Storytelling at Work
February 28, 2019
Jump Start Coaching for Aspiring Hudson Valley Authors and Storytellers

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If you are an aspiring author or storyteller in the Hudson Valley, but find yourself stuck, spinning your wheels, or needing support to write your book, you are in good company. Most people who want to write a book experience something similar. It's normal. But it's also frustrating -- especially when you know you have something meaningful to share with the world and the clock is ticking.

This is precisely why I have launched Jump Start Coaching for Aspiring Authors -- a simple way for wannabe writers (with a budget) to get their act together.

As an author of six books, I have experienced, first hand, the good, bad and ugly of what it takes to write and publish a book. And, as an innovation consultant to a wide variety of forward thinking organizations since 1987, I also know what it takes to navigate the muddy waters of the creative process. Now I am combining both of these experiences and offering my services to writers on the cusp of a breakthrough.

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Simply put, my job is to get you into the kind of motion that is going to lead to the completion of your book. How I do this is a combination of creative process coaching and creative writing coaching, so you can become the best writer you can possibly be. Not Hemingway. Not J.K Rowling. Not Shakespeare. But you!

THE PROCESS OF US WORKING TOGETHER

1. You and I have a brief chat to explore the possibilities
2. If we agree, you decide which Jump Start Option works for you
3. I send you a Letter of Engagement for your signature
4. You pay my first month's fee in advance
5. You and I have coaching call #1 to clarify the following:

-- Your purpose and intention for writing the book
-- The key themes and message of your book
-- Your audience
-- Your strengths as a writer/communicator
-- Your inner and outer obstacles to writing a book
-- The structure and flow of your book
-- Your creative process (and the discipline required)
-- Support you need
-- Next steps

6. I send you links to videos and articles of mine.
7. You send me a sample of your writing
8. I read your stuff and send you my feedback & recommendations
9. You and I talk again to review my feedback and dig in deeper
10. We have one (or more) coaching calls to continue the process

THREE OPTIONS

1. Jump Start Ruby: $500 (four hours)
2. Jump Start Silver: $875 (seven hours)
3. Jump Start Gold: $1,500 (twelve hours)

AND A FOURTH OPTION: If you find value in my coaching and want to continue the process after our first 4-12 hours, we can extend our collaboration at whatever interval works for you ($110/hr.)

TWO CLIENT TESTIMONIALS:

"I look forward to every call and meeting with Mitch. His warmth, humor, presence, and insights build my trust that I have something to say that matters. The quality of support, interest, and presence that Mitch brings to our work together boosts my enthusiasm and self-confidence in my writing. Mitch has helped me understand how to differentiate and integrate storytelling and message. Since we began working together, I feel more relaxed in my writing process and am experiencing renewed juicy writing flows. Mitch's coaching has also helped me have greater clarity about how to visualize and organize the book I am writing."

- Roberta Wall, author of the forthcoming, DANCING AT THE INTERSECTION


"What I like about my writing mentor, Mitch Ditkoff, is his way of triggering buried memories. It is true that I only meet Mitch through the Skype screen, but his warmth, smile, and concern for me travel miles in split seconds across the globe, warming up my heart and unwinding all of the locks to my inner being. He always begins with 'Tell me how Sadika is -- Sadika the human.' That simple question is enough to draw a smile on my face. How many people look you in the eye today and inquire about your well-being? Mitch is one of those rare persons who really cares. He is exactly what a mentor should be -- a human being who has shed all of the labels society, culture, and religion tags us with. I am so grateful to have Mitch as my mentor!"

-- Sadika Kebbi, author of the forthcoming BEING HUMAN


Want to schedule an initial, 20-minute call to see if this is a good fit?
mitch@ideachampions.com

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

The Magical Science of Storytelling

MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:30 AM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2019
Solomon the Storyteller

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:58 AM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2019
SOON COMING: An Anthology of Wisdom Stories from Living Sages

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GREETINGS! I am beginning the process of identifying a wide variety of living Sages, Masters, Gurus, Teachers, and Wisdom Keepers to contribute their favorite story to an anthology of "wisdom stories" I am putting together. Some of these Sages will be well known to many. Some not. At this point in the game, I am looking for two things: 1) Suggestions of "wise ones" to approach; 2) Contact information (or connections) for HOW I might approach these wise ones in the simplest and most direct way possible. If you are not comfortable with leaving your suggestions in the comments box, feel free to email me: mitch@ideachampions.com

The Magical Mystery tour continues...

About the curator
Photo: NASA on Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:28 PM | Comments (1)

February 10, 2019
Why God Made Man

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Elie Wiesel

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:15 PM | Comments (0)

February 06, 2019
The Sanctuary Within

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There are three kinds of storytelling in the world: oral, written, and visual. Of the three, oral storytelling is the most common, having been around since the beginning of time. That's how our ancestors ensured their survival and passed on their wisdom to the next generation. In time, oral storytelling morphed into written storytelling -- not exclusively, of course, but as simply another way to convey vital information and wisdom that needed to be shared.

In the 1800's, for example, two brothers, in Germany, collected more than 200 folk tales from their homeland and published them in a book we now know as "Grimm's Fairy Tales." In the process, however, the two brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm, edited the stories quite a bit, according to their own values, and the stories changed.

This is not at all surprising. All stories morph when told and retold. Stories constantly change, based on the memory, mood, personality, interpretation, values, and the communication style of the storytellers who tell them.

The facts upon which a story is based? Changing all the time. And that is not a problem. Because story telling, as a communication medium, is less about accuracy than it is about meaning. Indeed, as Frank Lloyd Wright once said, "The truth is more important than the facts."

And so, dear storyteller-in-waiting, know this: As long as you are not in a court of law vowing to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," it is perfectly fine to tell a story you've heard (or read) in a different way than how you originally heard or read it. That is, as long as you honor the underlying message/wisdom of the story. You see, the main service you are performing, as a storyteller, is bringing water to the thirsty. The shape of the container is secondary.

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In the spirit of the Grimm's Brothers and millions of storytellers since the beginning of time, it is my great privilege, now, to share a story I heard, three years ago, in Mexico, from a tour guide named "Carlos" -- one of the most animated storytellers I have ever encountered. The story Carlos told me blew my mind so completely that I was certain it must have been a famous story and written down somewhere. It wasn't. Googling revealed nothing except a few icy cold, biographical facts about the story's hero -- none of which even remotely sparked the power and glory of the tale I was told.

Can I say with 100% assurance that Carlos' telling of the tale was a perfect recounting of the historical facts? No, I cannot. But for the purpose of your own, future storytelling, it doesn't matter in the least. What matters is the message embedded within the stories you tell and the impact they have on the people who have good fortune to be on the receiving end.

Ready?

In the 18th century, in the heart of Mexico, there lived a small group of priests in service to Jesus Christ. Like most men of the cloth, these priests had a hierarchy -- an organizational structure that helped them get things done. The eldest were the organizers and decision makers. The youngest took their orders from eldest. One of the younger priests, an especially animated young man named "Felipe," was rather troubling to his superiors, insofar as he was always asking questions, looking up to the sky, and had an unexplainable smile on his face most of the time.

He was, in a phrase, a thorn in the side to his elders, serious fellows who were always, it seemed, more interested in the letter of the law than the spirit.

And so, one day, the elder priests hatched a plan to get Felipe out of their hair. With great gravitas, they called him into their office and explained that he had been selected, out of all the priests, to perform a very important religious function -- one that would honor the life and teachings of Lord Jesus Christ himself.

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Every day, the priests explained, Felipe would be given a large wooden cross to carry for a distance of many miles into the wilderness. Upon arriving, he would stop, pray, and then begin his way back to where he had started that day. This journey, the priests went on to explain, would be a re-enactment of what Jesus had endured and would help Felipe and, by extension, all the priests of his order, get more deeply in touch with God.

Of course, to the head priests, this exercise was nothing more than a way to get rid of Felipe for the day. But for Felipe, it was a gift from God. He was totally ecstatic that he had been chosen and couldn't wait to begin.

And so he did. Each day he would pick up his cross and walk for what seemed like forever into the wilderness -- just him, his sacred mission, and the hot sun overhead. A lesser man might have collapsed under the weight of the cross and the seeming monotony of this spiritual practice. But not Felipe. He loved it, gaining strength and inspiration with each passing day.

Two weeks into his mission, a band of breast-plated Spaniards, on horseback, approached him, having noticed his daily cross-carrying ritual and the undeniable fact that, unlike them, he had never once been attacked by the Chichimecca, a ferocious indigenous tribe that was picking off the Spaniards, one-by-one, and decimating their numbers.

The Spaniards had a deal to make with Felipe. Each day they would give him a few gold and silver coins if he would protect them from the Chichimeccas -- a deal that sounded to Felipe as if it was coming straight from God, especially since he recently had a vision of building a church in the wilderness and had no idea how he was going to pay for the materials.

And so, he accepted the Spaniards' offer, using most of his sudden good fortune to pay for building supplies, giving the rest of the gold and silver to the priests when he returned home at the end of each day.

And so it went. Months passed. Years. The priests got richer and Felipe's church grew taller. All was right with the world. Except one thing. The lack of water in the region made it impossible for Felipe and his indigenous helpers to build the church year-round. With no water to make adobe bricks, they were forced to wait for months until the rainy season began -- not an ideal scenario for a man on a mission, a cross on his back, and a constant smile on his face.

A problem? Not to Felipe. Guided by unseen forces and his trusty divining rod, he soon discovered an underground spring nearby. With nothing but his bare hands, a few primitive implements, and his Chichimecca helpers, Felipe dug until the water was found. Not just any water, however. Mineral water. Healing water. The kind of water that people travel hundreds of miles to bathe in.

Now, with no more need to wait for the rainy season to begin, Felipe and his helpers moved into high gear and, in time, completed their project -- a beautiful church, hand-built, a testament to the power of love, faith, collaboration, and fearless dedication.

Imagine, if you will, the look on the faces of the priests who had originally sent Felipe into the wilderness, when they joined him, one fine Spring Day, on his cross-carrying walk. There, rising up from the ground in the distance, rose the church now known as the Sanctuary of Atotonilco -- the church Felipe had painstakingly built with his own two hands and the help of others drawn to his mission -- a glorious testament to faith and virtue, built one brick at a time, in service to God and the transformative power of love.

Today, the Sanctuary of Atotonilco is a World Heritage site, a sacred destination for as many as 5,000 people per week who come to pray and do penance. And some of these pilgrims, the lucky ones, get to listen to Carlos the Tour Guide tell the story of the priest who found God by leaving his place of worship each day, cross on his back, to build his own.

FOR YOUR REFLECTION: What does it mean to be "man of God" or a "woman of God?" Who knows? Different people will answer the question in different ways. But one thing everyone can agree on is the power of STORY to provide the kind of pregnant pause to even consider the question in the first place.

The story of Felipe, I am sure, has gone through hundreds of changes since the first time it was told -- each storyteller embellishing it in their own way. What I can say, with great certainty, however, is that the version Carlos told me is not exactly the one I have just told. And if you decide to retell this tale, it will, undoubtedly, change again. So be it. Such is life. The facts and details of the story may change, but the wisdom embedded within it will remain the same -- how a single, inspired human being can make a profound difference... how love, faith, and perseverance are three of the most powerful forces in the world... and how surrendering to one's true purpose can work miracles against all odds.

Jesus Photo by Fatih Ozdemir on Unsplash
Hands Praying Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

The Sanctuary of Atotinilco
Excerpted from this book
The author

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:46 PM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2019
Sneak Preview of Lap of Honour!

Tim Hain is pioneering new ground, folks, with his forthcoming book, Lap of Honour, telling a fascinating story in a fascinating way. Fifty-six years in the making! Talk about perseverance! Stay tuned!

Tim (almost) on the X-Factor
More about Tim here

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

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.

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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.
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