The obstacle is the way.
The things we seek to avoid are often what’s best for us.
To become something we’re not, we must step into a new role.
What’s best for our ego is to push it into a new role. While our ego will initially push back, it will ultimately thrive on the challenge.
You will need to go out a limb to see the view.
When you overclock your CPU, you move out of your comfort zone.
One way to get outside your comfort zone is to surround yourself by other programs that exist outside your current comfort zone. It's why we can learn so much more from the people we dislike than from the people we like.
If I go for a ride by myself, I'd maybe go for a couple hours tops. But by going with someone who is stronger, I ride for nearly 3 hours at a much faster pace than I normally would.
This is something to teach by example.
Learn by doing.
Teach by example.
To get beyond yourself, surround yourself with others who's definition of 'normal' is different than your own. Your comfort zone will expand (or contract) to reflect those around you.
Sidebar: 50 Interviews provides a framework to expand your 'comfort zone' by connecting you with people you otherwise wouldn't be connected to!
Make a routine out stepping outside your comfort zone.
Nothing happens until it is committed to in time and space.
Sometimes people believe there is nothing in their lives that anyone else would be interested in, which instantly creates an unnecessary obstacle. Half of what makes a story interesting to listeners is how the actions, questions, and meanings of a story are delivered to them. So a subtle story about climbing the stairs in the house you grew up in can have just as much impact as a story about climbing Mt. Everest.
The theme for each event is a prompt to help spark your imagination and recall stories from your life. Let your imagination go for a ride for awhile, let the theme stew a bit, you’ll be surprised what can emerge from the depths.
This is not a therapy session, so think twice before choosing a story that tempts you to emotionally unload on the audience. The audience will feel uncomfortable and you won’t feel any better either. Remember the story is for the benefit of the audience and not yourself, which highlights the difference between a powerfully emotional story versus emotionally unloading on the audience.
Also, please save your political or religious propagandizing, rants, raves, and stream of consciousness epics for other venues. We reserve the right to give you the hook if we have to.
Try to crystallize why the story is important enough to you to make you want to share it with others. Having that clarity will go a long way in having the listeners join you on your journey and will turn a mere sequence of events into a shared communal experience. If you are having a hard time gaining clarity with your story, maybe move on to another story and let that one steep a bit more.
No need to memorize the story and then recite it because then it sounds like you have memorized the story and are reciting it. If you have a fear of remembering your story, no worries, in the world of storytelling it’s a lot easier than it seems. How? Well, if someone were to ask you to tell them the story of Cinderella for example, you could do it, right? Why? Because you are familiar with the key elements of the story and are able to convey those key elements while making it interesting by filling in the spaces with your own ideas and language.
You are not the only one telling the story, each person in the audience is telling their version of the story along with you. You will discover your own preferred methods to spark the listener’s imagination. Keep the audience asking, “Then what happened?”. Allow the listener to fill in some of the spaces by not killing the story with details. Scatter the story with judicious pauses. As in music, add dynamics to the story by varying your pitch, tempo, volume, etc. Sprinkle with humor.
Embrace mistakes, some of them are worth keeping and the others teach you what not to do again. Take a breath, absorb the supportive energy of the audience, and begin.
One strategy to surround yourself with people who you normally don't is to interview them. As an author writing a 50 Interviews book, you have a reason to talk to them. If they believe they an authority on the topic, knowing they'll be in THE book on the topic will more than likely interest them. After all, it addresses the greatest fear we all share - the fear of insignificance.