PR Klein | Connecting Through Storytelling

 

Everything starts and ends with a story. Stories help people connect so harnessing your own story can be an important way to help your business or brand. Geoffrey Klein is someone who regularly connects the dots between the right message and the right audience through storytelling. Geoffrey is an adjunct professor at Temple University School of Media and Communications, a speaker and the Founder, President and CEO of nine dots – a content marketing agency. In this episode, Geoffrey shares his expertise in communication, specifically through the art of telling a story that will help people see something new and make it relevant to them. Through his own experience as a TEDx speaker, he shares some ways we can effectively and successfully prepare for high impact presentations. Geoffrey’s insights include how to be intentional about using stories in our lives to communicate better, no matter no the platform.

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Storytelling: Connecting The Right Message To The Right People With Geoffrey Klein

I feel incredibly blessed to be with you, to be alive, to be in this moment and set the intention. I have a screen that comes up at the beginning of my day on the computer that asked me for an intention. What I wrote down was being unconditional with myself and I won’t digress too far into that. It is the case of wanting to remove the conditions and judgment. I noticed more and more that it starts with me. The judgments I have about myself ultimately end up turning into the judgments that I have about others. Where it is that I’m withholding love or making the love for myself conditional, that’s both the same thing that I will do with other people and what I feel even from other people at time. It’s a personal way to begin. I wanted to be fully transparent about feeling lucky and blessed to be here.

I have a great guest. Somebody that’s not just a person that I’ve had a superficial interaction with or that I know of. Some of the situations that we sometimes have in business is we don’t get to know somebody too well, but we consider them a friend nonetheless. With social media, we have a lot of people we call friends and that term has been diluted a little bit. I consider this gentleman a friend. I do know him and I have a beat on him. He’s a good man. We’ve spent some time together and we work together.

His name is Geoffrey Klein. His career over the years has been about helping connect the right message to the right audience for the greatest impact. He’s much a heart-centered leader. It is how I would define him. He’s also worked on major motion pictures at Paramount and MGM Studios. In addition to running a content marketing agency, Geoffrey is an adjunct professor at Temple University School of Media and Communications. He’s presented at the TEDxLehighRiver event and lectured all over the world for universities, agencies and organizations. I feel wonderful that I get to have him on the show. Geoffrey, it’s great to have you here. Welcome.

Thank you so much. I appreciate it. I always find value in communicating with you, whether it’s on a personal or professional level.

Thank you. I’ve said a few things about you in that bio, but what’s not written in that bio that you would love for people to know about you?

My company is called nine dots and we try to connect the dots. For me, everything starts and ends with a story. My TEDx was about the power of story. In the way that I live my life personally but also professionally, my job is to help others tell their stories in a more impactful way. I believe that it’s about connecting with people and the best way to connect with people is through effective communication. The best way to do that is by telling a story. There’s the science behind it and there are our own experiences. We’ve been telling stories naturally since we were little kids. Sometimes, as we grow up particularly in business, we become the fact people. We have all the bullet points of things that matter. Sometimes, we lose the ability to connect with people and to have them understand what we’re talking about because we’re focused on proving something rather than communicating.

The narrative is powerful. When you talk about the name of your company, nine dots, and this concept of connecting with people, it brings me back to when I was about 23 years old. I was a middle school English teacher, which I did for a couple of years. It’s the most two exhausting years to be exact. I remember saying to these kids, mostly seventh and eighth graders at the time, “Life is complicated.” I didn’t have a clue how complicated life was at that time at 23. One of the best things that you can ever do and the faster you could learn this, the better. Looking back, this was sage advice to give to these kids. I said to them, “It’s about connecting the dots. If you could figure out how to connect the dots in life, you will be doing well.”

The reason that I was saying that was I was trying to motivate them to see the relevance of Robert Frost’s poetry or any of the other things that we were reading, checking out and talking about. I wanted them to see that even if they couldn’t necessarily understand exactly what it was or why we were diving into some particular story, their goal was simply to see how they could connect it to some aspect of their life. Where could they connect the dots for themselves and find the relevance in something? In many ways, what a story does for people is it helps you. You did a TEDx all about storytelling. Is that the primary function of a story to help people to see something new or in a different way and make it relevant for them?

As businesses, we often tell stories about ourselves and forget about the audience. Click To Tweet

There are a couple of things that allow stories to do with people. It’s a shame in some ways that the phrase “connecting the dots” has been overused and become somewhat of a cliché. Nine dots is based on the puzzle where the concept started. I feel okay using it because I’ve gone to the source. With a lot of things that are simplistic in the way is to uncover the truth of them for that individual person. I grew up listening to stories from mostly my father or my grandfather sitting across the table. They’re both judges and they will regale stories of different cases to each other. I would watch them communicate and seeing that point of connection.

The thing is that you want to communicate effectively and I believe the stories that they tell, but there are still better stories and not as effective in the way you tell the story or what the story is that you tell. One of the things in businesses, we often are telling stories about ourselves and forget about the audience. One of the things is you need to try and connect and be relatable to that audience. In terms of the power of what a story can do, it can take personal experience and touch someone out in the audience. From a personal level of why stories are wonderful, it’s because you can meet someone that you don’t know well and you find a story that has some shared threads.

It’s those shared threads that bind people in their experience. We’re all looking in life for some sense of belonging. The way we do that is through the touchpoints of our experience. The way we connect to others is by having those stories that might not be the exact same situation, but we can relate to something that someone else has done. We can feel those emotions and those sensory experiences that we’ve had because we’re all human at the end of the day.

Your ability to tell a story and when you find yourself in someone else’s story, there’s a sense of belonging. There’s a sense of, “I’m not alone.” Is that what you’re saying?

That’s in terms of trying to connect people to feel like, “I’m not alone, but in that interaction, I’m with you.” It’s not even, “I’m not alone,” but in the moment of that presence, we have an ability to relate to one another. I remember your story about the baseball card as an example. For those reading, Adam had an incident where he lost a valuable baseball card when he was a kid. We’ve all lost things that we’ve cherished, whether they were a value financially or otherwise. When someone tells you a story about an experience you’ve had, there’s often a corollary in my life or in someone else’s life. It’s that ability that helps people understand and connect what your message is about.

If I was going to find the through-line in what you’re saying, I would say this is one of the ways. Through a story, you can find yourself present with someone else, not just physically.

You look at some of the science in terms of how our brain works. This research was done by neuroscience in Princeton. They have a concept called neural coupling. If you’re telling someone a story about when you kick the ball, the listener mirrors that of the teller. You’re both experiencing from a brain perspective the experience of kicking a ball. In terms of throwing, it’s a way to both be present because you’re having the same biological and chemical reactions at the same time. You are present. Your brain is heightened when someone tells you a story. They’re paying attention, which sadly is something that we keep losing more and more of. Presence is a great through-line in terms of the power that the story can have. We’re talking about this person, but I do this for business all the time. We’re trying to get at the heart of what matters to people whatever product they may be selling. It’s the person that you’re trying to help. That’s the important part. You’re trying to send the audience and making the audience the center of your story.

You mentioned that story of me having lost this valuable 1973 Willie Mays baseball card when I was about eight years old. You and I met at an event. I don’t remember if I told that story there, but it was a story I tell in the book, PIVOT. Ultimately, you came to one of our speaker training because you were in a pivot stage yourself. Part of your pivot was not in changing your business because you’re still in the same business space. You wanted to be more skilled at not just public speaking, but also public storytelling. That became the topic that you took on when you stood on the TED stage. Why don’t you tell us about that? What was it like for you to first go from the level of speaker training that you and I were doing together and then ultimately, for you to decide, “I’m going to do a TEDx?” What was that journey like?

PR Klein | Connecting Through Storytelling

Connecting Through Storytelling: We lose the ability to connect with people and have them understand what we’re talking about when we’re focused on proving something rather than communicating.

 

I should start the journey with our experience because it was a pivotal moment in that evolution. I’ll give a shout-out to the amazing program that you do because it’s amazing. Understanding the power of the story is something that meant something to me. I had some experience with it. How do I take that, share it with others, and help them share it with others? My goal is to help people and have that impact on people to not only understanding the value of the power of the story but going and doing it for others. It’s having that connection and continually growing the network and connecting those dots.

I had developed a presentation called The Science of Story. It is based a lot on some of the research that have been done in terms of the difference in how our brains react when we’re given information only versus when someone tells us a story. Our brains light up when someone tells us a story. A TEDx Talk is something I was interested in. I thought that would help give me some credibility and a platform to share my message. Philadelphia didn’t have an active TEDx program at the time. I’ve been aware of some. I was looking where else in my area might there be some. I found one in Cape May and one in Lehigh Valley and I reached out to both. The one in Cape May had already gotten their speaker slots, so I applied the one in the Lehigh River.

I gave my simple piece about the science of story and the importance of it, and then I had a conversation with Lisa Gensler who’s the license holder for that TEDx. I can’t say enough amazing things about her. She took my small idea and developed it. That’s a critical piece of a successful TEDx Talk. I’m sure you’ve had a lot of speaking experience but for me, it’s having the coaching that I had with her. Part of it was I was open to crafting a talk that would fit in with their program and what they’re trying to do and being a value to them. I was curious that most of these TEDx have a theme. The theme of the one I did was called Intention by Design. I liked it because the idea I’m trying to share with people is to be intentional about using stories in their lives in ways they may not have been doing, to help them communicate better. I had gotten through the first round of candidates and she said, “There may be something here. I’m not sure yet. Are you willing to go further? Are you willing to be coachable?” My mother’s an executive coach, so that’s a term I’m familiar with.

Are you coachable, Geoffrey?

My mother would say yes.

I’m being cheeky with you because I’ve worked with you, so I know you’re coachable. You went in with an open mind and here she is saying to you, “To go deeper with this thing, there’s more work required.”

There was work and that was the part that a lot of speakers, including me, sometimes forget. We’re like, “I’ve spoken a few times. I’m comfortable on stage. I’ll go up, share my message and it will be easy.” I found that speaking can be simple, but never easy. Even the best speakers have done tons of work in the background that no one sees. They then see someone on stage and go, “They’re amazing at this.” There’s always so much work that goes into it. That’s the part that I expected as much to do as I thought when I had my little presentation done.

What was the most excruciating part? I’m inserting that word, but that may not be the case. Having worked with many people like keynote speakers that are preparing to do TEDx Talks or done them, we all know that either the element of the construction of the talk can be one area of excruciating pain. Meaning the editing and getting it down to the number of words that would be speakable in eighteen minutes or less. That is one excruciating point. The other is the presentation itself, meaning getting over whatever stage fright you might have or being fully present on stage to deliver it in the most impactful and effective way possible. Was it one of those, none of those or something else? What was that like?

Speaking can be simple but never easy. Click To Tweet

It was a combination. I like to write, so the writing part wasn’t hard. What I realized is the difference between me being a good writer and a much better writer is rewriting it. I’ll write something and rather than work on that piece, I’ll start something new. A lot of creative writers have that element where they’ve written it and they don’t want to spend the time to make it better. Those are hard. It was hard to hear from the coach, “This doesn’t work.” I have to give something up that I had in there and then find something else. It’s hard to take the material personally. It becomes a challenge to give up ownership in that coaching relationship. If you like a piece of what you’ve written to say, “This doesn’t fit,” and to have the wherewithal to be like, “Even though this may be nice and you want to cuddle it, it doesn’t go with this talk. I’ve got to get rid of it.”

Writing on a good day is excruciating all by itself for me. The good news is we’re not alone in this. Even Hemingway said that the essence of great writing is to learn how to kill off your darlings. That’s what you’re describing; killing off your darlings. I had almost 5,000 words to begin with, which would have been two TED Talks and you go, “What do I cut? What are the things that you’re willing to go? This isn’t going to serve the through-line or the main idea.” Writing is rewriting and you’ve got to kill off your darlings and all that over time. It’s a lot of work.

Having someone supporting me in the way that I had made a huge difference, not only in the comfort of giving up my darlings but in taking what I had and making it better. To have the confidence like you read something and you feel good about, then being able to say to yourself, “This can be better,” and to push yourself beyond that comfort zone and get to a place where you feel, “This is good.” It’s better than I thought it could be.

You are incredibly fortunate because it’s rare that you get a TEDx organizer or organizing team that will put that time. When we work with people, often it’s because they are either wanting to do a talk or they’ve been accepted to do a talk. Their knees are knocking because they’re not prepared, or they don’t think they can get to where they want to be. Coaching is crucial, but when you have somebody who volunteers himself to help you that way, it’s a big deal. Did you buy a nice present? What did you do?

I gave her one of my children. I figured out that’s the easiest way. I’ve got three that I can give up for.

Except when they go to college, then she should give them back.

I recognize how fortunate I was and I do consider at different stages getting professional help. One of the areas where people don’t recognize is, “If you’re a professional speaker, you don’t get help.”

We work with a lot of professional speakers. I’ve worked with a mentor when I was contemplating this whole thing and I’ve been speaking professionally for 7 or 8 years at that point. I’m like, “I can’t see myself. The blind spots are enormous.” The worst part might be the arrogance of thinking somehow that because I ran a chapter at the BNI or I used to do my local whatever meetings and you go, “I could do this.”

PR Klein | Connecting Through Storytelling

Connecting Through Storytelling: The best way you can serve the audience is making sure you’re as good as you can be.

 

Having humility as a speaker is important. As you’ve taught me and others as well, your role as a speaker is to be a teacher. What you’re trying to do as a speaker, at least from my experience, the good ones are trying to serve the audience, not serve themselves. If you’re going to serve the audience, the best way you can do that is making sure you’re as good as you can be. That’s a process that goes on every day, every year and forever. I’m lucky that I have that lifelong learner DNA in me. My father, who was a judge for 35-plus years, still likes to learn. That is part of the inspiration I have and hopefully show my kids the thirst and curiosity in what you can learn about stuff. It keeps things interesting and keeps you motivated as well.

Humility is the word that’s been knocking around in my head since I was 18 or 19 years old. I didn’t even know why it was that I was hung up on arguing with my dad at the time about how important humility was versus the other side of the coin, which is arrogance or something. There’s an element in which when we’re in service of something higher than ourselves, our ego or agenda is back seated to something that’s more important. Give the title of your TED Talk because I’d love for people to check that out as well.

It’s called Story Matters, Tell One That Matters to Your Audience.

Geoffrey Klein’s Story Matters, if you put that into YouTube search, you’ll find it. The talk is done well, Geoffrey.

Thank you. That means a lot coming from you.

I love it and when it came out, I thought you nailed it. I would love for you to share what the through-line is. The last I checked, maybe it was 50,000 to 70,000 views and positive comments. Regardless of what I thought, the market has spoken loudly.

I crossed 100,000 and I feel good about that. For me, I was trying to communicate that the best way to connect with people is through a story. I tried to share that a story grabs people’s attention in a world where that’s a huge commodity. A story can help capture a person’s attention in a world where there is little. We’re always fighting and struggling this. There are two concepts I talked about in the talk. One is the idea of infobesity. There’s more information in the world than ever before. The statistic was that there’s been more information and more content produced than any in history before.

We’re constantly bombarded with noise. Whether it’s in your personal life or in your professional life, you need to try to cut through that noise. Our attention spans are getting smaller and smaller, so how do you do that? A story has the power to cut through by its nature. When someone says to you, “Let me tell you a story,” we perk up. We’ve been conditioned and we’re hardwired for thousands of years to want stories. It’s nothing new in terms of the way humans behave, want to connect with people and share in that collective narrative. It just got harder to do it.

Your role as a speaker is to be a teacher. The good ones are trying to serve the audience, not themselves. Click To Tweet

Our attention spans are not just shorter, they’re also more in demand. We’re being marketed to provided information. It’s such a lightning pace that this is hacking something that is as ancient as we are.

The things that matter to me are about the audience. I teach in my class what I call the 11th commandment, which is, “Know thy audience.” It’s because we’re egocentric as people in general. I’m talking about businesses and what do they say about how great they are like, “We’ve won the top award.” Nobody cares about what they can do. They only care about what they can do for them. The “What’s in it for me?” factor is critical to connect with people from a marketing perspective. You don’t understand what they’re looking for and it doesn’t matter what story to tell because they’re not going to resonate with it.

This is why we help create videos or animations. We start with the problem of the person that you’re trying to market to. If you’re struggling with coldness and you need heat, we can provide heat. If you’re cold and someone tells you a story about being cold, you immediately go, “I’m cold. I need to know how to not be cold.” The TEDx through-line was used with all these resources that story has for you and find a way to connect with the audience so that they will care.

Use their attention and grab their attention. We’re hardwired to want to hear a story. Have that story be relevant for them. Meaning that it’s about them, not necessarily something you want to share. It’s something in the marketing sense will solve a problem that they’ve got or convinced them they’ve got a problem that they don’t know they have.

I talked about the story paradox, which is on the one hand, effective stories are usually personal, but at the same time, we need to make them connect to the audience or they’re not going to be interested. There are elements of how you do that. Part of it is making sure that you’re using things that everyone has like fear, sadness, excitement and emotions that we all have. If I’m telling a story about a time when I was scared, if I know that it is going to resonate with the particular audience I’m speaking to, then I’m dealing with a chance because I’m trying to get over their fear. I’m trying to get them to get over whatever issue they’re having by using those emotional components.

Stories are perfect for that because we relate to the characters we’re listening to. The journey that the hero takes is something people like to follow along and root for. They did some research and oftentimes, someone will tell you a good story. A few weeks later, you see your friend at a party that you told the story to. Your friend will tell the story back to you forgetting that you told it to them because they made it their own. That’s the beauty of it all. When someone does that, then you know that you’re connected because they liked the story so much that they internalize it as their own story. It shows the power that you can have with people when you have a good story.

You got me totally curious, Geoffrey. I want you to close the loop on the story about the Willie Mays baseball card with ultimately what you did because that was so moving to me. What was it about hearing that story or reading the story that had it be about you? I’m curious what was in that story?

Part of it was being a kid. I’m a big kid and I have kids. That’s something that immediately related to me. You were telling a story about when you were a kid. Everyone’s been a kid. Any adult has had the experience of being a kid. We’ve had different experiences. We’ve all had the experience of being young and having grown-ups around us, good, bad, and ugly. We’ve all had some shared experience of what it’s like not to be a grown-up. There’s something in your story that immediately was like, “I had a loving and wonderful child,” but it doesn’t mean there weren’t times where I was not at peace with my parents for one reason or another.

PR Klein | Connecting Through Storytelling

Connecting Through Storytelling: A story grabs people’s attention in a world where that’s a huge commodity.

 

That was the element of frustration and that emotion that you were saying like, “Mom, what are you doing? How can you let this happen?” They were shoving cards into the bag without any thought of the importance of them to you. We’ve all had experiences with parents and children because we have different responsibilities and we have different priorities. As a kid, the things that have your priorities are often not always the priorities of your parents. When they conflict, it’s a frustrating place. I felt that. I was there going, “How do they not know not to get rid of your Willie Mays card?” Whether you’re a kid or in general, there are times where people don’t get you and you were sad, you lose something too. We’ve all grieved the loss of lots of little things along our life, and some big things without you knowing those two emotions of frustration and loss that connected with me.

I appreciate you sharing that. Having told that story all around the world to a lot of people at certain times in the past, I’ve heard lots of different things about it. There’s an element of trust and the breach of trust that comes up in that story. There’s a strong component of anger at an early age of being angry and having a lesson about trust that only extended into later years in life that was a part of the through-line of that story.

I remember doing an event in New Jersey with several hundred people in the audience. I end up telling that story on one of the mornings. My mom was there and I had invited her. I knew she was going to show up at some point, but I didn’t know she was in the room at that moment. Not that it would have changed it if I would have told it exactly the same way. It’s funny that later on, she said to me, “I never ever realized.” She didn’t remember it that way either. She was in New York and she had sent these baseball cards to me when I was visiting friends of hers when I was eight years old in California. These kids all had cards and I had my cards, so we can flip and trade.

She sends all the cards and she addresses it to the family. The mom of one of the kids gives the cards to the kids and they’re sitting on the floor. I see my cards in this other kid’s room and the one card, my favorite, Willie Mays. It was this betrayal and I could do nothing about it. I was powerless at eight years old to change anything. Even after crying and everything else that was going on and ultimately, being able to get my mom to acknowledge that there was a mistake made and them trying to fix it. Ultimately, as the story goes, the punchline is I don’t get that card back. That card’s gone.

Fast forward a lot of years later, Geoffrey Klein came to one of our speaker training events and brought me this gift. Maybe it was the third day of that event that you gave me this gift, which was that fairly mint condition quality 1973 Willie Mays card when Willie Mays played his last season as New York Mets. It was such a touching gift and thoughtful thing. I’ve thanked you before Geoffrey but it’s a great way to finish the story. It’s interesting because you connected with a story and then ultimately, you do something on your end. I’ve never asked you why you did it. I assumed it’s an incredibly thoughtful and sensitive thing to do. Now you’re in that story, Geoffrey, because to receive that card closes a loop.

What prompted me to get it was because it’s struck me in a certain way and I realized something. This isn’t a psychotherapy session, but I lost my mom when I was seven. There may have been an element of like you were angry at your mom for what she did and I’ve had anger from my mom dying, which is a silly thing to have, but as a seven-year-old kid, that’s what you do. It may have hit me a little more than some with that anger I talked about. I didn’t even identify it when you asked me.

It feels like it comes through a little bit too, Geoffrey, the idea of somebody leaving you at such a tender age and you don’t even know why. It’s impossible for you to understand that.

I have to think that the flip side of that has been in spite of that, I had such love in my life. My dad and I are super close. He remarried and I got not the wicked stepmother. Maybe initially, but eventually, a woman who changed who I was and a stepbrother who I don’t make a distinction between him and my brother. They’re my brothers. In spite of that experience, I was able to be grateful for how my life turned out in terms of the family I have. Family is the most important thing to me by a long shot. You started the show talking about unconditional love and I initially think of my children.

Story can help capture a person's attention in a world where there is little. Click To Tweet

That’s what I liked about the way you put it was that most parents have unconditional love for their children, which I certainly do. I’m definitely harder on myself. There is an opportunity for people to give themselves a break and the way they give their kids a break. That struck me. That was part of my unconscious thought about how to take a bad situation in my own life that ended up being grateful. I had this opportunity to do that for you in a little way. Probably what prompted me to say, “I’m going to see if I can get the card,” which I did, is you told that story on one of our coaching calls. Even though I was the CEO for three months, I bought the card within the next couple of days. It was a way to be grateful for what you are giving our group. Thank you for that.

I’m thrilled with where this conversation has gone, especially having come back to the point of entry where we’re talking about being unconditional with ourselves and what’s the benefit for that. I used as a reference point for myself continually, not every day, but months in between, this incredible book called The Presence Process. We talked about being present as speakers, teachers and leaders. The ability to be present is so important. It’s also something that people have difficulty with and a lot of us do. This book is about the route of presence. The Presence Process is written by a guy named Michael Brown who is a South African. A lot of people haven’t heard of that book or him, but shout-out to the quality of that.

A lot of what we’re talking about when it comes to early childhood influences are things like even our traumas. Traumatic experiences that are not necessarily negative, but things that impact us and affect us. These are the things that have happened and then ultimately, we end up where we are, which is why it’s such a blessing that we’re here. I use the word resilience more often than not these days when I’m out in keynoting and being hired by organizations to lead a conference or keynote an event. It’s on that topic of resilience. What is it to be resilient? My own TED Talk in many ways is about what little hack or tool I have for creating greater resilience. I’d love to know one of your rituals for creating more resilience in your business, in life or as a dad. There are many things that exhaust us from day-to-day.

I work for myself and the decision to do that was intentional, especially when I had kids that were young. My father, who could have been a rich lawyer, went to become a judge. He made that same choice intentionally because it enabled him to spend the time he would never have been able to do if he had gone the other path. The ritual is simple, but I have the pleasure of most days being the first person to wake up my children and the last one to kiss them goodnight. It’s a simple little thing, but it connects my day. It’s a gift of being present. My wife has a dirty little secret I’ll share. She takes photographs of my ten-year-old son sleeping that she has for years. Eventually, she has this collage. Strangely, she fell asleep and he took a picture of her, so he’s getting back out.

The idea of when your child is at peace and the ability to connect with them as they’re waking up or as they’re going to bed is a gift. It’s something that when I’ve had, it starts my day well. They’re a little cranky sometimes when they get up but I don’t mind that because I feel like I’m always getting the benefit of waking them. I feel that there’s a responsibility. I got to get them up and get them out of bed. I get to be the person they see in the morning and I’m singing a little bit into their room. At night, my wife is usually asleep before me. When I need to go to sleep, I did my last round of good nights once. I go into each of my kids. It wasn’t something I intentionally decided, “I’m going to do this every night.” It’s become the habit that I love and thinking about how nice it is to have that and to bookend my days with 3 of the 4 people I love.

Randi and I didn’t intentionally divide up that opportunity. More often than not, I was the bedtime story guy and Randi is the early riser. She gets them up and going. It’s a perfect way to transition into one close to the top of the list of the most powerful rituals if not the most powerful that any of us can have, and that is the ritual for waking. How do we start? This is the first everything on a brand-new day, first thoughts, first walk, first steps, first words, first sensations. The ritual that I’ve adopted for many years is the same. I remind everybody of it every time and it starts with a question for you, Geoffrey. Did you wake up today?

I did.

That’s a loaded question all by itself because waking up is not just a physical waking, it’s metaphorical. There’s more to it than just being conscious. It is something that we get to work on every day that we are a little bit more awake, alive and conscious each day if we’re lucky. If we’re thinking about it and it’s our intention, there’s a good chance that we’re increasing the odds of that being the case. You woke up and when you went to sleep last night, you did your rounds and everybody was put to bed. You finally put your head on the pillow. Was there any guarantee that you would wake up this morning?

No guarantees.

You’re finding yourself here was maybe unexpected in the sense that you probably assume that would be the case anyway. It’s still something that was a surprise, a blessing, and something to be grateful for. My morning ritual has been the same for a lot of years. I wake up and I get this sense that there’s something I ought to be and can easily be grateful for. I have this recognition of aches and pains. We wake up in different moods. There are all kinds of things that happened in our sleep. Who knows? At that moment, there’s something we can be grateful for. The words I use to express that gratitude are, “I love my life, I love my life.” What are the words, Geoffrey?

I love my life.

Do you love your life?

I do.

It’s like saying, “I’m grateful for my life.” Even on some level, I love myself without condition. When I’m good or bad, when I do make the right choices or decisions or when I don’t, I still can love myself no matter what. I’m happy we ended and tied things up the way we did and can transition from this moment into the next with this presence. Geoffrey, what a gift to have you on the show. Thank you so much for being a guest.

Thank you so much. As always, our conversations are real and valuable. I appreciate it.

I hope everybody enjoyed that as well. Leave comments and questions. Go check out Geoffrey and his incredible TEDx Talk, as well as more about him and his business. He does some incredible work in the marketing space. Everybody, ciao for now.

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About Geoffrey Klein

PR Klein | Connecting Through StorytellingGeoffrey’s career over the last 25 years has been about helping connect the right message to the right audience for the greatest impact. His experience spans from being legally trained to working for Seth Godin to working on major motion pictures at Paramount Pictures and MGM Studios.

Geoffrey has presented at Tedx LehighRiver, has guest lectured at Manchester Metropolitan University (UK), Drexel University, Hussian College and Temple University. As well, he has presented programs on The Science of Story at WeWork, CareersPHL, Intelligent Office, City-Coho, and the Small Business Expo.

In addition to running a content marketing agency, Geoffrey is an adjunct professor at Temple University’s School Of Media And Communication.