Storytelling at Work
January 27, 2020
Woodstock Wisdom Circles

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Woodstock, New York is famous for a lot of things -- the 1969 music festival, it's creative community, spirit of freedom, laid back lifestyle, mountain views, Tibetan monastery, Halloween parade, and Santa's Christmas appearance on the town green, just to name a few. One thing it is NOT famous for, at least not yet, is its Wisdom Circles.

Continue reading "Woodstock Wisdom Circles "

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

January 26, 2020
The Birthday Gift

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Twenty four hours before Prem Rawat's birthday this year, I made my way to the nearest San Miguel FedEx store, first thing in the morning -- the place where I had shipped my birthday gift to him just three days before.

Since my present had not yet reached it's destination, I was very concerned. Actually, "concerned" was not really the right word to describe my sorry state of mind. I was actually somewhere between "extremely disappointed," "impatient," and "pissed off." For months I had been working on Prem's birthday gift and had made every effort imaginable to make sure it arrived at his residence on the day before his birthday.

But it didn't.

So here I was at the Mexican FedEx office trying to figure out what happened and when I could expect the package to arrive, especially since I had paid an ungodly amount of money to get it there on time.

While the delightful woman behind the counter did not speak English, she was able to secure the help of one of her bi-lingual co-workers who proceeded to explain that she had no idea where the package was and why it hadn't arrived and when it would arrive -- if, indeed, it was ever going to arrive.

Pointing to the third line on the nearest FedEX form, she mumbled something about "customs" and mentioned a few other things that didn't make sense or make me feel especially confident that my birthday present was going to arrive at Prem's residence any time soon.

I could feel the "irate customer" within me rising to the surface and, at the same time, could also feel the humor of the whole situation, followed by a gradual, somewhat curmudgeonly, letting go into "what will be will be" mode. Besides, this was Prem Rawat's birthday I was wanting to celebrate. It just didn't feel right to get uptight about the whole thing. Right occasion, wrong feeling.

So I diligently wrote down the US customer service number and my very long FedEx tracking number, thanked the two mujeres behind the counter for their efforts and made my way to Zentenos, my favorite cafe in all of San Miguel, just a 3-minute walk away.

Ordering a cappuccino grande, I took a seat and got ready to call FedEx customer service. At the exact same moment, Fernando, the cappuccino maker, waiter, and all around good guy, walked over to my table, and placed, with great cuidado, my cappuccino before me.

Continue reading "The Birthday Gift"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:56 AM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2020
KIDS CORNER: How Storytelling Builds Attachment

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If you have ever heard a child say, 'Tell me a story,' you may have thought she merely wanted a good story. Not necessarily true. There's a very good chance the child was motivated more by the need for your attention -- a chance to connect, bond, and simply BE with you. More about this phenomenon and how it relates to attachment theory in this lovely blog post by the authors of How to Tell Stories to Children.

Big thanks to Janice Wilson for the heads up.

Storytelling for big kids. Like YOU for instance
Learn to be a transformative storyteller

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:11 PM | Comments (0)

What a Story Is Not

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For the past three years, I've been facilitating Wisdom Circles in the US, Mexico, and Australia. They have been an absolute delight -- wonderful gatherings of open-minded people who intuitively understand the power and glory of storytelling. And yet, during that time, I've noticed a curious phenomenon: Even though the word "story" is well-known to everyone, not everyone understands how to tell a story with impact.

Continue reading "What a Story Is Not"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:37 AM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2020
WOOF! WOOF! A Pet Portrait Message from the Other Side

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This just in from Chili, my beloved poochie for 11 years who crossed over to the other side a while ago.

"OK, I know this is a storytelling blog and I also know it is not necessarily 'appropriate' for me, as a canine, to be promoting the pet portrait services of Evelyne Pouget, but sometimes you just gotta get 'out of the box', right?

Anyway, as long as I have your attention, here's what I want to say: Evelyne is a fabulous artist who specializes, these days, in pet portraits, especially poochies. She is very connected to my species, brings out our spirit, and is very fairly priced. Plus she is a great person and speaks French, Italian, Spanish, and English.

Oh, I almost forgot, now that she has opened her new art studio in San Miguel, she is taking on pet portrait commissions. Interested? If so, email my old buddy, Mitchie Pie (mitch@ideachampions.com), who used to take me for long walks, tickled my belly, and tried to get me to laugh at his ridiculous jokes, when no one else in the house was interested. I'm a good boy, Yes, I am! And I know a good pet portrait painter when I see one.

Click the link below for some samples of Evelyne's work."

Continue reading "WOOF! WOOF! A Pet Portrait Message from the Other Side"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:25 PM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2020
ANNOUNCING MICRO-LEARNING FOR STORYTELLERS: May, 2020

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One of the powerful things about storytelling is that it doesn't take a lot of time to deliver the goods. Indeed, a meaningful, life-changing story can easily be told in five minutes or less. Sometimes, one minute or less.

And yet, curiously, most storytelling workshops and books require hours of your time. Sometimes, days. Which is precisely why I've created a super-simple way for aspiring storytellers to get what they need in order to develop their chops without a lot of huffing and puffing -- and without a lot of expense.

I call it "Micro-Learning for Storytellers" -- the perfect blend of simple, deep, fun, engaging, and self-paced.

It begins with a live, 90-minute, online Storytelling Master Class from award-winning author and Wisdom Circle Founder, Mitch Ditkoff. After the session, participants receive a link to Mitch's Micro-Learning for Storytellers page -- access to more than 100 mind-opening videos, articles, stories, and podcasts on how to become a transformative storyteller.

Who is this for? Anyone who wants to explore new and better ways of communicating a meaningful message via the medium of oral storytelling.

The next Storytelling MasterClass is planned for May, specific date to be announced. Very affordable.

Interested? Simply click this link and then the "email us" link and Mitch will get back to you ASAP.

Mitch Ditkoff
Storytelling for the Revolution
What people are saying about the book
Storytelling at Work
Wisdom Circles

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2020
MY ONLY HIT OF THE SEASON

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There are entire years of my life I can barely remember, but I will never forget the nanosecond, as a 16-year old right fielder for Camp Scatico, when I got my only hit of the season.

It was a bullet up the middle, right through the pitcher's legs, over second base, and into center field before you could say "Duke Snider." Bam! It was a perfect hit. Seriously. A major crack of the bat. A single for the ages. Pete Rose-like. Derek Jeter-like. Tony Gwynn-like.

There were two outs at the time and my best friend, Matt Weinstein, our rather over-sized catcher, was on second. As soon as I made contact, Matt was off and running, heading to third, lumbering, as most catchers do, not all that quickly. Me? I sprinted out of the batters box and got to first in a flash, stunned that I now had a batting average and had earned the right to stand on first base and take it all in -- the glory, the accomplishment, the sense of timeless connection to all of the lead off hitters since the beginning of time -- "speedsters" was how people referred to us. "Table setters".

But Matt got thrown out at home! Truly. Really. I shit you not. My only chance for an RBI the entire season got gunned down at home by the maniac center fielder who must have been a relative of Roberto Clemente. Yup. Big Matt got thrown out. It wasn't even close. He was out by 15 feet. And it was the third out, at that. Third out, as in end of the inning.

Finito. Kaput. No, I was not allowed to stand on first and admire my handiwork. There was no time to accept high fives from the first base coach. The inning was over. Done. End of story. Now I had to run back to the dugout, get my glove, and make my way to right field.

Every time I've seen Matt since then, here's what I say:
"MATTHEW, HOW THE FUCK COULD YOU GET THROWN OUT AT HOME? HOW? MY ONLY CHANCE FOR AN RBI THE ENTIRE SEASON AND YOU GET THROWN OUT TO END THE INNING? REALLY? REALLY?"

I can barely remember my first marriage. I have no memory of high school geometry. But I remember absolutely EVERYTHING about that summertime at-bat 57 years ago. Everything.

Did I mention it was my only hit of the season, a single up the middle, through the pitcher's legs and over second base before anyone could even blink? That's how hard I hit the ball. I mean, it literally rocketed off my bat. And I sprinted to first. Sprinted. And the crowd went wild. Totally wild. And my good buddy, Matt "I'm-Not-Exactly-Usain Bolt" Weinstein, GET THROWN OUT AT HOME! THROWN OUT! TO END THE INNING! YOU CAN ASK ANYONE!

It wasn't funny then, but it is very funny now.

THIS is precisely how I want to live my life, ladies and gentlemen. One swing of the bat! CONTACT! And I am running, like a man on fire, to first, enjoying the moment for as long as I can, no matter what happens next. Or doesn't.

PLAY BALL!!!!!

Excerpted from Storytelling for the Revolution
MitchDitkoff.com
Baseball!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:15 AM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2020
ANNOUNCING: Wisdom Circle Facilitator Training -- Spring 2020

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If you are a lover of storytelling, believe in its power to awaken, and want to learn how to facilitate Wisdom (storytelling) Circles in your home, community, or organization, this blog post is for you.

In the Spring, I will be launching an online Wisdom Circle Facilitation training that will teach you everything you need to know to become a masterful facilitator of storytelling circles. And all it takes is 90 minutes. That's it. 90 minutes.

As the author of two books on storytelling (see below) and the Founder/Facilitator of Wisdom Circles in the US, Mexico, and Australia, I am now ready to share what I know with others who are wanting to carry the "storytelling torch". My vision? That all over the world, on any given night, there will be thousands of Wisdom Circles happening -- soulful, engaging, life-enhancing opportunities for friends, neighbors, and co-workers to gather together and share their memorable, meaningful, wisdom-infused stories with each other.

Continue reading "ANNOUNCING: Wisdom Circle Facilitator Training -- Spring 2020"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2020
What Actually Happens at a Wisdom Circle? The Format?

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The format and flow of a Wisdom Circle is very simple. Prior to the gathering, via email, I let everyone know what the storytelling themes of the evening will be, so, if participants want, they can identify -- and even practice -- a story they want to tell.

On the night of the Wisdom Circle, I begin by welcoming everyone and asking each participant to introduce themselves and state what they hope to get from the evening -- "what's in it for them." I then set the context -- including a brief introduction to storytelling as a communication medium, the ground rules for the circle, and an explanation of my role, as facilitator.

Continue reading "What Actually Happens at a Wisdom Circle? The Format?"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2020
An Intriguing Invitation for Pet Store Owners Everywhere

Greetings! Mitch Ditkoff here, Rep/Agent for pet portrait artist, Evelyne Pouget. If you have customers who might be interested in commissioning Evelyne's services, you will likely find our new Finder's Fee offer worth considering. It costs you absolutely nothing and opens the door for you earning a 10% fee on all clients you send Evelyne's way.

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Continue reading "An Intriguing Invitation for Pet Store Owners Everywhere"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:13 PM | Comments (0)

Z GALLERY OPENING IN SAN MIGUEL

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There are 150 art galleries in San Miguel. Actually, with the appearance of the newly launched Z Gallery, make that 151 – a potentially dizzying number of choices for local art lovers, art collectors, tourists, and seekers of free wine and cheese to select from.

Which is precisely why I am writing this blog post -- to provide you with all the information and inspiration you need to consider attending the opening of Gallery #151 -- the up and coming Z Gallery – on January 25th.

Z Gallery is an unpretentious, contemporary gallery of small format art works, currently featuring the extraordinary work of Evelyne Pouget, Mariana Vega, Jose Yanez, and Erasmo Jupiter.

The inspiration to launch Z Gallery, explains gallery owner, Mariana Vega, can be traced back to the original meaning of the letter "Z" – which, in Hebrew, translates as "sword" or "a weapon of the spirit." Explains Ms. Vega, "art is a weapon of freedom -- the freedom to express and communicate. Z Gallery represents a chance for local artists to communicate their unique message of freedom that comes from their heart."

Inspiring quotes from great artists.

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Z Gallery Facebook page

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:40 PM | Comments (0)

January 02, 2020
EYE THOU: Seeing Scott Cronin

Here is a sampling of the extraordinary work of Scott Cronin. I will be posting more here in the weeks to come, along with Scott's fascinating story -- a compelling example of true "outsider art."

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:16 PM | Comments (2)

January 01, 2020
Two By Emilia Ditkoff

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)

December 25, 2019
Flawed Beautiful Creatures

Big thanks to Scott Cronin for the heads up

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2019
The Winter Solstice Begins a Season of Storytelling

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Fascinating (brief) article from Smithsonian Magazine about the Native American (seasonal) approach to storytelling. Tis the season, my friends. Go for it!

Storytelling for the Revolution


Photo: Pigoff Photography, Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2019
My Slightly Goofy Introduction to Black Magic

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There are a lot of things I have never been into. Biodynamic gardening is one of them. Shopping at Wal-Mart is another. And black magic. I realize, of course, there is a value to biodynamic gardening. It's good for the earth. Shopping at Walmart, I suppose, also has its advantages. Like the option of buying three months of toilet paper in one fell swoop. But black magic -- the use of supernatural powers for evil and selfish purposes? Nope. Not my cup of tea. Not even close.

Ever since I was a small boy, I've always thought of myself as one of the good guys -- a light bearer, a healer, a champion of the oppressed. Black magic was as far off my radar screen as learning Swahili. But that all changed for me one rainy Tuesday night in Los Angeles, the City of Angels, in 1982.

Having just arrived from New York on a three-day business trip, I found myself being invited by a friend to join him for a "different kind of evening" -- an evening, he explained, with a trance medium -- a psychic who, apparently, had the ability to channel Merlin the Magician, King Arthur's chief advisor.

Continue reading "My Slightly Goofy Introduction to Black Magic"

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:48 PM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2019
13 Videos for Aspiring Storytellers

Click here to view 13 brief videos (7 minutes or less) of me waxing on about the art and science of storytelling. Includes five stories from my newest book, Storytelling for the Revolution.

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Big thanks to the fine folks of GlowDec for creating this cool platform. Big thanks to David McCarthy for his videographic mastery. Big thanks to Rolan Pizer for his olympic tenacity and vision. And a big thanks to Jesse Ditkoff for his graphic wizardry, creativity, and sense of humor.

MitchDitkoff.com

My storytelling workshop
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:33 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2019
The Dream Architecture of San Miguel de Allende

One of San Miguel de Allende's remarkable qualities is it's colonial architecture. Simply walking the streets has the potential to put you in a very benevolent trance. Evelyne Pouget, painter, photographer, and digital artist brings out the best of San Miguel's architecture in the following series of digitally enhanced photographs -- all of which are available for purchase.

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"What is now proved, was once only imagined." - William Blake

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"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few." - Shunryu Suzuki

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"If someone says you can't, that shows you what to do." - John Cage

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"You must do the thing you think you cannot do." - Eleanor Roosevelt

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"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it." - Pablo Picasso

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"I don't dream at night, I dream all day. I dream for a living."
- Steven Spielberg

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"In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd." - Miguel de Cervantes

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"The shell must break before the bird can fly." - Alfred Tennyson

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"If not you, who? If not now, when?" - Rabbi Hillel

All of the above are available as prints: framed and unframed. For more information about sizes and prices contact: mitch@ideachampions.com

San Miguel's danzantes
Evelyne's Pet Portraits

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2019
Raise Your Online Voices High

What if ONE LIT CANDLE was produced this way?

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2019
The Digital Art of Evelyne Pouget

What follows are examples of Evelyne Pouget's digital art, inspired by the danzantes of San Miguel de Allende. Her work is an alchemical blend of photography and digital effects.

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"The world is an illusion, but you have to act as if it's real." - Krishna

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"Not everything that counts can be counted; and not everything that can be counted counts." - Albert Einstein

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"When you speak the truth, you don't have to remember anything." - Mark Twain

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"Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." - Helen Keller

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"The world is not made of atoms. It is made of stories." - Muriel Rukeyser

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"Just remain in the center, watching. And then forget that you are there." - Lao Tzu

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"Everything you need is within you." - Prem Rawat

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"The world is how you see it." - Baba Muktananda

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"What is there at this moment that you lack?" - Zen Saying

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"I have nothing to say. I am saying it. That is poetry." - John Cage

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"Awareness cures." - Fritz Perls

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"Kindness is my religion." - Dalai Lama

More About Evelyne Pouget
PougetDigital
Evelyne's pet portraits
Evelyn's people portraits
Evelyne's equine portraits

If you are interested in commissioning Evelyne's portraiture services or would like to buy any of her danzante prints, contact mitch@ideachampions.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:36 PM | Comments (0)

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ABOUT THE BLOG

Storytelling at Work is a blog about the power of personal storytelling – why it matters and what you can do to more effectively communicate your stories – on or off the job. Inspired by the book of the same name, the blog features "moment of truth" stories by the author, Mitch Ditkoff, plus inspired rants, quotes, and guest submissions by readers.

Order the book:

Storytelling for the Revolution
Storytelling for the Revolution is Mitch Ditkoff's newly published book about the power of personal storytelling to elevate the conversation on planet Earth. Provocative. Evocative. And fun. YOU have stories to tell. This book will help you tell them.
Storytelling at Work
"The world is not made of atoms," wrote the poet, Muriel Rukeyser. "It's made of stories." Learn how to discover, honor, and unpack the stories of yours that show up "on the job" in Mitch Ditkoff's award-winning 2015 book, Storytelling at Work.
FAQ
Do you want to know more about the book before buying it? Click here for Mitch's response to frequently asked questions about Storytelling at Work – the perfect book for people who think they have no time to read.
The Workshop
Storytelling is an "unconscious competency" – an ability we all have that all too often remains inaccessible to us. Enter the Storytelling at Work workshop – a simple way to activate this powerful, innate skill.
Wisdom Circles
Want to establish a culture of storytelling in your organization or community? Looking for a simple way to help people to share their meaningful, memorable stories with each other? Here's how.
Podcasts & Videos
Click here to view and listen to a series of interviews with the author of this blog. Go beyond the written word. Listen. Feel. Elevate the conversation. Understand what the big deal is about personal storytelling.
Blogs 'R Us
If you like this blog, you might also like Mitch's other two blogs: The Heart of Innovation and The Heart of the Matter. Mitch is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.
Idea Champions
When Mitch isn't writing, he's captaining the good ship Idea Champions, a leading edge innovation consulting and training company based in Woodstock, NY. What their clients say.
© IDEA CHAMPIONS