Storytelling at Work
June 23, 2019
THE POWER OF SIMPLY LISTENING

Listening6.jpg

"Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would have rather talked." -- Mark Twain

"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply." -- Stephen R. Covey

"The first duty of love is to listen." -- Paul Tillich

"When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new." -- Dalai Lama

"The word listen contains the same letters as the word silent." -- Alfred Brendel

"When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen." -- Ernest Hemingway

"There is a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak." -- Simon Sinek

"Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand." -- Karl A. Menniger

"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." -- Winston Churchill

Listening is a superpower2.jpg

"We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less." -- Diogenes

"The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said." -- Peter Drucker

"Most of the successful people I've known are the ones who do more listening than talking." -- Bernard M. Baruch

"There's a lot of difference between listening and hearing." -- G.K. Chesterton

"You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time." -- M. Scott Peck

"For a word to be spoken, there must be silence. Before, and after." -- Ursula K. Le Guin

"It takes two to speak the truth -- one to speak and another to hear."
-- Henry David Thoreau

"The art of conversation lies in listening." -- Malcolm Forbes

"Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don't have to do anything else. We don't have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen." -- Margaret Wheatley

"So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it." -- Krishnamurti

"If speaking is silver, then listening is gold." -- Turkish proverb

"There is a voice that doesn't use words. Listen." -- Rumi

"Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk." -- Doug Larson

"When a woman is speaking to you, listen to what she says with her eyes." -- Victor Hugo

"Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don't believe is right." -- Jane Goodall

"If you want to be listened to, you should put in time listening." -- Marge Piercy

"When listening to another person, don't just listen with your mind, listen with your whole body. You are giving the other person space -- space to be. It is the most precious gift you can give." -- Eckhart Tolle

"Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories. Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them. I suppose it's an early form of participation in what goes on. Listening children know stories are there. When their elders sit and begin, children are just waiting and hoping for one to come out, like a mouse from its hole." -- Marge Piercy

"Listening is an act of love." -- David Isay

"And so I had him thinking of me as a good conversationalist when, in reality, I had been merely a good listener and had encouraged him to talk." -- Dale Carnegie

"To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation." -- Francois de La Rochefoucauld

"Man's inability to communicate is a result of his failure to listen effectively." -- Carl Rogers

"There is a difference between truly listening and waiting for your turn to talk." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens." -- Jimi Hendrix

Illustration: Gapingvoid
Idea Champions
Our clients
What they say

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:06 PM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2019
TELLING SOULFUL STORIES with OIL PASTELS

Most people, when they hear the word "storytelling" think words. But not all stories are told in words. Some are told in pictures -- which is why the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words," is so popular. If you are looking to tell a story in pictures or gift someone with a beautiful oil pastel, consider the work of Evelyne Pouget, Parisian artist and peace activist, now living in San Miguel de Allende. Evelyne is available for commission portraits -- people or pets. Interested? Contact her agent here: mitch@ideachampions.com

29.jpg

new110.jpg

evelynepouget-28.jpg

Mitch pastel 2.jpg

cat.jpg

EvelynePouget.com
PougetDigital.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:07 PM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2019
THE HEART OF DOWNSIZING

Man jumping for joy2.jpg

Next week I am submitting a treatment for my new book on downsizing to a very savvy agent in NYC and am asking for YOUR input if you have 5 minutes and some curiosity.

My book will not merely be a common sense guide to downsizing, as there are quite a few good books on that topic already. My book will be more about the "inner experience" and what there is to learn about life and ourselves from the effort.

Below is a list of possible chapters for the book. I'd love your input. Do any of these sing to you? Are there any other chapters you would like me to include?

Child Silent shhh2.jpg

1. CONSUMERISM: I Have, Therefore I Am

2. IMPERMANENCE: All Things Must Pass

3. LETTING GO: The Art of Lightening Your Load

4. VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY: When Less Is More

5. GIFTING: Nothing is Created or Destroyed, Only Transformed

6. DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS: How to Begin

7. NEED VS. WANT: Getting Down to the Basics

8. THE YOGA OF DOWNSIZING: Shedding Light on Your Self

9. ONE DOOR CLOSES, ANOTHER OPENS: Creating the Next Chapter of Your Life

10. CHOOSING: Toss, Sell, Give, Keep, or Store?

11. KEEPING THE ELATION IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP: How to Keep Your Marriage Together When Letting Go of Stuff

12. DOWNSIZING WISDOM OF THE AGES: What the Great Spiritual Traditions Have to Say the Material World

13. YOUR DOWNSIZING GAME PLAN: 10 Simple Steps to Moving On With Your life

Bottom line, I see this book as a way to talk about some pretty BIG LIFE PRINCIPLES we all need to eventually deal with -- and I want to do so in a way that is accessible, entertaining, and meaningful to people. "Downsizing" merely becomes the catalyst for us to look into the mirror of our lives (not to mention our basement, garage, and closets).

One of my goals is to get a sizable advance, so I can let go of my various day job projects and really focus on the writing. Towards that end, I will be launching a GoFundMe campaign soon. I will post that link here in the hopes that you will be willing and able to become part of my grassroots effort to fund the writing and marketing of the book. It takes a village.

The working title of the book? THE HEART OF DOWNSIZING: When It's Time to Lighten Your Load.

NOTE: The book will also include short, real-life stories from my life to further paint the picture. Here's an example.

MitchDitkoff.com
Writing the next story of your life

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2019
The Three Faces of God

trimurthis.jpg

When my mother and father, Sylvia and Barney, decided to sell their house on Long Island -- the one I grew up in -- and move to Florida, they invited my sister and me to take anything we wanted before they made their big move to West Palm Beach.

My sister, five years older and a mother of three, showed up with an 18-foot U-Haul truck. I showed up with a Volkswagen.

As I walked from room to room, exploring my choices, it soon became clear to me there was nothing I wanted. Not the blender. Not the toaster. Not the TV. Nothing. And so I spent the rest of the day, helping my sister carry out stuff to the truck.

I'm not exactly sure how long it took us to load it up, but by the time the last item was in -- a red, plastic silverware tray -- the sun was going down.

But I didn't leave empty-handed. I didn't. There was ONE thing my parents had that I wanted -- most definitely -- a wood carving they'd bought in Thailand on one of their rare vacations. It was hanging on the wall right behind the card table where my mother played canasta once a month with her four best friends -- Shirley, Blanche, Selma, and Ellie, each one of them a second mother to me.

Sprayed a nice shade of gold, the wood carving featured what spiritually-minded people from the East believed to be the three forms of God -- Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva -- the Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer of all things. Brahma, on the left, was praying. Vishnu, in the middle was dancing. And Shiva, on the right, looked as if he was just about to kick somebody's ass.

I found it astounding that my parents, they of the bagel and lox school of Judaism, chose to hang this particular piece of art in such a featured place in their home. Neither of them had any interest, whatsoever, in Eastern cosmology. They read the Sunday New York Times, not the Bhagavad Gita. "Om" was a misspelling to them. And their favorite mantra for me? "As long as she's Jewish" -- referring, of course, to their wishes for me, as the only son and carrier of the family name, to never marry outside the religion. For my mother and father to have placed a wood carving of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva just above the canasta table made absolutely no sense to me. Zero. Zippo. Zilch. But there it was in all its ancient glory. Noble. Pristine. Powerful. And calling to me on this most auspicious day of downsizing.

"Hey, Ma," I said. "Can I have the woodcarving?" pointing to the wall.

"THAT?" she replied. "That's all you want? That?"

"Yup. That's all I want."

My mother shrugged and mumbled something in Yiddish as I reached up and removed the piece from the wall, then positioned it carefully, in my suitcase, in between my pajamas and favorite t-shirt.

When I got back to Denver, the first thing I did was hang it in my living room just above my record player. Every time I left my bedroom and headed towards the kitchen, it was the first thing I would see.

A month later, I got word that a fundraising campaign had been launched to help my teacher, Prem Rawat, get his message of peace out into the world -- an effort I very much wanted to be part of. The only problem? Unemployed, I had no money to give. That's when I began cruising my apartment in search of "items of worth" to sell.

The first thing that caught my eye was my record collection which, I reasoned, might fetch about $200. Bye bye Otis Redding! Bye bye Rolling Stones! Bye bye Dave Brubeck! But I wanted to give more than that, so I kept on cruising. That's when it dawned on me that my most valuable possession was my newly acquired woodcarving. Clearly, it was time to let it go, so I reached up, removed it from the wall, and made my way to the finest antiques shop in town where I hoped to sell it on consignment. The owner, a nice Jewish man, loved it, and told me it would fetch a "pretty penny". Yes, he would get his commission, but I would get the rest -- probably, I figured, $500 at least. Hooray! Yippee! Yahoo! Let's hear it for Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva! Let's hear it for Sylvia and Barney!

A week passed. Then a second. Then a third. And a fourth. Every time I called the owner of the antiques shop he gave me the same response. No one was interested in buying my woodcarving. Did they admire it? Yes. But no one wanted to buy it. No one, he explained, even tried to bargain. Apparently, there wasn't a single person in the Mile High City of Denver who had room for Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva in their living room -- so I returned to the antiques store and drove it back to my apartment, hanging it, once again, over my record player (though, now, my albums, were gone.)

Part of me was glad it didn't sell. Part of me was sad. And part of me felt bad -- aware that my deep-seated need to GIVE SOMETHING of value to my Master did not bear fruit.

It was precisely at this moment that I had a revelation. "Why not give it to Prem? Why not give it to the one has given me everything? Nobody ELSE liked it. Maybe HE will!"

So I asked a carpenter friend of mine to make a box for it, asked another friend to gift wrap it, and gave it to a third friend, a gardener at Prem's residence, to hand-deliver it later that day.

A week passed. Then another. And another. And another, yet. I got no response. Absolutely none. It felt like the antiques consignment store saga all over again. Unwanted. No one wanted what I had to offer. Not even my own Guru.

And then, in the fifth week of this outtake from my own Mahabhrarata, I got a call from the gardener friend of mine who'd hand-delivered the woodcarving a few weeks ago. Prem, he explained, after a month in Denver, had traveled back to his home in Malibu. A few days later he called the Denver residence and requested that someone ship him the woodcarving immediately. Which they did.

As the story was told to me, he hung it in a place of honor in his living room.

PremRawat.com
TimelessToday
TPRF.org

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:25 AM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2019
Want to Facilitate Wisdom Circles in Your Living Room?

Gibran5.jpg

If you are a lover of storytelling, wisdom, inspiration, and community, this blog post is for you.

I am gearing up to teach people, online, how to facilitate Wisdom Circles in their living rooms -- small group storytelling gatherings that require just the right person to facilitate the process.

It's simple to do, but not always easy. That's why I'm developing a 90-minute webinar to teach people how to do it -- so transformational storytelling can continue to take root all over the world.

If you are interested in participating, leave you name below or send me an email (mitch@ideachampions.com) and I will send you more info when I have it. Also, let me know what you think a fair price would be for the webinar -- what YOU would be willing to pay for a 90-minute session that would teach you everything you need to know to do these in your home, community, or organization.

My role, after the webinar, would be to find some simple ways to stay in touch with you and the other graduates so everyone has the support they need to continue developing their Wisdom Circle facilitation chops.

What people are saying about Wisdom Circles

Storytelling for the Revolution
What people are saying about my book
The kind of stories people want to tell and listen to

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:37 PM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2019
Woodstock Wisdom Circles

Speak up3.jpg

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.

If you have not heard of Wisdom Circles, you are in good company because they are a new phenomenon in Woodstock. Created and facilitated by Mitch Ditkoff, organizational change agent, and author of Storytelling at Work, and Storytelling for the Revolution, Wisdom Circles are a fascinating, new way to build community, elevate the conversation, and transmit wisdom one story at a time.

Bottom line, they are an opportunity for a small group of open-minded people (up to 12) to come together for an engaging evening of storytelling -- each person getting a chance to share at least one meaningful, memorable story from their own life and have an all-too-rare opportunity to have other people respond with heart and soul.

Here's what a sampling of Wisdom Circle participants have said about their experience of it.

BI-WEEKLY WISDOM CIRCLES IN WOODSTOCK: 7:00 -- 9:30 pm

July 17
July 31

To register: Email mitch@ideachampions.com (with "Wisdom Circles" in the subject line)

Fee: $15

After I receive your request, I will email you the address and the topics for the evening you have selected.

Ruykeser4.jpg

Telling3.jpg

Rush6.jpg

You have a story7.jpg

MitchDitkoff.com
Wisdom Circle Testimonials
Storytelling for the Revolution
What people are saying about my new book

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:28 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.

Order the book:

MitchDitkoff.com
Click here for the simplest, most direct way, to learn more about Idea Champions' semi-fearless leader, Mitch Ditkoff. Info on his keynotes, workshops, conferences, and more.
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.
Top 5 Speaker
Mitch Ditkoff, the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions, has recently been voted a top 5 speaker in the field of innovation and creativity by Speakers Platform, a leading speaker's bureau.
Authorized Reseller Logo – GoLeanSixSigma.com
Workshops & Trainings
Highly engaging learning experiences that increase each participant's ability to become a creative force for positive change
Brainstorm Facilitation
High impact certification training that teaches committed change agents how to lead groundbreaking ideation sessions
Cultivating Innovation
Your "best and brightest" are the future leaders of your company, but unless they know how to foster a culture of innovation, their impact will be limited. A one-day workshop with us is all they need to begin this journey.
Our Blog Cabin
Our Heart of Innovation blog is a daily destination for movers and shakers everywhere — gleefully produced by our President, Mitch Ditkoff, voted "best innovation blogger in the world" two years running.
Team Innovation
Innovation is a team sport. Brilliant ideas go nowhere unless your people are aligned, collaborative, and team-oriented. That doesn't happen automatically, however. It takes intention, clarity, selflessness, and a new way of operating.
Awake at the Wheel, Book about big ideas If you're looking for a powerful way to jump start innovation and get your creative juices flowing, Awake at the Wheel is for you. Written by Mitch Ditkoff, Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions.
Face the Music Blues Band The world's first interactive business blues band. A great way to help your workforce go beyond complaint.

"In tune with corporate America." — CNN
© IDEA CHAMPIONS