a speech during really tough times where you know, people are more attuned to cliche, pardon my language, but bullshit, you want your stuff to stand out without selling out?


Kindra Hall  10:15  

Yeah, I think that, well, a couple of things. Number one, and this is gonna sound like a gimme answer from the storyteller. But be ready with a story. Always, no matter what the presentation is what it’s for, if it’s just for the opening of like, if you’re following somebody in a meeting, or you’re giving an address during a difficult time in a company, the number one thing that will help shift the energy with less effort than just coming at it with brute force is a story because as you are telling that story, you gain control of the energy of the room, because the people who are listening to it will come with you. Now, that is assuming that you’ve done work on your stories, and that you know, this isn’t something you can, I would not recommend off the cuff, especially in really high stakes situations. So it’s why it’s important that you’re listening to this now that this is something you can be prepared with. But number one always have stories ready. 


And then when number two, I think that I mean, I’ve been in situations where the energy was really high. And then I had to come in and and mine was, more tactical, you know. So there’s that conflict, I’ve come in where the energy was really low after you know, like a really boring presentation from somebody. I love those situations, because I’m an automatic in for raising the energy backup. That’s definitely that’s my sweet spot. I’ve been, I had it happen once I was a big fan of America’s Got Talent. And there was this was several years ago, and there was the kid named Cody, who could play the piano and sing and was just this incredible musician. He had autism, I think he was blind, like just this incredible. And I would watch him on America’s Got Talent and just be blown away. And I remember saying out loud to my family, because we would watch it together. Man, I feel bad for whoever has to follow that guy. And then what do you know, a couple months later, he is the opener for the big conference. And he does his old thing. And then I had to follow that guy. Right? So even right there, there was that? How did I bridge that gap? I had a little I was proud of myself. I told that exact story. I’m like, Man, I remember watching him and saying to my family, how do you I hate to follow that guy. And then I just like pause. And then we moved into my part. And I think the third thing that I would mention here, I think I’m still on number two, but the point being to be really confident in yourself and the message that you are now bringing and that the message that you’re going to communicate, is also important to the people in the room who are there to listen to it. The one time I remember where I messed it up, was there was a keynote speaker who went before me who just blew the roof off. Like there were like, people were screwed. I mean, it was insane. Screaming, she was so incredible. There was a short break. And then it was my turn. And I just couldn’t get out of my own head. I lost track of what message I was there to communicate I lost track of. And it took me a while to gain my footing. But to have faith in the stories you’re going to share and the reason you’re there to communicate in the first place.


Brett Bartholomew  14:00  

Yeah, well, you touched on some good points there. And you mentioned it in your book stories that stick where, you know, always choose stories, not people. So even when you were intimidated by that, situation or when you did have to that tough act to follow. You know, the fact that you knew your story, you knew it well and you know how to link it to tactical takeaways so that the audience can do something with it is always going to be a differentiator. Right. I think one thing that we talked about with our organization is that’s great that there’s some speakers that really want to inspire and energize. And that can be a byproduct of what you do. But let’s say there’s some speakers that’s the main thing they focus on. And then there’s some that almost kind of like scare people into behavior change. And I always used to say, well, that’s great, but somewhere between being really inspired, and really like, freaked out and extreme accountability, I still need to have something tactical, right? I still need to know what to do with my business and with my life and so I always appreciated that about your work is you don’t just talk about how important story is there’s 1000 books looks at do that. But you get detailed and you say, Hey, this is how you craft it, there are certain components. It’s not just about the inciting incident. It’s about, hey, what was the normal before? And then what explosion happened? Would you mind kind of giving a detail and our listeners are realistic, they don’t expect you to summarize your tremendous book in detail. But if you wouldn’t mind just given an above the fold headline of those critical components a great story should have I know they’d love it.


Kindra Hall  15:25  

Yeah. And I do think tthat was the whole reason behind, you know, when you go from telling your first story at 11, there was a big, there was a long journey between then releasing the book when I was 38. I didn’t really want to say at all that but whatever. But what I did learn through those several decades was this thing that had come really naturally to me, and maybe it was because I’ve been practicing it. And studying it was still completely lost on people. And, I would read it the other, you know, the many other books about storytelling before I was thinking about writing my own, and I would be so frustrated, because, like you said, it would be a lot of stories are so important, but not very much of Okay, so now what do I do? Like, how do I do this? So in stories that stick, I outline, as you said, a framework. And then perhaps even more importantly, a four key components that really are the things that if they are included, will make your story more memorable, will make it more compelling will make it more influential, and I believe relatable. And so the first one is that a story needs to have an identifiable character, specifically in business where I see companies going wrong, is they say, we hear it Arctic ice, believe that frozen things are the best and should never melt, or whatever it is, but we’re like, who’s Arctic ice like we don’t think about there are very few brands that have escalated all the way such that we feel like they’re a member of our family. maybe that is an ultimate goal of yours. But that is definitely not where you should start. So the stories need to have a character, a person, someone that the listener the audience can relate to and, understand and see themselves in or see themselves as different and learn something from that difference. So that’s the first component. Do you want me just to go through all of them?


Brett Bartholomew  17:29  

Yeah, if you don’t mind, and we can talk about them or anything like that. So but yeah, I’d love just to give them


Kindra Hall  17:35  

So the second in there, no, particular order. But the second component is authentic emotion. And again, where stories go wrong is there’s a tendency to in business, right, we want to take out the emotion now we’ve been pretending to add it back in by saying that we need to be vulnerable. And we need to be authentic, and we read, but just saying you need to do those things doesn’t mean that you’re doing the right thing. That’s something completely different. But one way that you can make sure that you are being authentic. And it really, I think what, what whole cry is about is to just be a human, don’t separate your humaneness from your title on your business card. But that is not an editable thing. Like you need to have them both in there together. So authentic emotion in stories is instead of saying, you know, we did this, and we did this, and here’s how things happened. Like maybe you’re talking about a particular technological installation. That’s what your business does. Well, I don’t know about you, but especially when Mercury’s in retrograde, like technical installations are a very emotional experience. And if you think about the people involved in this, what’s at stake for them, what happens if we get behind schedule, what happens if we lose all of the data like, all of those, what happens are very real emotions that are easily included. So that’s the second component. 


The third component is to have a moment, like a specific moment in time. And this is the hardest one to explain. But I believe it’s the most important it’s the easiest one to change, to turn your message from just typical communication or marketing copy, or blah, blah, blah, the corporate speak into something more powerful. And that is, you know, as you’re thinking about the thing that happened, or, you know, maybe it’s the founding of a company or whatever it is, to zoom all the way in on one moment of that journey, you know, like even, without even really meaning to because it’s something that happens naturally for me now, but I brought you into that classroom with the girl that was reading that other book and the kids that were bouncing around. So by zooming it all the way into a particular moment, you’re engaging your audience in what I I call the co creative process. So they start picturing, it blurs the line between, this is my story, or that’s your story. And I’m just listening to it, or that’s your message. And I’m just listening to it. And it allows people to enter in and participate in it. 


And then the fourth component is specific details, which you can kind of see throughout all of these. But this is where getting really specific about the thing, the little details that you include, can, A, again, encourage that co creative process, but B if your communication if you’re trying to achieve a specific goal with your communication, and maybe the audience is skeptical, or maybe there are different walls that you have to break through these small details can show that you’re alike, it can show that you understand them because you share those even sharing the title of the book that the other girl read, I assume that you know, we’re kind of maybe in the same age range, folks, you probably heard of right. So that right there, I could have said, Oh, the woman before me read a book and everybody got was bored. I spend the extra time to name the book because my audience I figured would know about it. And it just so happens that that detail inspired an entire different story of your own, which is exactly what you want to do.


Brett Bartholomew  21:33  

Yep, absolutely. And I think the thing that I want to draw attention to is you having that framework of laying those things out and identifiable character, authentic emotions a moment in time and specific details that helps anybody listening really reconstruct their own story. And I think here’s an interesting thing that I’ve found is, most people really think that they don’t have a story, you know, and when I wrote my book, I talked about how I was hospitalized for a year in my life. And it was an odd story for some or it caught them off guard, because I’m a male, obviously, and I had an eating disorder at 15. My friends, who, you know, I grew up playing sports and sports where my life and all of a sudden, a lot of these kids turned to meth and cocaine, I mean, crazy stuff that I had no concept of as a teenager, at the same time, my parents are getting a divorce. And so I turn inward, and I’m like, alright, well, I’m just gonna train obsessively for sport I have nobody to hang out with anymore. I had all this anxiety, I didn’t know what to do. And it took me 16 years to write about my hospitalization in a book, because I’m in this very Alpha kind of field, or, you know, it’s a field that I started off on that people don’t usually just come out and say, Hey, I was hospitalized, and I went from 156 pounds, 93 pounds. And now I train all these athletes. You know, in the field that I started out and, you just shut your mouth and you’re supposed to be seen not heard, and you’re supposed to stay in the trenches. But then that book came out. And all of a sudden, people started hitting me up and said, hey, oh, my God, I have a similar story. And I have this thread. I’m like, Well, then why aren’t you telling it? And so these are why I always ask tell people now listen, if you are having trouble verbalizing your story, pick up Kindra’s book stories that stick because you’re not just saying the world needs to hear it, you’re the best. Think of all the people you could inspire you’re saying, Ah, detail, detail, detail detail, here’s how you craft it. And am I right with that? I mean, was that the end goal to really give somebody that toolkit to be able to do that.


Kindra Hall  23:26  

I mean, there’s so much to unpack there, I think yeah, the end goal was really to say, to like, open people’s eyes, these stories are there and whether they are as intense and as I mean, that’s a big story, your story. And I’m interested, I watched the video of you telling that story. I’m interested to hear you mentioned that a little bit. But how people did respond to that story, because that is the ultimate, like Bravo for your willingness to be vulnerable and in like counterculture in so many ways. So I want to talk about that. But the other thing that I think is important here is yes, the end goal was to say like, yes, you have a story. And the the reason you maybe haven’t told it is because you don’t know how to access it. You don’t know how to put it together, you don’t know where to tell it or that you should tell it. So let me give you all of the tools to do that. But the other important thing that is worth mentioning here, is that like I’ve never been I’m trying to think over my life. You know how we can sometimes forget our I haven’t been hospitalized. Like I did not go from 150 pounds to 90 pounds, right like any of my stories there, isn’t it? They aren’t as big as yours as your story. And that can be intimidating for people for people to think that well I don’t have a story because none of my stories are big enough. But the reality is, this isn’t storytelling isn’t only accessible to those big stories it isn’t the magnitude of a story that makes it a viable tool for communication. Like even really small stories can cross huge concrete, build huge bridges between people. I think in stories that stick I share the story of a woman who is a financial advisor. And her story that she found that she shares is when she and I’m not going to tell the whole story, but it was like that she’s loved money ever since she was a little kid asked for as like for birthdays and holidays, not because she wanted to spend it, but because she wanted to play with it and stack it and count it. That’s an admirable, definitely the quality I want from my. But it was a really, it was a really cute story of this interaction with her mother, she could tell that story, very small story. And I mean, just book clients day after day after day, because it that story expresses the essence of who she is. And that’s really what we want to know.


Brett Bartholomew  26:17  

Yeah. 100%. I mean, what you said there is, you know, my story might be big relative to something else. But that doesn’t make it relatable. You know, there are some people that might feel really identify with it, or at least some of the authentic emotions expressed in it. And some might feel like I have no context there. I remember specifically when we were putting it out to publishers, and we had talked to a literary agent, a good buddy of mine had put me in touch with and he said, Listen, you know, I think that story is going to be too much for some people. And I remember hearing that I was like, it almost kind of killed the desire to put the book out because this was my first experience writing a book, right? This came out in 2017, took three years to write. And I just remember him saying like, wait a minute, nobody wants to hear about this story, a male being hospitalized and what have you. And I said, well, then what stories do they want to hear about anything, and I just remember kind of feeling deflated. I said, screw that we’re going to self publish this, you know, and then think of all the people that like to your point on the other end, like you said, they think they have something small, but the world is filled with people that have these daily story, you know, like, there’s, it’s every day we live is a three act structure every day has some kind of conflict and rising tension and what have you and who better to tell your own story, then you because there’s a billion people in the world that I promise somebody’s had that experience or something like that before? Right?


Kindra Hall  26:27  

Exactly. And that’s where the true gift is. Because even then, Brett, as you were saying, I told this story, and then people it’s by telling your own story, you’re giving permission to people to A share theirs. And I really believe this is where I get, you know, this is the high aspiration, but I really believe there would, the world would be such a better place. If we were if we knew each other stories. And what happens is there it sounds like, it feels like what I’m saying is we need to listen to each other’s stories, which is fine. But I think a better way to come about it, is by being generous with sharing our own. Instead of being like, you know, I’m going to listen like be the example of what happens when we share our stories that somebody can understand you a little bit better and more importantly, they understand their own life a little bit better.


Brett Bartholomew  28:01  

Hey, I want to tell you something quick before we get back to Kindra. Whether we are talking about our favorite stories that stand out to us, or how we can get our work to stand out to others. One thing is true. Differentiation isn’t about being different. It’s about being uniquely relevant. Now I’m telling you this because chances are one of you listening right now has felt burnt out stuck, overwhelmed, or in need of guidance with respect to how you can take an idea you’ve had or multiple ideas that has been burning inside of you and figure out where to start, how to amplify it where what how you should do all the things you need to do with it. So you can actually make an impact. Now frankly, I don’t care if you call it imposter phenomenon for your time poor or anything else. What I do care is that you do something about it by joining us for a live training on getting clarity around your idea, getting out of your own way and making something happened that helps others you can do this by going to Again that C L A , R I  Y this is a free training led by me. And it’s available to everyone, regardless of where you live in the world, spots are limited. So go to now and register for more details. I’m looking forward to seeing you there. All right, now back to Kindra.


Kindra Hall  30:29  

We need to listen to each other’s stories, which is fine. But I think a better way to come up about it, is by being generous with sharing our own. Instead of being like, you know, I’m gonna listen like be the example of, what happens when we share our stories that somebody can understand you a little bit better, and more importantly, they understand their own life a little bit better.


Brett Bartholomew  30:55  

Yeah, yeah. And I’m gonna ask you a question that has to do with that. I understand. There’s not one right answer, right. I’m mainly just looking towards your raw thoughts with that, this balance of self disclosure, right, many leaders and coaches and I use the term synonymously that I talked to say, hey, I really find I struggle finding the balance between how much to disclose, right, because inherently, a lot of these people are in positions where they still need to have, you know, they might be the superior of an individual. I know, we don’t like that language in today’s society, but hierarchically it is what it is. And they say, Yeah, I want to let them in. But how much is too much? And I can relate to that, because I’ve sat at conferences, where sometimes it feels like the person’s almost kind of used their platform as a little bit of therapy. And you’re like, Whoa, buddy, whoa, this is getting like Time’s almost up. And you’re still kind of here? And how do you think about that boundary? Or that that balance? And that dance of telling enough but not telling too much? And I know it’s contextual?


Kindra Hall  31:55  

No, no, there this is a really important thing to discuss. And there’s several different layers here. Number one, I know exactly what you’re saying. So I want to start with almost like a performance conversation in that where you’re saying, like, that person is telling their story. And it’s more like a therapy session. And that is a big problem. With storytelling, that’s where it can get a bad rap. Because the people who are watching it are like, Wait, this feels kind of gross for some reason. Now, of course, there are going to be some people in the audience who love that and they want to hear but like it’s, you know, I’ve never heard anybody say it, anybody else say it this way. But a really important thing to keep in mind when you are sharing emotional stories is to make sure that you’re really clear about who it’s for, if it’s for you, so that you can feel those feelings and one way to know that maybe your reasoning is a little off kilter is if when you’re telling it, you start to cry, because this isn’t a story for you to get emotional. You already done the emotions right? Now, if your audience is crying, that’s something else. And again, that doesn’t necessarily need to be the ultimate goal, but it’s definitely a red flag. If you’re telling the story and you’re making yourself cry. It either means A the story’s not ready yet, or, B you may be doing it for the wrong reasons, which I’m sorry, that sounds like rude to say, but that’s the truth of it. And then the other thing when it comes to, you know, how personal do I get if I’m a leader if I’m a coach, and that’s an individual question, each different person is going to have their own feelings for that what I would encourage you to do is share stories that do illustrate your personhood but we’re I’m a Miss mash of a million different things are right. Like, like I can share my personhood by telling you stories about my husband and my family. I can tell you about my personhood by telling you stories about my struggles in my business, I might choose not to tell stories that are challenges with like, personal relationships or you know what I mean that is a personal choice, what I would recommend is, you know, just like you would go just like in anything, you have your circle, your tight circle of people whose opinions you respect, and who aren’t necessarily just going to tell you what you want to hear. Mention the story to them kind of talk through the story with them, they maybe their colleagues that are on your same level, maybe their family, maybe their friends, and know that some of them are going to say, I think that’s too far because they’re speaking from their own comfort level. Some of them are going to be like Yeah, that’s awesome. Go for it. You know, their personalities, you know which ones was going to say and then from that place, decide which stories you share, you should always ever, ifleaders would just share more of their personal stories, again, leadership would be so much more effective because people want to follow someone they know like and trust. On the other side of it, the leader gets to choose which stories they tell,


Brett Bartholomew  35:25  

ya know, you touch on a lot of good points there. And what I liked specifically about that is we know that leadership is really messy in the real world. And it’s a full contact sport, and sometimes, to your point, and you mentioned, is the story you’re telling for you. And on page 42, you had said, We don’t need a hero, we need a relatable character. And if you’re always trying to make yourself the hero of your own story, and you’re focusing on you, you you as opposed to Hey, oh, okay, but now what? It doesn’t help anybody navigate the messy realities of leadership. Now, we’ve just heard about you and what are you some kind of martyr? Right? And then like you said, that’s where storytelling gets looped into really unethical salesmanship. Because that person wasn’t clear about the message. And the intended outcome, the call to action should be x, right? Like the call to action, when I tell my story is not to make anybody else’s story feel small. And it shouldn’t be. I mean, I’ve worked with athletes that one of them saw their parent killed in front of them, my story is not comparable to theirs, nor should it be nor does it have to be


Kindra Hall  36:29  

It’s comparing our stories. No, that’s not compare. No, yeah.


Brett Bartholomew  36:33  

And people do it. And so what I want people to understand about what you’re saying is, there’s so many tie ins I didn’t even figure out that my story came full circle fo me, when I started to say, Okay, we’re gonna start crossing over now I’ve loved my time working with athletes. But at the core of it, I got into coaching, because in the hospital, a lot of what I went through is due to poor communication, they didn’t really get to know us as patients. So we had very standardized one size fits all care. And I’m like, well, we see that play out in communication across the globe. And so yeah, I’m going to start a company that focuses on that and helps people understand how to deal with power dynamics, because that’s something else I dealt with. So I hope people hear what you’re saying, and that focus on your story, focus on a framework, know who it’s for, and make sure that there’s a call to action so that it’s not just you kind of blubbering up there about something that you want to hear yourself, say, am I missing much there 


Kindra Hall  37:28  

That’s it like, what is at the end of any story? What do you want your audience whether it’s a roomful of people, or whether it’s a one on one, what do you want them to think feel know or do as a result, and in some cases, that’s just you just want them to look at their life a little bit differently. Like maybe, it’s just a feel good message, and they can or give them a moment of nostalgia, maybe that’s the goal. Maybe the goal is, hey, you need to get up and change something in your life. And this is the story of the time I did it the wrong way, and what I learned and what you can learn, so you don’t have to do it. You can read through my example.


Brett Bartholomew  38:09  

Okay, so I’m gonna fumble, you said, look at your life a little bit. And I may fumble around this question. So be patient with me. There’s stories, we tell other people then there’s the narrative we have in our own life, right, our own internal self talk. I know and I’m going out on a limb here, I promise for anybody listening. This was not in research, anything like that. And Kindra, I respect your privacy. So if you don’t want to talk about you don’t have to. But I feel like I know for a fact that anybody that’s as good as communicating and storytelling and stuff as you are, they’re very self aware, they’ve maybe had some dark recesses of their own mind that they’ve had to deal with some moments where they’ve really had to figure their shit out. Is there something like that for you? And how do you feel about how that formed this personal narrative that then allowed you to go do what you’re doing?


Kindra Hall  38:57  

Ah, well, either you are a good mind like you do some serious losing Brett or you are a fortune teller because that is actually the entire content of my next book. It’s what it’s all about it is the self stories. So I think by the time this releases, it’ll be available for preorder. It comes out in January 2022. And again, we did not talk about this in advance so I’m going to ask you offline like, you find that out. But yeah, that the you can tell all the stories you want to tell in business in your you know, in coaching in leadership and anything but if we aren’t carefully paying attention to and working with the stories we tell ourselves, we’re always going to be bumping up against internal barriers, we’re not going to be able to achieve success on all the different levels and all the different, you know, in the 360s, spherical way, until we work on the stories we tell ourselves and oftentimes it is those internal narratives that lead us astray, that keep us stuck that hold us back. And so I mean, I’ve seen this in all areas of my life and and now having been and so again, it’s something that I’ve done my entire life, you can’t go and sit at the feet of these incredible storytellers and not see the stories stories in a holistic way. But it’s only been recently that I’ve started, like articulating much like the components of what makes a great story like breaking down the process of finding, identifying the stories we tell ourselves and really dissecting them wondering, where did that come from? And is this a story that serves me? Or do I need to swap it out with a better one, not to say that we can erase the mistakes that we’ve made, or the things that we’ve that have happened to us whether we were a part in it, or whether it just came out of nowhere, but we can. I don’t want to say control, but it’s control. And we can have agency that of overwork, what we do with those realities, and the stories we tell ourselves about them?


Brett Bartholomew  41:30  

Yeah, no, I like the word agency with that. it’s important, I think that most people don’t understand it. Well, they inherently understand it, I don’t know if that means that they actually utilize it right, you’re always gonna fail and get criticized and what have you might as well fail forward. And the you know, nothing worthwhile is without risk. And it’s something we’re told our entire life. But it’s funny, just because we’re told it by other people doesn’t mean that we believe it ourselves. And, I think that, I know that I deal with this too. I mean, I’m also working on a second book, and I remember my editor, they put something in the Google Doc, and they’re like, I need you to fill this piece and with a better story of a time when you did blank, and it helped somebody with blank. And I’m sitting there and I wonder if this has ever happened with you. The narrative I tell myself in that moment is Oh, shit. So much of this next book success resides on the fact of whether I can even remember some of this because you know, like, when you speak a good bit, and you travel a good bit, and you have correspondence with folks. There’s tons of ammo there, but you might not think of it in the moment. And then I kind of freak out and I’m like, Oh my God, I know I have a story that should go here. ButI can’t think of the one this book’s gonna fail. And the next thing you know, writer’s block procrastination, four weeks goes by my editors. Like how about that story? Yeah. But do you ever deal with anything as banal and basic like that?


Kindra Hall  42:50  

Yeah. I mean, there’s It’s the story you tell yourself about, like I’m trying to I’m trying to even think what story to tell you right here right now. But it is crazy. Well, the way that our the stories that our brain chooses to tell us in those moments, so a story I tell myself often is that I don’t have enough time, I’m not going to have enough time, I’m going to miss the deadline. And there are stories from my entire history growing up of a fear of time and the ways that I tried to manipulate that and manage that and so it’s a they’ve all conglomerated into this huge thing. So that anytime I’m coming up against a deadline, or there’s a big creative project, and I can’t seem to call in the stories or the content I need, I get really frozen in place because of those stories. Like I’m out of time and then it goes into it. Well, you always do this you never have and, now being extremely disciplined. In sitting down and telling myself all of the stories like in the morning, like having the stories written out with characters and motion of all the components that there’s supposed to have have times when I crushed at something and it had nothing to like, the time had nothing to do with it. Right or my like this last book that I wrote, I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. I’ve been thinking about it. I couldn’t I was like, couldn’t get words on paper. I couldn’t get words on paper. I gave myself six weeks before it was due to the public. And but I just knew but it was all this like I was doing my research. I was and anytime I was like, Oh my gosh, what are you doing, which happened a lot. I would be panicking. I would just remember. No,  you’ve completed projects like this is actually how you work really well because you eliminate the distract. I had to have very specific stories that I told myself so that I could get over the stories that I was going to fail so that I could create the book and I sent it in advance.


Brett Bartholomew  45:08  

Yeah, well, I remember because I follow you. I remember there were some mornings where you posted. You ever like 5am? You’re trying to get up before space dog, which we need to talk about space dog, and your family and what have you. Is that what that process is like for you? Are you an early morning writer, you get your coffee, you start laying that out? Is it on paper? Do you do it on Google Docs? What is that process like for you, if you don’t mind kind of going into the writing process?


Kindra Hall  45:33  

It is an absolute mess, like I get up early, but I just am going to switch this around. I was getting up early to read and journal. But then I’m like, because this is my time, I shouldn’t be working. This is my time. And now I’m and then finally, I was like, what stories? So right there, look, because all the gurus will tell you that you should meditate and journal and read. And I was like, Wait a minute. And then I told myself the story of when I interviewed Ryan serhant, who’s the huge million dollar listing or billion dollar like a big real estate guy here in New York City. He gets up super early and like, so what do you do in the morning? Like, I answer my emails and like, Oh, you’re not supposed to answer emails. That’s all we and then you start thinking of I’m like, but it’s working for him? Like, why am I telling myself what I should be the stories of what I should be doing with this time. So I’ve just now actually, today was the first day that I’m going to do some of my work and some of my writing. But no, my process for writing a book is really, really messy. It’s a lot of outlining. And I think this is true for stories too. Or anytime you’re putting together a presentation, a presentation is only as good as its outline. And if you don’t have a really solid, so I outline it, and then like the whole book, like part one, part two, part three, then I break down the chapters. And then I get into each chapter and then that’s when the stories so it was outlined, outlined outlined outlined and then come that six week mark, that’s when I started writing it.


Brett Bartholomew  47:11  

Yeah, that’s helpful to visualize. I think one thing that I struggled with is, you know, being that this year, or the past year with COVID, not being able to be around people, right, you’re clearly somebody that enjoys conversation and being around people and you draw energy from that. I found that that stymied my process a little bit, you know, because there’s some times where I might forget about something or forget about a story. And then I have a conversation with somebody, and I’m okay, now it’s back in my head. And so I found that, to your point. Yeah, I had to go counter to a lot of the advice that I had been getting, I mean, even if it was checking social media in the morning, because I might get a DM, which was a question from somebody. And I’m like, oh, yeah, now that clarified the outline a little bit. So if I can’t interact in some way, shape or form with my audience, or folks that support it, I find that it kind of stymies that progress a little bit, too. I mean, did you feel like any of that isolation had that effect on you at all?


Kindra Hall  48:06  

Yeah, I there was, I think that’s the reason it took me so long to get started is because I just felt like and then, the what helped me was part of the book was actually taking a group of people through this self storytelling process. And so we would have a weekly group zoom, and then 30 minute one on one calls. So I was with, I spent a lot of time with them. And that was really helpful. If I hadn’t done I needed that for the research and that data for the book. But if I hadn’t done that, I don’t know that I would have. But I think the other thing that I’ve gotten a lot better at is just openness and trust, like I’m a big believer in the universe and staying in alignment there. And when I’m really open and not like trying to force it. That’s when like you said, like, that’s when the DMs come, that’s when I went on a walk, I had to do a rewrite of chapter eight. I knew I was going to I kind of phone that one. And we were going on vacation right before the book was due. And I was like, I’m done. I’m sending this chpater. that didn’t work. I had to rewrite the chapter, which is fine. And then But then, of course, I was out of writing shape. Because when I was writing the book, you can imagine I was writing like 2000 5000 words a day, because I didn’t have a lot of time to write. And so by the time it came back for me to rewrite this chapter, I was out of shape, I believe, no, you know, like, you take some time off, back into shape. But I was on a walk with a friend and we, you know, we were just talking and she said something and all of a sudden I was like, That’s it. That’s the opening for the chapter. And, but I had kind of surrendered and come to this very open place and was like, You know what, I’m just going to the chapter will come to me, I just have to be really open to finding it. It came together. We’ll see what you think when you read chapter eight.


Brett Bartholomew  49:57  

Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. I think, you know, Something else along the lines of the storytelling side of things. And, you know, I was interested to find out like we actually share a good bit in common. You’re a Midwestern er, you’re from Minnesota, if I remember correct, 


Kindra Hall  50:10  

yeah Tha’t right. 


Brett Bartholomew  50:11  

You’re from Minnesota. My wife and I are from Nebraska. And I have family in Minnesota. We lived in Phoenix for a while. I think you live how long did you live in Phoenix?


Kindra Hall  50:20  

I was in Phoenix for like 15 years about 


Brett Bartholomew  50:23  

Wow. And  then moving to New York. That’s quite the change. But going into this right with being a Midwestern er, there’s something that kind of coincides with storytelling as well. I remember when we lived in California for a year we lived in Los Angeles, people would always be like, what do you do when you go back for the holidays? You know, assuming that Midwesterners just a secluded and you know, cheese curds and do whatever, and I go, well, like, Listen, you get really good at conversing with people. There’s lakes, you go ice skating. Yeah, there’s all these different things. And you tell stories, you know, that said, You tell stories for a living? Do you ever feel and I know you have this huge arsenal of stories and you’re very observant. So you probably can’t walk into a room without it triggering something. But have you ever felt like or felt concerned that you’ve told a story too many times? Or, hey, my audience is going to get tired of this, maybe even the story of let’s say, I want to book you as a speaker Kindra, you know, do you ever feel like you doubt your own story, or you’ve told it too many times, and you feel like it doesn’t stand out enough? I guess what I’m hinting at is some of our listeners will have impostor syndrome, or phenomenon, and they’re gonna feel like, people are gonna get tired of it. And it’s not going to stand out. And again, this goes back to self stories and narrative. But any thoughts on that? And do you ever deal with that?


Kindra Hall  51:38  

You know, so in my storytelling upbringing, I spent a lot of time going to storytelling festivals, which are a thing they


Brett Bartholomew  51:48  

I don’t  know that was a thing. 


Kindra Hall  51:50  

I know, it’s a thing. They happen all over the country, there’s a really big one in Jonesboro, Tennessee, every October, where people come, like storytellers come or hire to come and tell stories. That’s really where I learned about storytelling, and my favorite storyteller, my storytelling, mentor, his name is Donald Davis. I remember going to see him telling his stories. And I would be so excited when he would tell a story I hadn’t heard before. And I would be even more excited when he told a story I knew. Because the thing is, like with anything, when he would tell a story again, A he’s a different person than when I heard him tell it. Even though you know, from the time I’ve known him, he was like, 65. And plus, so you don’t change as much, maybe you do, actually, I think you probably do. 


So he had changed. I had changed from hearing the story the first time the second time, the third time. And even if I hadn’t, it is really, especially if you’re there with somebody else, and they’re gonna hear this story that you love for the first time. That’s really exciting, too. So I feel like I was raised in a completely different environment, when it comes to that perspective on messages. So that being said, yeah, when I have like three different openers, opening stories to my keynotes, three, probably two is more likely, and one that I throw in there every once in a while. And I’m you know, the height of when I was speaking, I was speaking 65 to 75 times a year. Every time I told that story, it was for a new audience, you know, like so if it’s for a new audience, they’re hearing it for the first time, like, there is nothing to be worried about, there’s a reason you chose to tell it this 60 times before that, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t tell it this time. And even if there are repeat people in the audience, remember how I felt when I heard my mentor Donald Davis tell the story. The other thing to keep in mind is if we’re talking like in a company, and you have a few stories that you tell you don’t want to be like old Uncle Bob, who forgets that he told you that story before, right? Like he thinks he’s telling it to you for the first time. So that’s where the self awareness comes in to be like, but I know I was working with an organization and they had this, you know, intake of new employees. And every time the CEO would go in and deliver a message and every time you would try to change it up and you would try to and finally, you know, I’ve been working with a team. he agreed like okay, I’m going to try this. I’m going to tell the same story every week. And the difference in you know, like him being able to go in there was a few people maybe in the back of the room or a few people that had heard it before. But again, it goes back to the audience. Who is this message for? This message isn’t for you? This What do you think the actors on Broadway feel their job is to literally go in saying the exact same notes say the exact same words on the exact same spot on stage. They’re not sitting there like, oh, gosh, people are going to be bored. They know they’ve got 1000 people in the room, we’ve been waiting to see them do that exact thing. So


Brett Bartholomew  55:30  

excellent note. That’s excellent example. And this will be the final question because I know you gotta get going to your next, appointment. You’re selling and maybe that’s the wrong term. You’re encouraging people to learn and invest in a skill that’s non tangible meaning right like we know if somebody’s good at stand up paddleboarding, we can see that somebody’s great at skiing, we can see that if somebody wanted to get better at you know, running or what have you, they can see that they can feel that we deal with a similar thing of trying to tell people hey, it pays to be a better communicator and not like, hey, verbal and nonverbal like deeper than that. And understanding power literacy, also not tangible, inherently, people think they tend to be better at these things, storytelling communication, then they really are right, some Dunning Kruger that said, how do you sell or encourage them to maybe kind of think again, and say, You’re not really as good as you think you are? This is a skill you need to invest in.


Kindra Hall  56:27  

So what I would say, you’re not going to be surprised at first, I understand how challenging it like we really struggled at the beginning when I was like, I think I want I think the thing I’m gonna do now is via storytelling, Keynote, it was so hard. And really, it wasn’t until like, we had a few people take a chance on the message. And then, you know, people were in that audience that then hired me. And so the message was able to expand and the marketplace kind of caught up to it, let’s just say. But the most effective way to do it is with stories. So if you can tell a story about a time when this skill made a difference for someone. Now, here’s where the nuances are extremely important. When you start that story, you can’t start it. And you mentioned we didn’t go into the framework, but the story has a normal explosion, new normal, you can’t start it in the middle and be like communication skills can make a huge difference in people’s lives. Susan can now do this, this, this and this. We don’t care about Susan, we don’t know anything about her, right. So especially when you’re selling, the best thing you can do is use one of the stories that you already have, they need to be truthful stories, of course. But in the normal, tell the story such that like paint the picture of that character who thought they already had this figured out who thought that they were really good at it. And then who found themselves in a communication conundrum. And were able to get out of it. Until they and then explosion until they found you new normal now what they’re capable of. But the really cool thing you can do there in the normal anytime you’re trying to sell the invisible is tell them a story. Where they’re nodding along like yeah, yes. Oh my gosh, that sounds Oh, I’m so like, I’m really good at these are all the things that I’m gonna Yes, yes, I am. So this person and then in the explosion reveal that that person was actually off that person was actually not right. So they’re saying yes, they’re saying yes, they’re saying yes. Now it can’t be so abrupt that then they’re mad at you. But I would imagine you have these stories that you could tell that’s where the details come in. You can include the details of their career, you know, if they’re accountants, and they’re like, What does it even matter? You can talk about the pens that they use if they’re, you know what I mean? That’s what happened with


Brett Bartholomew  59:15  

with Warby Parker, you’re talking about the guy on the plane who forgot his glasses, right example from your book. I think about you did this for me when I had to get clearer about my story, when we pitch it to a corporate Exec of you know, there was a teenager who felt loss angry and confused, and a lot of his employees felt that during change, and so we were able to tie my story into change and the new normal and the explosion and what have you. So for what it’s worth your work has and continues to do that for me and my organization and I couldn’t be more thankful.


Kindra Hall  59:45  

Oh, and that is, That is the that is it. That’s all I could ask for.


Brett Bartholomew  59:51  

Well, before we let you go, let’s let everybody know about the preorder where they can follow you where they can support you. All of this will be in the show notes peppered throughout. But go ahead Let us know how we can support you and where we can go to do so.


Kindra Hall  1:00:02  

Yeah, well, of course stories that stick is out, it’s going strong, you can find that anywhere that books are sold. You can find me on social media @kindrahall on Instagram is usually where I am most though I’m on Facebook as well. And then in terms of pre ordering the new books, the book is called choose your story, change your life. Silence your Oh, the subtitle, silence your inner critic and rewrite your life from the inside out something like that. Yeah. That is available for pre order. I believe it’ll be on Barnes and Noble and Amazon for sure. If you want, I’ll have some bonuses that are released with that, like, I’ll send you a sign like a bookplate. Here. I


Brett Bartholomew  1:00:44  

Thank you.


Kindra Hall  1:00:47  

Let’s see. If you go to Enter your info. I’ll mail you a signature so you can have a signed copy. 


Brett Bartholomew  1:00:57  

We will get that and we appreciate that. We’ll make sure to share that with everybody. Well, I gotta get you off so you can get to your next appointment. Thank you again for everything. We appreciate your grace and the tactical nature of everything you shared. Guys, Brett Bartholomew Kindra Hall art of coaching podcast, we’ll talk to you next time.

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