Storytelling at Work
March 29, 2020
ANNOUNCING: Free Online Wisdom (storytelling) Circles

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Sitting here in my self-isolated, social-distanced bedroom in Epping, Australia, I am asking myself (like a lot of people I know), "how can I be of service" during these highly challenging Coronavirus times.

One thing I can do is host a series of online Wisdom Circles -- a simple way for people to share their meaningful, memorable, life-affirming stories with each other.

For the past three years, I've been leading face-to-face Wisdom Circles in Mexico, Australia, and the United States. Response has been very positive. Now the time has come to go virtual, at least until social distancing comes to an end.

Each Wisdom Circle will be 90 minutes long, via ZOOM. And for now, they are free.

If you want to participate, send me an email (mitch@ideachampions.com) and I will forward you the schedule and the storytelling themes for the evening.

What stories will you tell today?
You have wisdom to share and it is hiding in your stories
My recent book on storytelling

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:26 PM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2020
The Upside of Down Under Interfaith Wisdom Circles

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This just in from Margaret Hartley, a deeply dedicated member of the Whittlesea Interfaith Network, 36 km outside of Melbourne, Australia. Margaret was one of eight members of WIN who participated in the March 16th Wisdom Circle hosted by Al Siraat College and faciliated by yours truly.

"The Interfaith Wisdom Circle was transformative. Although we were from different faiths, I found it easy to open up and tell a personal story to the group, some of whom I had not met before. Through the sharing of stories we formed strong connections of trust and mutual understanding. The experience of the Wisdom Circle has demonstrated to me the power of sharing stories and the wisdom that is latent within each of us and which can be unlocked in this supportive environment."

What others are saying about Wisdom Circles
Storytelling as nest and home base
Learn to facilitate Wisdom Circles
Storytelling for the Revolution

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

March 01, 2020
What Is a Wisdom Circle?

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A Wisdom Circle is a lightly facilitated, personal storytelling gathering -- a chance for 3-12 people, in a relaxed setting, to share their meaningful, memorable, real-life stories with each other -- usually focusing on a few pre-selected themes. Storytelling is voluntary. Some participants may choose to tell one or more stories. Others, may simply listen and get inspired. There are many benefits to a Wisdom Circle:

-- Builds connection and community
-- Increases empathy, confidence, and self-awareness
-- Provides an engaging forum for self-expression
-- Inspires, awakens, empowers, and energizes
-- Transmits life-enhancing insight and wisdom
-- Accelerates positive behavior change

A Wisdom Circle is not a class, seminar, workshop, or lecture. It's more participatory than any of those formats -- a way for people to share their own life-learnings with each other, through the medium of story, in a supportive, non-judgmental environment. Bottom line, it's a no-pressure get together where real listening happens and everyone has an opportunity to dive deeper into what life is really all about.

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Testimonials
You have wisdom to share
What a story is not
Storytelling for the Revolution
Storytelling at Work

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How I connected with an Islamic school in Australia
You are a universe of stories
Storytelling as nest, home base, and safe haven
Why human beings tell stories
Ten reasons why people don't tell their stories

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:56 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2020
Learn to Facilitate Wisdom Circles

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If you are a big fan of storytelling and the positive impact it can have on human beings, this blog post is for you -- especially if you want to learn how to facilitate Wisdom (storytelling) Circles. Beginning in May, I will be teaching people, online, how to facilitate Wisdom Circles in their own homes, communities, and organizations. Here's what it includes:

1. TWO-HOUR ONLINE TRAINING: An overview of everything you need to know in order to masterfully facilitate Wisdom Circles. (I've distilled down 30 years of my facilitation experience (with these clients) and three years of facilitating Wisdom Circles in the US, Mexico, and Australia. Testimonials.

2. PDF OF THE TRAINING SLIDE DECK: Within 24 hours after the training, you will receive a PDF of the training slide deck. A great refresher and reminder.

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3. THE WISDOM CIRCLE FACILITATION GUIDEBOOK: A 35-page PDF that elaborates on all the content covered in the training and a whole lot more. Includes a wide variety of tips, guidelines, checklists, tutorials, and resources.

4. TWO KINDLE DOWNLOADS: My two books on storytelling: Storytelling for the Revolution and Storytelling at Work. Includes 78 teaching stories and 140 pages on how to become a transformational storyteller.

5. THREE-MONTH REALITY CHECK: A 60-minute, online, follow-up session -- a chance to share your best practices and lessons learned with other graduates, ask questions, and dive deeper into what it takes to become a masterful Wisdom Circle facilitator.

6. MEMBERSHIP IN THE WISDOM CIRCLE FACILIATORS FACEBOOK GROUP: An engaging, online forum to learn from other Wisdom Circle facilitators and continue to develop yourself as a transformational storyteller.

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7. MICRO-LEARNING FOR STORYTELLERS: Access to 52 videos, articles, and tutorials on the art and science of storytelling. Includes the work of Wisdom Circle Founder, Mitch Ditkoff, and other thought leaders in the field of storytelling.

8. 40% DISCOUNT COUPON FOR YOU TO GIFT ONE FRIEND: Upon completion of the training, the first person you refer to the training will receive a 40% discount.

9. EMAIL COACHING: An hour's worth of one-on-one email exchanges with Wisdom Circle Founder, Mitch Ditkoff. A simple way to get your questions answered and receive some one-on-one support.

10. MARKETING SUPPORT: A variety of templates, marketing copy, and links to help you promote your upcoming Wisdom Circles.

A WORD ABOUT THE TRAINING FEE: Some people interested in the Wisdom Circle Facilitator Training have financial constraints. I totally get it. They assume the $239 fee is too rich for their blood. This assumption, however, may be just a story they are telling themselves -- especially since the $239 fee can be recouped within the first month after the training.

Here's the math: If you charge $15 per person and average eight people per Wisdom Circle, you will earn $120 for each Wisdom Circle you facilitate, thereby recouping the cost of the training after your second Wisdom Circle. Whoo hoo!

FOR MORE INFO or to ENROLL: mitch@ideachampions.com

What Actually Happens in a Wisdom Circle
You Have Wisdom to Share
Why Human Beings Tell Stories
The Art of Unpacking Stories
Storytelling as a Nest and Home Base

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FOR MORE INFO or to ENROLL: mitch@ideachampions.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

February 02, 2020
Storytelling as Nest, Home Base, Safe Haven, and the Fire Around Which We Warm Ourselves

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Today, in the shower, shampoo in both my eyes, I had an epiphany or, if not an epiphany, an insight, aha, or revelation. Whatever you call what I had, something clicked. In a flash, I understood what very well might be THE reason why people love storytelling and, more specifically, why they love coming to Wisdom Circles.

And when I say "people", I am referring to a mixed bag of humanity, represented by the following professions: stone mason, nurse, insurance agent, poet, hypnotherapist, elementary school teacher, artist, Jungian analyst, cantor, organizational consultant, musician, writer, trauma therapist, social activist, healer, hospice worker, body worker, aromatherapist, entrepreneur, dentist, conference organizer, school principal, administrator, voice teacher, interfaith minister, community engagement facilitator, computer programmer, college student, medical equipment manufacturer, tarot reader, interior designer, sound technician, palm reader, financial advisor, website designer, psychic, and substance abuse counselor just to name a few.

The common denominator? Every person who's attended a Wisdom Circle has had the same basic aspiration -- to unplug from the hustle and bustle of their lives, connect with others, communicate something meaningful within themselves, and experience the best of who they are through the medium of story.

With absolutely no pressure, no hassle, and no need to perform.

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Mark Twain probably said it best, "If you speak the truth, you don't have to remember a thing."

And that, my friends, is one of the beautiful things about a Wisdom Circle. Truth is spoken there. But not the kind of "truth" that requires religiosity, expertise, or self-promotion. No. The truth spoken at a Wisdom Circle is non-denominational, free flowing, and naturally abiding in the stories that are told.

What actually happens in a Wisdom Circle?
Learn to facilitate Wisdom Circles
MitchDitkoff.com

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:43 PM | Comments (0)

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.

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.

WOODSTOCK WISDOM CIRCLES: 7:00 -- 9:15 pm

Friday, January 31
Friday, April 3
Friday, April 17

What actually happens in a Wisdom Circle?

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(s) you have selected.

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MitchDitkoff.com
Wisdom Circle Testimonials
Storytelling for the Revolution
What people are saying about my new book
You have wisdom to share

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:28 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, heal, inspire 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 two hours. That's it. Two hours.

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.

Towards that end, I have distilled down everything I know about facilitating Wisdom Circles and will be soon be sharing it, once a month, with the rest of the known universe. Each participant will also receive (at no extra charge) a link to my "Micro-Learning for Storytellers" service -- a self-study curriculum that includes 52 videos, articles, and stories on the art and science of storytelling and group facilitation. Whoo hoo!

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The date of the upcoming online training? TBD. Probably in May. The price? I'm still figuring that out, but know this -- it is going to be affordable. (PS: You can earn back the cost of the training with the first two Wisdom Circles you facilitate).

If you want me to keep you in the loop, email mitch@ideachampions.com and I will keep you posted.

MORE ABOUT WISDOM CIRCLES and STORYTELLING
What people are saying about Wisdom Circles
What happens in a Wisdom Circle?
Why We Tell Stories
Ten Reasons Why People Don't Tell Their Stories
My Vision of a Storytelling Revolution
Storytelling for the Revolution
Storytelling at Work
You Have Wisdom to Share

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Painting for Rukeyser quote: Lisa Dietrich

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.

To kick off the storytelling part of the evening, I tell a brief story (5 minutes or less) and invite everyone in the circle to "unpack" it -- either asking me questions about the story, asking for further elaboration, or reflecting on how the meaning/message of the story relates to their own life. In effect, each story told becomes a catalyst for insight, reflection, and positive change.

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Then, the floor is open for the next person to tell their story and for the rest of us to "unpack" it. And so on, for the next two hours or so. Storytelling is voluntary. Some people prefer just to listen and reflect on other people's stories. Some people may end up telling more than one story. The process is very organic.

Some evenings, depending on the number of participants (never more than 12), I may choose to divide the group into smaller groups so more people get a chance to share their stories.

At the end of the evening, the group gets a chance to reflect on some of the key themes of the evening and how those themes relate to their current life challenges/opportunities.

A Wisdom Circle is not a class, seminar, class, therapy session, or lecture. It is a chance for people to share their meaningful, memorable stories with each other in a safe, engaging, and non-judgmental environment. Bottom line, it's a fun, uplifting, insight-invoking evening where real listening happens and everyone has an inspired opportunity to learn from their own and other people's life experiences.

You have wisdom to share
What a story is not
Wisdom Circle ground rules
Testimonials
Storytelling for the Revolution
Storytelling at Work
Illustration: gapingvoid

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

November 15, 2019
The Wisdom Circles of San Miguel

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San Miguel de Allende is famous for a lot of things -- its diverse culture, colonial architecture, hot springs, cobblestone streets, affordable living, great restaurants, town square, benevolent people, and Writer's Conference, 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 fairly new phenomenon in San Miguel. Created by Mitch Ditkoff, organizational change agent, and author of Storytelling at Work, and Storytelling for the Revolution, Wisdom Circles are a fascinating way to build community, inspire, elevate the conversation, and transmit wisdom one story at a time.

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The premise of a Wisdom Circle is a simple one: inside of each and every one of us is a vast storehouse of meaningful experience, insight, and wisdom. What's missing, all too often, however, is the opportunity to share this good stuff with people who are in the right place to listen and respond.

That's what happens in a Wisdom Circle.

A small group of people (8-12) get together for two hours at a time, in a relaxed, skillfully facilitated forum (usually in someone's home), to share their stories with each other. Participation is voluntary. Some people are inspired to share their stories. Others are content simply to listen. Both are fine. No pressure. No sweat. No problema. Just good energy.

And while participants in a Wisdom Circle may not necessarily perceive themselves to be sages, wizards, or keepers of wisdom, the stories they tell prove otherwise -- especially when their stories are "unpacked" for meaning and resonance by the other people in the circle.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE:

February 5: (7:00 -- 9:15 pm, address to be announced)
February 13: (5:00 -- 7:15 pm El Arbol de la Vida)

COST: 300 pesos

TO REGISTER: mitch@ideachampions.com (no walk-ins)

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Digital painting: PougetDigital
What people are saying about Wisdom Circles
Wisdom Circle ground rules
Opening illustration : PougetDigital
THE FACILITATOR: Mitch Ditkoff

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:22 PM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2019
What People Are Saying About the Impact of Wisdom Circles

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Wisdom Circles are enjoyable, lightly-facilitated, two-hour gatherings of 6-12 people sharing meaningful, personal stories with each other -- stories that convey insight, humanity, lessons learned, and memorable moments of truth. What follows are a sampling of testimonials from people who have attended Wisdom Circles in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and Woodstock, NY.

"Wisdom Circles are a microcosm of how I hope society, at large, might one day function -- truly seeing those around us, valuing them, and recognizing we are on a journey together in our shared humanity." -- Karen Kinney

"I always leave a Wisdom Circle full of new perspective, insight, and feeling -- a deeper connection to my fellow storytellers and story listeners, but most importantly, a refreshed relationship to my own life path and deeper connection to my values, voice and truth." -- Akka B.

"At the closing of the Wisdom circle, I felt I had been given the opportunity to glance at the human soul." -- Carole Clement

"There is no doubt in my mind that Wisdom Circles are a service of enormous value to the community. There is indeed great wisdom in exploring our own stories; in speaking them, sharing them, and allowing them to be witnessed." -- Carlos Chancellor

"The experience gave me a new insight that stunned me, or really, it was an old insight that I had forgotten about and was deeply happy to have back." -- Susan Page

"I had no idea that someone else's experience told in a story could affect me so deeply and would have an impact on my future thoughts." -- Robyn Johnson

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"I found that it was not only an enriching experience, but also something I've begun to implement in my day-to-day life." -- Jon Jeffers

"The Wisdom Circle was not only stimulating, but conjured up stories of my own that I hadn't remembered until my memory was stirred by the others in the circle. A great evening of gratitude and mutual appreciation -- a place to be real." -- Sher Davidson

"The whole experience renewed my interest in listening to, writing, and telling stories." -- Jean Paul Peretz

"How freeing the Wisdom Circle was for me! I could allow myself to find the tale that wanted telling and feel safe to tell it. Afterwards I felt a sense of relief and freedom. I felt seen and heard without judgment." -- Ellen Goldberg

"Sharing our stories with one another is a beautiful way that humans support, teach, and enrich one another." -- Diana Kuper

"I found it immensely moving to listen to people's core narratives. It deepened my appreciation of who they are and what their inner life looks like." -- Ruth Garbus

"Two hours into the Wisdom Circle I felt like I had six new friends. It's an inspiring environment that naturally evokes the sharing of stories." -- Sharon Jeffers

"Wisdom Circles are SO MUCH FUN. Under the facilitator's alchemical guidance, each and every storytelling gathering is a safe, encouraging, inspiring, profound, and creative opportunity to more deeply connect with myself and others." -- Lynda Carre

"A wonderful evening of storytelling and enlightenment. Sharing insights and bringing people together made it a memorable evening." -- Jean Buchalter

"The Wisdom Storytelling Circle is a simple, alive form that brought forth my deep narratives." -- Barbara Bash

"Participating in a Wisdom Circle is uplifting and empowering -- bringing forth empathy, trust, intimacy, sharing, learning, real listening, community building, and digging into one's own life. It is so enriching to mind and soul." -- Eldad Benary

"In our very busy lives, filled with all of the calamitous news, Wisdom Circles are a serene way to escape, for a few hours, back to oneself." -- Jan Buchalter

"Participating in a Wisdom Circle was a very freeing experience. It created a bond between participants that opened the door to understanding others by seeing things through their eyes." -- Dr. Alan Pizer

"I heard amazing and inspiring stories from each person at the Wisdom Circle and felt spiritually and emotionally enriched afterward." -- Corinne Mol

"The Wisdom Circle is the place to be. If you're looking for great energy, intelligent, creative people, lots of laughter and loving togetherness, this is the place for you. Don't miss it. It is life changing." -- Nathan Brenowitz

"Wisdom circles are transformative. This is what my life has been sorely lacking for a very long time. Through the process of storytelling, we each delve into aspects of our lives that are not generally discussed or deeply considered. The questions and discussions that follow each story inspire the storyteller and other group members to tap into their own wisdom, with surprisingly wonderful results." - Alan Powitz

"Upon meeting the other Wisdom Circle participants, I felt that I was reconnecting with people I had met before. Sharing and hearing our stories brought tears to my eyes and laughter from my heart." - Fred Szczesiul

"My first Wisdom Circle was a very personal, energetic, intimate experience. I enjoyed meaningful stories in a small group and received validation that we're all connected and can see the me in all of us. And I was 5,000 miles away in the middle of the Pacific Ocean! Instant connection without visual distraction on a cellular level." - Casey Holt

"There is something truly powerful about sitting in a circle together and listening deeply to each others personal experiences. It creates a visceral experience of true belonging." -- Howard Moody

"It was a privilege and pleasure to be included in the Wisdom Circle for the Whittlesea Interfaith Network. The stories shared triggered deep reflection, awakening similar memories of like events that led to a connection of our shared humanity across so many religions and cultural linguistic divides. An uplifting experience it was, leaving all of us with life lessons in just two short hours. God Bless!" -- Nathan Elijah

"The Interfaith Wisdom Circle was transformative. Although we were from different faiths, I found it easy to open up and tell a personal story to the group, some of whom I had not met before. Through the sharing of stories we formed strong connections of trust and mutual understanding. The experience of the Wisdom Circle has demonstrated to me the power of sharing stories and the wisdom that is latent within each of us and which can be unlocked in this supportive environment."-- Margaret Hartley

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You have wisdom to share and it is hiding in your stories
Wisdom Circle facilitator training
Storytelling for the Revolution
Storytelling at Work
MitchDitkoff

Illustration: gapingvoid

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2019
What People Say About Their Experience of Wisdom Circles

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Wisdom Circles are enjoyable, lightly-facilitated, two-hour gatherings of 6-12 people sharing meaningful, personal stories with each other -- stories that convey insights, humanity, lessons learned, and memorable moments of truth. What follows are a sampling of testimonials from some of the people who have recently attended Wisdom Circles in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and Woodstock, NY.

"I didn't know what to expect when I attended my first Wisdom Circle; I had brought pen and paper, prepared for note taking and homework. Half way through the evening I found myself spell bound by the spinning of tales and stories, notebook forgotten. What if, in every day life, we paid attention to the stories of our peers with the same focus and respect? What would happen if we gave a child, a friend or and spouse 10 minutes of undivided, uninterrupted attention? At the closing of the Wisdom circle that night, I felt that I had been given the opportunity to glance at the human soul." -- Carole Clement

"Wisdom Circles make space for the human spirit by creating space for shared human experience. How unusual it is in these modern times to gather in a circle of friends and strangers and have the opportunity to share personal stories of growth and transformation in an intimate, safe and supportive space. The format is simple, but the impact profound. I always leave full of new perspective, insight, and feeling -- a deeper connection to my fellow storytellers and story listeners, but most importantly, a refreshed relationship to my own life path and deeper connection to my values, voice and truth." -- Akka B.

"I attended a Wisdom Circle for the first time last night, and left feeling uplifted, connected, and heard. Sitting together in community, listening to others' stories and unique perspectives on life, and bearing witness to one another's experiences is not only powerful, but healing. These circles are a microcosm of how I hope society at large might one day function -- truly seeing those around us, valuing them, and recognizing we are on a journey together in our shared humanity." - Karen Kinney

"There is no doubt in my mind that Wisdom Circles are a service of enormous value to the community. There is indeed great wisdom in exploring our own stories; in speaking them, sharing them and allowing them to be witnessed. The feedback, insights and questions from Mitch and the other participants open a door for us to reconsider from different perspectives that which we too often have only seen from one angle for too long, perhaps causing an inflexibility in our attachment to our story. It is quite possible to hold something too dear and too tightly; to offer that up to a group is to open to a larger picture and to yield to the process of letting go. I highly recommend the Wisdom Circle to anybody who feels that they have a story to tell, especially if they feel that they don't." -- Carlos F. Chancellor

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"My Wisdom Circle evening was a heartwarming event. The remarkable stories we heard created an instant community of trust and empathy. I felt embraced by everyone. I went with one story to share in mind, but the stories others told tapped into a very different place in me, and a story that surprised me emerged from me. The experience gave me a new insight that stunned me, or really, it was an old insight that I had forgotten about and was deeply happy to have back. The Circle was a beautiful, totally engaging evening." -- Susan Page

"As a psychotherapist, I am, in a way, a professional listener. I encourage people to tell their stories, but no one is necessarily encouraging me to share mine. The Wisdom Circle was a unique experience. We came together as a community of supportive listeners, each person encouraged to share a story from their deepest heart. With no topic taboo, and no judgments, I did not need to fear the effect of my story on the listeners. There was an atmosphere of openness and safety in the room. How freeing this was for me. I could allow myself to find the tale that wanted telling and feel safe to tell it. Afterwards I felt a sense of relief and freedom. I felt seen and heard without judgment. This was not group therapy. This was community, each person listening deeply, listening with the third ear, which is the heart." -- Ellen Goldberg

"I went to my first Wisdom Circle with some interest, but as the first session unfolded, my interest piqued. I am hooked with the experiences that I am receiving in The Wisdom Circle. I find that days after I leave The Wisdom Circle I am still reflecting on the stories told. I had no idea that someone else's experience told in a story could affect me so deeply and would have an impact on my future thoughts. Mitch is interested and caring in his duties as the mediator. I love going and look forward to the experience with great anticipation." - Robyn Johnson

"One of the biggest takeaways I had from the Wisdom Circle was the importance of listening. I couldn't help but notice how my mind was constantly wanting to interject during other people's stories. Whether it was a joke, a comment of acknowledgment, or even just wanting to say 'yeah sure'. But through the process of listening to each person's story, really paying attention, and clearly hearing what it was that they had to say, I found that it was not only an enriching experience, but also something I've begun to implement in my day-to-day life." - Jon Jeffers

"I went to my first Wisdom Circle last week. It was wonderful. The space was loving and safe, with wonderful people, none of whom I had met before, but two hours later felt like I had six new friends. It's an inspiring environment that naturally evokes the sharing of stories. I'm going again." - Sharon Jeffers

"The Wisdom Circle evening I attended was not only stimulating, but conjured up stories of my own I hadn't even remembered, until my memory was stirred by the others in the circle. The facilitator made us feel safe and appreciated in sharing our stories and created an evening of ambiance, gratitude and mutual appreciation -- a place to be real.' -- Sher Davidson

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"The whole experience renewed my interest in listening to, writing, and telling stories." -- Jean Paul Peretz

"Sharing our stories with one another is a beautiful way that humans support and teach and enrich one another. It is also a way to build community. Most of all, in hearing one another's stories we are aware of our shared, flawed, exquisite humanity." -- Diana Kuper

"I found it immensely moving to listen to people's core narratives at the Wisdom Circles I have attended. It deepens my appreciation of who they are and what their inner life looks like." -- Ruth Garbus

"Wisdom Circles are SO MUCH FUN. Under the facilitator's alchemical guidance, each and every storytelling gathering is a safe, encouraging, inspiring, profound, and creative opportunity to more deeply connect with myself and others." -- Lynda Carre

"I was invited to to attend a Wisdom Circle with my daughter and we spent a wonderful evening of storytelling and enlightenment. Sharing insights and bringing people together made it a memorable evening." -- Jean Buchalter

"The Wisdom Storytelling Circle is a simple, alive form that brought forth my deep narratives. Working within a theme, focused and strengthened my voice. Knowing that the facilitator was guiding the time, I relaxed, took in other's offerings, stayed engaged, and found my moment to speak. This is an ancient activity, arising again, in amazement." -- Barbara Bash

"Participating in a Wisdom Circle is uplifting, empowering, bringing forth empathy, trust and intimacy, sharing, learning, real listening, digging into and sharing one's own life and memories, community-building. It is so enriching to mind and soul -- truly rewarding. Am looking forward to the next one!" -- Eldad Benary

"This aspect of gathering the troops and sounding the clarion call is a way to say Let's Do This... Let's Connect... Let's Inspire and reward each other with heartfelt experiences. In our very busy lives, filled with all of the calamitous news, Wisdom Circles are a serene way to escape, for a few hours, back to oneself." -- Jan Buchalter

"Participating in a Wisdom Circle was a very freeing experience, as I am generally shy when presenting to a group. I developed a confidence in my ability to tell my story in a transparent and honest way without feeling that I had to make it better by exaggerating or leaving things out. It was also fascinating to hear the stories of others. The circle created a bond between participants that opened the door to understanding others by seeing things through their eyes." -- Dr. Alan Pizer

"I had a wonderful time at the Wisdom story telling session. I loved thinking about relevant story themes from my life, preparing for our evening, meeting with other storytellers, hearing their stories, and telling my story. I heard amazing and inspiring stories from each person and felt spiritually and emotionally enriched afterward. I felt connected to each person who shared. The facilitation was beautifully done, summing up the core of our stories, reinforcing the beautiful learning in each of our lives. The evening was truly memorable and meaningful." -- Corinne Mol

"Mitch Ditkoff's wisdom storytellers circles are transformative. This is what my life has been sorely lacking for a very long time. I am so glad that I stumbled upon his group. Through the process of storytelling using thoughtfully selected themes, we each delve into aspects of our lives that are not generally discussed or deeply considered. The questions and discussions that follow each story, facilitated via Mitch's keen insight, inspire the storyteller and other group members to tap into our own wisdom, with surprisingly wonderful results. His warmth, wit, and hospitality are an integral part of the group, setting the participants at ease, and creating an atmosphere of safe camaraderie." - Alan Powitz

"Upon meeting Mitch and the other Wisdom Circle participants, I felt that I was reconnecting with people I had met before. Sharing and hearing our stories brought tears to my eyes and laughter from my heart. In the Wisdom Circle, we were connected in our common experiences of grief at our mothers' death, the insecurity with using Another Tongue as a Second Language, and the power of carrying a strong voice and presence in response to imminent danger. The following morning I shed tears of loss and love as my story continued to grow in the meditation hall of the Tibetan Buddhist Monastery on Overlook Mountain that sits above the cottage where the Wisdom Circle grows. As I headed home along winding roads of Woodstock, Paul Simon shared with me his Mother and Child Reunion, a story sure to be right at home in our Wisdom Circle." - Fred Szczesiul

What story will you tell.jpg

To continue the conversation: mitch@ideachampions.com

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March 31, 2019
The Curious Results of the Wisdom Circle Storytelling Poll

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Curious to know what kinds of stories people find most compelling to share and also listen to, I recently forwarded a 37-item poll to friends, clients, Facebook storytelling groups, and people who have attended one or more of the Wisdom Circles I facilitate. So far, 117 people have chimed in. Here are their responses, on a scale of 1-5.

4.79 -- The appearance of unexpected help
4.75 -- Finding your inner strength
4.72 -- An unforgettable moment with a teacher or mentor
4.72 -- Courage
4.71 -- The most remarkable moment of your life
4.70 -- Forgiveness
4.67 -- Accomplishing the seemingly impossible
4.66 -- Your most creative accomplishment
4.66 -- Gratitude
4.66 -- Overcoming fear
4.66 -- Inner transformation
4.66 -- Taking a risk
4.66 -- Finding your path
4.65 -- The power of intuition
4.63 -- What you've learned from failure
4.62 -- Breakthrough
4.61 -- Perseverance
4.61 -- Going beyond an old belief or assumption
4.61 -- Overcoming a difficult obstacle
4.61 -- Making a big change
4.60 -- An extraordinary encounter with a stranger

4.60 -- AVERAGE FOR ALL ANSWERS

4.59 -- Synchronicity
4.59 -- Letting go
4.58 -- Recovery/resilience
4.57 -- Adaptability
4.56 -- Trust/faith
4.54 -- Asking for help
4.51 -- Healing
4.50 -- A cosmic experience
4.49 -- A life changing dream
4.49 -- Going beyond the call of duty
4.49 -- A paranormal experience
4.46 -- Losing everything
4.45 -- Patience
4.43 -- A rite of passage
4.40 -- Your most embarrassing moment
4.40 -- Almost dying

And here are some other themes, not included in the poll, that respondents suggested for future Wisdom Circles.

1. Untold history
2. The power of storytelling
3. The eternal now
4. Sanctity
5. The sacred vs. the profane
6. Our place in the world
7. Finding love
8. Serendipity
9. Handling challenges
10. Finding your voice
11. Knowing when to say goodbye
12. Surrender
13. Being OK with displaying human frailty
14. Ethical behavior
15. A moment that changed your life

If you would like to respond to the poll, click here. Takes 3 minutes.

Here's what other people have said about their Wisdom Circle experience.

Mitch Ditkoff

Storytelling for the Revolution
I'm not sure what category this story fits

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March 11, 2019
Wisdom Circle Testimonials

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A Wisdom Circle is an enjoyable two-hour gathering of 6-12 people for the purpose of sharing meaningful, personal stories with each other -- stories that convey insights, deep feeling, and moments of truth. What follows are a sampling of testimonials from some of the people who have attended a recent series of Wisdom Circles in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and Woodstock, NY.

"I didn't know what to expect when I first attended the wisdom circle; I had brought pen and paper, prepared for note taking and homework. Half way through the evening I found myself spell bound by the spinning of tales and stories, notebook forgotten. What if, in every day life, we paid attention to the stories of our peers with the same focus and respect? What would happen if we gave a child, a friend or and spouse 10 minutes of undivided, uninterrupted attention? At the closing of the Wisdom circle that night, I felt that I had been given the opportunity to glance at the human soul, under the gentle guidance of Mitch Ditkoff." -- Carole Clement

"I attended one of Mitch's wisdom circles for the first time last night, and left feeling uplifted, connected, and heard. Sitting together in community, listening to others' stories and unique perspectives on life, and bearing witness to one another's experiences is not only powerful, but healing. These circles are a microcosm of how I hope society at large might one day function -- truly seeing those around us, valuing them, and recognizing we are on a journey together in our shared humanity." - Karen Kinney

"There is no doubt in my mind that Mitch is offering a service to the community that is of enormous value through his facilitation of the Wisdom Circles. There is indeed great wisdom in exploring our own stories; in speaking them, sharing them and allowing them to be witnessed. The feedback, insights and questions from Mitch and the other participants open a door for us to reconsider from different perspectives that which we too often have only seen from one angle for too long, perhaps causing an inflexibility in our attachment to our story. It is quite possible to hold something too dear and too tightly; to offer that up to a group is to open to a larger picture and to yield to the process of letting go. I much admire the ease and gentleness with which Mitch creates a safe container for that offering and release. I admire how he cherishes the offering with his careful listening and how he facilitates its blooming through his kind and keen questions. I highly recommend the Wisdom Circle to anybody who feels that they have a story to tell, especially if they feel that they don't." -- Carlos F. Chancellor

"My Wisdom Circle evening was a heartwarming event. The remarkable stories we heard created an instant community of trust and empathy. I felt embraced by everyone. I went with one story to share in mind, but the stories others told tapped into a very different place in me, and a story that surprised me emerged from me. The experience gave me a new insight that stunned me, or really, it was an old insight that I had forgotten about and was deeply happy to have back. The Circle was a beautiful, totally engaging evening." -- Susan Page

"I went to my first Wisdom Circle with some interest, but as the first session unfolded, my interest piqued. Mitch is a wonderful, caring facilitator and he draws out the best in people. I am hooked with the experiences that I am receiving in The Wisdom Circle. I find that days after I leave The Wisdom Circle I am still reflecting on the stories told. I had no idea that someone else's experience told in a story could affect me so deeply and would have an impact on my future thoughts. Mitch is interested and caring in his duties as the mediator. I love going and look forward to the experience with great anticipation." - Robyn Johnson

"One of the biggest takeaways I had from the Wisdom Circle was the importance of listening. I couldn't help but notice how my mind was constantly wanting to interject during other people's stories. Whether it was a joke, a comment of acknowledgment, or even just wanting to say 'yeah sure'. But through the process of listening to each person's story, really paying attention, and clearly hearing what it was that they had to say, I found that it was not only an enriching experience, but also something I've begun to implement in my day-to-day life." - Jon Jeffers

"I went to Mitch's Wisdom Circle last week. It's really a storytelling circle. It was wonderful. This was my first time attending a storytelling gathering where I would be participating. Mitch is a great facilitator. And the space was loving and safe, with wonderful people, none of whom I had met before, but two hours later felt like I had six new friends. It's an inspiring environment that naturally evokes the sharing of stories. I'm going again." - Sharon Jeffers

"The Wisdom Circle evening I attended was not only stimulating, but conjured up stories of my own I hadn't even remembered, until my memory was stirred by the others in the circle. Mitch made us feel safe and appreciated in sharing our stories and created an evening of ambiance, gratitude and mutual appreciation -- a place to be real.' -- Sher Davidson

"The whole experience renewed my interest in listening to, writing, and telling stories." -- Jean Paul Peretz

"I appreciate your orientation -- that sharing our stories with one another is a beautiful way that humans support and teach and enrich one another. It is also a way to build community. Most of all, in hearing one another's stories we are aware of our shared, flawed, exquisite humanity. I feel you do a very good job of bringing all this forward, of inspiring, of creating a space for this to happen." -- Diana Kuper

"I found it immensely moving to listen to people's core narratives at the Wisdom Circles I have attended. It deepens my appreciation of who they are and what their inner life looks like." -- Ruth Garbus

"Mitch Ditkoff's Wisdom Circles are SO MUCH FUN. Under his alchemical guidance, each and every storytelling gathering is a safe, encouraging, inspiring, profound, and creative opportunity to more deeply connect with myself and others." -- Lynda Carre

"I was invited to to attend a Wisdom Circle with my daughter and we spent a wonderful evening of storytelling and enlightenment. Sharing insights and bringing people together made it a memorable evening." -- Jean Buchalter

"The Wisdom Storytelling Circle is a simple, alive form that brought forth my deep narratives. Working within a theme, focused and strengthened my voice. Knowing that Mitch was watching over and guiding the time, I relaxed, took in other's offerings, stayed engaged, and found my moment to speak. This is an ancient activity, arising again, in amazement." -- Barbara Bash

"Participating in a Wisdom Circle is uplifting, empowering, bringing forth empathy, trust and intimacy, sharing, learning, real listening, digging into and sharing one's own life and memories, community-building. It is so enriching to mind and soul -- truly rewarding. Am looking forward for the next one!" -- Eldad Benary

"This aspect of gathering the troops ad sounding the clarion call, is a way to say Let's Do This... Let's Connect... Let's Inspire and reward each other with heartfelt experiences. In our very busy lives, filled with all sorts of calamitous news, Wisdom Circles are a serene way to escape, for a few hours, back to oneself." -- Jan Buchalter

Mitch Ditkoff's Wisdom Circles make space for the human spirit by creating space for shared human experience. How unusual it is in these modern times to to gather in a circle of friends and strangers and have the opportunity to share personal stories of growth and transformation in an intimate, safe and supportive space. Mitch is a gentle and enthusiastic facilitator whose one-pointed devotion to his medium mushrooms in the hearts and minds of his participants and reflects in how organically stories are shared and dialogue flows. The format is simple, but the impact—profound. I always leave full of new perspective, insight and feeling a deeper connection to my fellow storytellers and story listeners, but most importantly, a refreshed relationship to my own life path and deeper connection to my values, voice and truth." -- Akka B.

"Upon meeting Mitch and the other Wisdom Circle participants, I felt that I was reconnecting with people I had met before. Sharing and hearing our stories brought tears to my eyes and laughter from my heart. In the Wisdom Circle we were connected in our common experiences of grief at our mothers' deaths, the insecurity with using Another Tongue as a Second Language, and the power of carrying a strong voice and presence in response to imminent danger. The following morning I shed tears of loss and love as my story continued to grow in the meditation hall of the Tibetan Buddhist Monastery on Overlook Mountain that sits above the cottage where the Wisdom Circle grows. As I headed home along winding roads of Woodstock, Paul Simon shared with me his 'Mother and Child Reunion' -- a story sure to be right at home in our Wisdom Circle." - Fred Szczesiul

"Mitch Ditkoff's Wisdom Circles are transformative. This is what my life has been sorely lacking for a very long time. I am so glad I stumbled upon his group. Through the process of storytelling, using thoughtfull selected themes, we each delved into aspects of life that are not generally discussed or deeply considered. The questions and discussions that follow each story, facilitated by Mitch's keen insight, inspire the storyteller and other group members to tap into our own wisdom, with surprisingly wonderful results. Mitch's warmth, wit, and hospitality are an integral part of the group, setting the participants at ease, and creating an atmosphere of safe camraderie." -- Alan Powitz

"My first Wisdom Circle was a very personal, energetic, intimate experience. I enjoyed meaningful stories in a small group and received validation that we're all connected and could see the me in all of us. And I was 5,000 miles away in the middle of the Pacific Ocean! Instant connection without visual distraction on a cellular level." - Casey Holt

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

February 06, 2018
WISDOM CIRCLES: Tribal Storytelling in the Workplace

Here's a sneak preview of an exciting new organizational invention of mine, WISDOM CIRCLES -- an organic outgrowth of Storytelling at Work. These are small group gatherings for people who want to explore the power of personal storytelling in the workplace -- an inspired opportunity to share insights, wisdom, tacit knowledge, and lessons learned -- the hard to communicate "inner best practices" that are a huge part of who we are as human beings.

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Podcast, videos, and interviews on storytelling
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:03 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2017
THE WISDOM CIRCLES OF SAN MIGUEL: February 13th

Wizard Storyteller3.jpg

Every human being, no matter what path they walk, skip, hop, or jump is a fountainhead of wisdom -- a deep well of insights, brilliance, and lessons learned. This wisdom, however, is often buried beneath the flora and fauna of our daily lives and, because it is, the full value of what we know to be true often remains unexpressed.

The good news? Our deepest wisdom is always available to us. It's just hiding. And where it's hiding is in our stories -- those memorable moments of truth we've all had that have, contained within them, meaning and inspiration worth sharing.

One of the simplest ways to get back in touch with the deepest part of who we are is a Wisdom Circle, a lightly facilitated sharing of life stories that provides the safety, guidance, and inspiration for participants to reconnect with the very best of who they are.

If you are in San Miguel de Allende, on Monday, February 13th, you're in luck. That's where and when the next Wisdom Circle will take place -- more specifically, at the LifePath Retreat Center from 3:00 -- 5:00 pm.

Facilitated by Mitch Ditkoff, author of Storytelling at Work and the forthcoming Storytelling for the Revolution.

Enrollment is limited to 12. First come, first served. To reserve a seat, send a "I Want A Seat at The Wisdom Circle" email to mitch@ideachampions.com and you will receive a confirmation (or be placed on the waiting list). 150 pesos.

What kind of story will you tell today?

Video: Mitch Ditkoff on Storytelling

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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.

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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.
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"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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