The Know How You Need & the Tools to Get You There...  Get Certified  >

Get Certified

Wake Up Eager Podcast   |   Wake Up Eager Leader Tips

Wake Up Eager Workforce 
Episode 110 Transcript

Suzie Price: [00:00:00] 

Hi there. Today I'm talking with storytelling strategist and coach Doug Stevenson. He is a master at telling stories and you're going to be completely entertained during this conversation. You're going to want to stay tuned in. If you've ever wanted your presentations to capture attention and inspire action and produce results, and who has not wanted that? Who does not need additional assistance in being a great storyteller and being great in front of the room? You're going to get so many keen insights from this today. I can't wait to share it with you. Michael. Hit it!

Intro/Outro: [00:00:33] 

Welcome to the Wake Up Eager Workforce Podcast, a show designed for leaders, trainers and consultants who are responsible for employee selection and professional development. Each episode is packed full with insider tips, best practices, expert interviews, and inspiration. Please welcome the host to his helping leaders, trainers and consultants everywhere Suzie Price.

Suzie Price: [00:01:06] 

Hi, my name is Suzie Price and you are listening to the Wake Up Eager Workforce podcast, where we cover everything related to helping senior leaders and internal and external consultants create a high commitment, low drama, wake up eager workforce. So glad you've joined us. My company, Priceless Professional Development, sponsors this podcast and the work we do is help leaders and organizations make good decisions about their people. So what we want is for people to use their strengths, for people to be in the right seats, for people to bring the best of who they are to work, and that includes waking up eager. When we're in the right role, doing the right things and getting the right kind of support, that is more likely possible. We have the skills we need, and so we all have times when we are in front of the room. And that's why I'm so excited to bring this episode to you. The title for today's episode is Storytelling That Sticks for Business and Life. It's episode 110, and we cover today how storytelling can be used as a strategic communication tool. We're going to give you top tips and tools to create great stories, and you're going to hear some great stories that are going to make you laugh and make you smile, and you're going to see the evidence of what a great story does and how memorable it is. We talk about how to handle self-doubt and vulnerability when giving a talk.

Suzie Price: [00:02:28] 

I think everyone has those moments. Doug talks about his. I think I share mine. And so just how do we overcome that? And then what are our practices, things that we can do to take care of ourselves so that we can do a better job of staying centered and connected with who we are when we're presenting? Let me tell you a little bit more about Doug. He is a former professional actor who has acted on stage and in small roles in movies and on TV. In his first movie, he was Karate Chopped by Chuck Norris, and in his last he played a pervert on Perry Mason: Movie of the Week. He's also been a rock singer, a carpenter, a taxi driver, realtor, and finally a professional speaker and speaker's coach. For over 25 years, Doug has delivered keynotes and taught storytelling skills to leaders, salespeople, and marketing teams in 18 countries including England, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Colombia and Canada. Doug has run six half marathons, rescued four black labrador retrievers and finally got it right when he married his soulmate Deborah when he was 44. They have been married now for 29 years. His wife calls him sweetie, his students call him Yoda and his grandchildren call him Opa. He's from Tucson, Arizona, and he is the storytelling Yoda of business, Doug Stevenson. Let's go into the discussion now.

Suzie Price: [00:04:01] 

Doug Stevenson is in the house. Hey, thank you for being here.

Doug Stevenson: [00:04:05] 

Thank you. Good to be here. Really a joy to connect with you once again after all these years. 

Suzie Price: [00:04:11] 

Thank you for all your good work. I'm excited we get to talk about it today. Let's talk about your work for a moment and let people understand why storytelling matters. What is a storytelling strategist and why do I think I might need one? How do I use this? Tell me, tell me and then and more about your story too, about how you came into this role.

Doug Stevenson: [00:04:32] 

Well, at this point, having been speaking and training and coaching people for 25 years on stories, I've come to understand the importance of story in a very different way than I did early on as a keynote speaker where I thought, well, I need to tell stories to get hired because the better storyteller I am, the more I'm going to get paid, the more often I'm going to get hired, and the funnier I am, the more dramatic I am. And so it's all about performance for me at the beginning. But then I started getting hired by corporations to teach their salespeople, to teach their leaders, to teach their HR professionals, and I realized, this is a strategic communication tool that a lot of people don't understand. It's really, really, really powerful if they understand how to use it. And it's kind of like when I first had to learn how to do Publisher or PowerPoint, and I struggled because it's an amazing tool, but I don't know how to use it. And over the time, using PowerPoint over and over and over and over and learning, oh, I could do this and oh, I could do this and I could do this and I could all of a sudden it's like, oh, this amazing tool called PowerPoint has the potential to be incredible once I master it, once I learn how to use it. Well, story is very much like that. It's a tool of influence, of persuasion, of sales. And who in business, whether you're an entrepreneur, a leader, a sales manager, an HR person, who doesn't need to be able to communicate what they're trying to.

Doug Stevenson: [00:06:05] 

Say in a way that impacts the listener emotionally as well as intellectually. And so I have developed my Story Theater Methodology over the years, and the genesis of it is quite hilarious. It's quite unique because I didn't start out to be a speaker or a corporate trainer. I have no corporate background at all. I was an actor. I always wanted to be an actor and never had a plan B, started out to be an actor, dropped out of college at 19, started studying acting in Chicago, my home town. I did plays, I did Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice. I was the original Danny Zuko in the original Chicago production of Grease. I was George in Of Mice and Men. I was doing theater. I was trying to do commercials, but Chicago didn't have a way to make a living. So I hitchhiked to Hollywood, started doing acting classes in Hollywood. And one night, this is where it all started. One night I was in this avant garde theater company. We were doing all these crazy non-traditional acting exercises, and the director comes out and says, tonight, we're doing outer theater, and I want you all to buddy up, find a partner. But tonight you're going to leave the building. You're going to leave the theater, you're going to go out into the community, and I want you to do something you would never, ever do. Something that is a risk, something that's way outside your comfort zone, go out, do that, come back in about a half hour and we'll all talk about it.

Doug Stevenson: [00:07:29] 

We'll talk about what you did. So my partner George and I, this guy that was in the workshop, we decided to go streaking because that was scary. That was outside of my comfort zone. So we got in my Volkswagen bus and we drove to Westwood, which is this nice shopping center area right outside of UCLA with lots of shops and movie theaters and people on the street and cafes. Well, we went over there, we got into the back of my Volkswagen bus, we got undressed, we jumped out, it went running down the street, hooting and hollering and screaming, here I come. We ran past this movie theater line. We were streaking. We were going as fast as we could. We were having a good time and we came up to this alley. That was the end of the run where we could, like, slink back to our Volkswagen bus and what was waiting for us at the end of the alley, a police car, and he screeched up in front of us and said, freeze! And all of a sudden, there we are at the end of an alley, naked with our hands up. And he arrested us naked, handcuffed us naked, threw us in the back of the cop car and took us to the West LA police station. He was going to book us as perverts. We kept saying, no, no, no, you don't understand.

Doug Stevenson: [00:08:35] 

We're actors. This is an acting exercise. Well, they finally let us go. We went back to the theater. We were way late because we got arrested. So we got back to the theater. Everybody else had told their story. We told our story, and everybody was laughing really hard. Everybody was cracking up and saying, oh my God, that was the best. You guys did the best. Well, the next day I woke up and I realized the way that they reacted to that story was with comedy. They laughed. They laughed a lot. Maybe this could be a story for me to use as a stand up comic. So I went to five different stand up comedy clubs around L.A., and I never got a laugh. And I realized that I don't know how to be funny as Doug with my own material. Well, fast forward 15 years. I left Hollywood in disgrace. I had not made it as an actor in Hollywood. It was really frustrating. I tried everything, but 15 years later, I'm now in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I was a realtor. I was starting to do some speaking around town at Sertoma Clubs and Rotary Clubs and different kinds of things. Real estate breakfasts. And one night I was giving a presentation at the Pikes Peak Library on presentation skills because I thought, oh, I know how to teach presentation skills. And out of the blue, without having thought about it in 15 years, I said to the audience, hey, do you guys want to hear a funny Hollywood story? And I launched into my streaking story, but this time, instead of just telling it like I did at comedy clubs where I stood still with no energy, no animation, no nothing.

Doug Stevenson: [00:10:07] 

This time I started acting it out. I acted out getting in the back of the van and getting undressed. I acted out jumping out of the van and running down the street. Here I come. Look out people, here I come and I'm running and I'm flapping my arms. And I'm running from left to right on the stage. And I acted out getting handcuffed, naked and getting into the police car. And I acted out the whole story. Most of it was narrative, but there was a lot of running around and animating and acting. And when I got done, I realized this audience was laughing so hard. A lady in the front row had tears streaming down her face. She was laughing so hard, these guffaws. And I thought as I was driving home, oh my God, I've discovered something! What the heck did I discover? And as I analyzed it, I realized I didn't just stand still and narrate the story. I didn't stand outside the story and tell it. I stepped inside the story. I acted it out and that was the genesis, the beginning of my development of the Story Theater Method. Now, it didn't come to fruition right there because it was just in my mind, like something happened. I don't know what the hell it is. Something happened. But eventually I realized that people got paid to speak. What you and I do.

Doug Stevenson: [00:11:22] 

We get paid to speak. And so I found my way to the Colorado Speakers Association, where people learn how to speak. And I got to do a showcase. And so I did my streaking story as a showcase. Now, understand, I'm this new kid in the room. I am not a professional speaker and I am surrounded by 80 professional speakers, people making a living. These people are doing it. I don't know how to do it, but these people do. Well, I did my streaking story and they were laughing like crazy and all of a sudden I was a hit. And a couple of people walked up to me at the next break and said, Doug, what was that? We have never seen that before. Could you teach us how to do that? And I thought, well, somebody's asking me to teach a class, I guess I could. And so I had to kind of break it down and analyze as I was doing my first retreat. What am I doing? What am I teaching? Well, I'm teaching the acting skills within the narrative. And then I started to develop a lexicon. And I call this like a hold a moment or a sprint or a drag or the nine steps of story structure. And I developed all this stuff. But what happened, what led me to this moment that you're asking me about is how did I become a story strategist, a story coach? As I was coaching people in my first story theater retreat, someone would get up and they would tell the story.

Doug Stevenson: [00:12:37] 

And without hesitation, not a second's hesitation, I got up and I started coaching, and I knew what to do, and I knew what to say. And the next person got up and I knew what to do, and I knew what to say. And at the end of the first workshop with nine different people, somebody came up and said, you're amazing at this. You are really intuitive. You didn't just do the same thing with all of us. All nine of us got different coaching. Well, retreat after retreat after retreat, I started to realize, I don't know how I know, but I know how to coach, how to be this person who can draw the best out of people. And I heard a number of times somebody said, you know, you just gave permission for me to be me, but to be more of me. And so that's how this evolved. And then all of a sudden I'm doing corporate keynotes and I'm doing corporate training all over the world, in 18 different countries. And I'm starting to infuse this with, well, it's not just acting for a sales manager. They don't want the acting, but they do want the nine steps of story structure. They want the branding. And so all of these different iterations allowed me to mature my methodology, to grow my methodology. And so I developed the Story Theater Method for Strategic Storytelling in Business. And 25 years later, here I am. I'm this story strategist and coach. 

Suzie Price: [00:13:56] 

It's a wonderful thing. You're using your strengths. We always talk about figuring that out. And sometimes we stumble into our strengths, or sometimes we get nudges towards our strengths or a combination of and I experienced it. I started my business in 2000 and the end of 2003. I came to see you in 2009 because I had read your book and I did the Story Theater Method program. It was, I think, three days, three and a half days or two and a half days. Yeah, two and a half days. And you had to do pre-work before, and I said nothing better than putting yourself out there, flying across the country from Georgia. Newer still in my business. But I knew that I had stories within me, but I didn't know how to share them. And I knew that when I was doing workshops and training and speaking that I needed to be better. And I knew that this was a big piece of the puzzle and what you just did when you were telling the story.

Suzie Price: [00:14:57] 

I could see the nine steps storytelling, the storytelling structure coming in. So what you've done is, through this situation you've created this structure that anybody I mean, I can be creative and I am creative and I can be kind of funny, but I'm also really kind of into details and I can be kind of serious. And so you help me figure out, like, what are the elements to make something funny, you know? So there's this one thing where I'll say, he was like, we needed Mother Teresa. And he was like, Simon Cowell or some of those things where you share these... That's not really funny, but I can't think of one off the top of my head, but you share how to be funny, and then you share with the movement, and your coaching was spot on, and it was a small group, and I don't know if you're still doing those one on one coaching or group coaching now, but it's it's a wonderful process. 

Doug Stevenson: [00:15:52] 

I don't do Story Theater Retreats anymore. I kind of evolved out of that. I aged out of it for one thing. Now I have retired from the road after 25 years with like 2 million flight miles and hotels and buses and jet lag all over the world. I am now retired from speaking on the road. I only do virtual coaching here in my studio in Tucson, Arizona, and so I'm still coaching, which is what I mean. Your title, Wake Up Eager. Well, I wake up every day knowing I've got a coaching student today. I'm going to help somebody. I'm going to help somebody get where they want to go to find their message, to find their story, to craft their story, to give a Ted Talk, to give a speech, to make a difference in the world. I wake up eager, knowing I've got a coaching client today, and I'm going to get on that Zoom call with that person, and I'm just going to know what to say and what to do. And I had a lady yesterday who, like you, I worked with ten years ago and she is at a new place in her speaking a new evolution in her development as a person wanting to get back out and do some speaking again in a different way with a new message.

Doug Stevenson: [00:17:03] 

And she was coming to me to say, I need you to help me figure out who I am now and what I want to say and how I want to be perceived. And I thought, I can do that. I know how to do that. I know how to help you identify the stories, the lessons, the points, but also just to coach you as a human being on your presence, your power, your sense of self. And that's the gift that has evolved over years. And I just trust myself with that. Now when somebody comes to me, it's like they know because she literally said I was getting a little bit weird. I was getting a little bit insecure, and I knew I needed to call Doug. He's going to get me grounded. He's going to help me. He's going to calm me down. He's going to get me focused, and I'm going to be able to go forward. And so there we are.

Suzie Price: [00:17:49] 

And then you know what? It's because it is like you need the structure. And I think about where I was in 2009. And then you need the confidence. So the structure helped me come in with the story to bring to the workshop, for example. So I had that. But the confidence and the vulnerability and how to be real in front of people and how to just be myself and not have all this other stuff in the way, is what you tackle. And I remember you gave us positive affirmations. And then here's one thing that I just thought about the other day: Keb Mo, the singer Keb Mo? 

Doug Stevenson: [00:18:23] 

I love Keb Mo.

Suzie Price: [00:18:24] 

I use those in workshops all the time now. I play them if I were in person and it's, "I'm amazing". The lyrics of that, I'll put that in the show notes, but it's just a beautiful song. I have it on my playlist. "I'm amazing", and the other one is, "Let Your Light Shine", from his album. But all of those things, it's, you know, it is that combination of. Yes, I need a structure and I need to practice and know how to do it, but then I need to find my way in who I am in the presence of this. And like you said, sense of self and comfort in that. And that's definitely a journey. If we were all good speakers and good storytellers, we'd all be keynote speakers and do that. But we're not. So you can help people find their story. If they've experienced something, they want to express it to the world. You help with that. You can also help, if a leader or CEO is needing to present, what's next for the company? Do you help with that kind of thing, too?

Doug Stevenson: [00:19:20] 

Well, I help with whatever messaging they're trying to get across. I remember a couple of different executives that I worked with in both cases, they were presidents. But there can be many presidents, you know, district presidents, you know, uh, of a company or a division president. Both of these gentlemen were presidents who wanted to be CEO. There was an opening at the top. The CEO or the founder was going to retire. And one of these gentlemen was in Georgia, actually, and there were two presidents vying to be CEO. And he said, I want that spot, Doug and I need to be a better presenter. I need to tell a better story. I need to have something that separates me, because the other guy and I we're pretty much both qualified. But it's not the qualifications alone. There's an intangible. And so I helped him with that. And the other, the other CEO or the other president that came to me, he was coming up from accounting. So he was a bean counter and he knew he was a bean counter. He was real cerebral. And he said, but I have to be able to show that I can inspire, that I can lead. And I helped him with a story as well. And he ended up getting the job. It's very case specific. Somebody comes to me and they say, this is what I'm trying to accomplish, or this is the message that I need to get across. And sometimes it's because a top level leader is going to be speaking to the entire company, like 1200 people at a big hotel conference center, and they don't do that. That's not what they do.

Doug Stevenson: [00:20:56] 

They're not a main stage presenter. And they say, I need to be able to come across as inspiring to these people because they don't know me. They know my name. They know my title. They never see me. They don't work with me. And so this is my one shot to get up there and do something that'll make an impression. And so I work with those people, but I also work with sales reps that are going out and calling on clients and overcoming objections. So in the corporate world, I work with all kinds of different people, but a lot of the people that come to me are entrepreneurs. They're individuals who want to give a Ted Talk, or they have an issue or something that they believe in, climate change or whatever, and they want to be able to get out and bring people over to their way of thinking or their side. And so it's all over the place. But the bottom line is somebody comes to me and they say, I have to get this right. I can't miss this opportunity. I've got this one opportunity. I need to nail it. And with Ted Talks especially, it's like I have an opportunity to give a Ted Talk, but I need to be chosen or I've been chosen, but now I don't know what the hell to do. They gave me eight minutes or they gave me ten minutes and it's like, I don't know how to do ten minutes. So it's all over the place. But I've been able to do it all. I've been able to help people with all of it.

Suzie Price: [00:22:19] 

What would be some of the tips and tools for people who are listening right now? We've all felt at times we're in front of a group and we're not connecting. We prepared. We've thought about what we're going to share. We're feeling really good when we walk in the room, and then we start talking and we see the glazed over look from people. We're not feeling like we're connecting. Talk a little bit about that. I know everybody's felt it. What do we do to connect better? How do we build bridges? How do we engage some of your tools and tips?

Doug Stevenson: [00:22:53] 

Yeah it is quite the challenge because I believe that when you stand in front of an audience and it's your material and your stories, there is an underlying sense of insecurity beneath, underneath everything that says, is this the right story? Am I the right person for this room? Are they buying this? Are they with me? And you look out at those sea of faces and you can't tell. But what do we do? We interpret that they're not with us. We interpret the negative. We always go to that. Oh my God, they're not with me. Oh, I've lost them. The insecurity just rises up and overwhelms us and boom, we've lost our power, lost our mojo. Oh my God, I was so confident. Now I've lost it. And it is so hard to live in that space when I'm here, I know what I'm doing. I'm going forward. I don't care if you look like you're grumpy or not. Well, I learned this lesson in two instances. I'll tell you two stories. One was very early on, and I had been giving keynotes for a while, and I had a couple of my stories down. I had my true love story about meeting my wife, Deborah, and I had my look for the limo story about flying in the same day as a keynote and getting delayed in Chicago and barely making it to my keynote on time and freaking out.

Doug Stevenson: [00:24:03] 

And I was up in front of this audience, about 140 people in this small room outside of O'Hare airport. And I was up there and I was rocking and rolling, and I was having a real good time. I was telling my stories and I was doing my material, and I felt really strong. But there was this one woman, oh my God, she was giving me these vibes. That just freaked me out. I thought, oh my God, this woman hates me. She has got her arms crossed over her chest. She is shaking her head. No no no no no. And every time I tried to avoid looking at her because every time I looked at her, she just stole my energy and I was giving my energy away to this woman every time I looked at her. And I was so freaked out that at one point, in the middle of a very powerful story that I had told many times, I went up and going up is what actors call I can't remember the next line. Yeah, I'm lost. And speakers go up too. It's like, I don't know where I am. Well, I got so flustered that I stopped. I lost my place and I had to ask someone in the front row, I'm sorry, where was I? What was I saying? And they told me what I was doing and what I was saying.

Doug Stevenson: [00:25:15] 

It was like rebooting the computer. I regained my energy and I carried on. And I finished the speech and I got a nice round of applause because I knew what I was doing. I was good. It's just that one moment of giving away my power. Well, everybody started to leave the room and I'm looking at this woman and making sure she better leave. She better get out of here because I want to talk to these nice people that liked me, that want to say thank you. This was great. Well, finally, the last person that was standing there next to me, you know how people come up to you and they want to say thanks and they want to talk to you and everything? Well, finally, the last nice person walked away. And here comes what I call dagger lady. I call her dagger lady because I felt that she was throwing daggers of negativity at me. Well, she walks up to me and I'm thinking, oh my God, here it comes. She's going to lay into me. She'd been crying. Her nose was red, her face was wet.

Doug Stevenson: [00:26:08] 

She'd been dabbing tears. And she said to me, thank you so much for being here today and for the things that you said about letting go. I lost my husband to cancer six months ago, and I haven't been able to let go of him. I've been holding on, and your story today about letting go helped me to finally have the courage to let go. I believe that God sent you here for me today. Thank you so much. And she gave me this big, wonderful, warm hug. And then she walked away. And I remember standing there thinking, oh my goodness, I so misinterpreted what was going on with this woman. And so I learned the lesson that day that when you're speaking, you can notice what's going on in the audience. You can notice the body language, you can notice the faces, but you can never interpret them. While you're speaking. And so the phrase that pays the lesson here is notice, never interpret. Because if you interpret, you will interpret negatively that somebody's not with you or they're bored or they don't like you. And so I had to learn and carry that lesson forward time after time after time. And the next little vignette that I want to share with you, I was up in front of a room. You know my background.

Doug Stevenson: [00:27:29] 

I was an actor. I was a failed actor. I was a realtor in Colorado Springs. It's like, and I built a speaking business based on nothing. I don't have any college degrees. I don't have a PhD. I've never, like, done a thesis. I'm not a famous person, but I'm up in front of this room full of military people in dress uniforms. This was an all military audience. Air force, Navy, Army, Marines, Coast Guard. And they're all in their dress uniforms, very, very spiffy with the little epaulets and the medals and stuff. And I'm thinking, what am I doing in front of these people? I don't have any military background. How do I connect with these people? And I remember having to go through this process that I'd had to go through a couple of times where I thought when I was doing Story Theater Retreats with you guys, when I was speaking to a speaker group, a national speakers group, I never felt nervous because I felt like, well, this is just us. We're all speakers. We're all in the same business. We're all like a tribe. This is my tribe. Well, I'm standing there in front of these, getting ready to speak to these military people that I'm thinking they're not my tribe. This is not my tribe.

Doug Stevenson: [00:28:37] 

I don't have any military background at all. How am I going to connect with them? And I realized I don't need to connect with them. I need to connect with myself. I need to connect in to my power and my presence and my stories and my abilities, and that will connect out to them, just like it did when I was an actor on stage. When I was an actor on stage, I never connected to the audience. I didn't worry about the audience. I connected it to what I was doing. So I practiced. Douglas, just connecting to what you're doing. Just do your dance, give your speech, tell your stories. They'll connect with you. And I'm going to notice. Never interpret. I'm not going to interpret what's going on out there, but I'm just going to do you. I'm just going to do Douglas. And so I did that. I just did Douglas and they loved it. And they responded the same way any audience would respond. They just had different costumes. They were just wearing a different costume than a corporate audience or some other audience. Just like nurses look like nurses and the military look like military and leaders look like leaders. They're all in suits. And, you know, it's like, oh, Douglas, just stop, connect in to connect out.

Suzie Price: [00:29:41] 

So some of the secrets to "connecting in" what would you say?

Doug Stevenson: [00:29:45] 

Well, trust yourself that you know what you're doing. And I had to use this yesterday when I was coaching this woman and she was worried about certain things. And I said, here's the secret. Love yourself and let them watch. It comes down to self-acceptance and self love and self appreciation and knowing your strengths, accepting your weaknesses, but knowing your strengths, knowing that you know what you do. And when I get up in front of an audience before I get up there, and this came out of me once in front of a speaker group, I said, when I get up to speak, this is what I say to myself, here I am. This is what I know. Let's go. No brag, no apology, here I am, this is what I know. Let's go and I go and I do what I know how to do. I just do what I do. And some people are going to love me. Some people are going to come back to me like you are from 2009. Here it is 2023. Some people are going to come back to me years later and go, I remember you. Oh my God, that was so wonderful. You're so great. And other people are going to think, who had the stupid idea to hire Doug Stevenson, who thought this guy was good? And you know what it's like they're not my job. I have a job to do. And I equate it to Mick Jagger giving a concert. He doesn't care what's going on in the room. Taylor Swift does not care what's going on in her audience. They're doing their job. They're doing what they do. They're singing their songs. Well, my stories are my songs, and I'm going to sing the heck out of them. And so I know, and this took a while. But there is a certain point it's like, I know what I do. I got hired to do it. I'm just going to do it. 

Suzie Price: [00:31:24] 

Yes! That's really been my journey, being a big part of my journey is the self-acceptance thing. I just did a a workshop virtually today with people all over the world earlier this morning, and I always know I'm ready when I sleep well and when I stop fidgeting with it. I mean, it's I know the material and I know the material, but I you have to be. There's another book called The War of Art. Have you heard of that with Steven Pressfield? But he talks about being a pro and being a pro is just doing everything you need to to be ready, you know, basically, and putting the time in, putting the practice in sharpening the skill, making sure that you've done everything you can to be as prepared as you can. And some of that is the mechanical pieces of it, and some of it is the content and the timing. And the other piece is of course, ourselves. That is quite a journey to go on, to be able to say, here I am, this is what I know, let's go. But, you know, you're in a good spot if you can say that and feel that. Right?

Doug Stevenson: [00:32:24] 

Yeah. But what's also really important is no brag, no apology. Right. That to me is very helpful for my self esteem. And my self awareness is like, I am not here to brag and talk about how wonderful I am and how smart I am and how I've done amazing things, but I'm also not going to apologize for who I am and what I know. Yeah, so no brag, no apology allows you to sit right in that sweet spot in the middle of yeah, I am here. This is what I know. Let's go. And then you just take off and you move people through what they need to be moved through. And at the end of the day, you go, and that's what it is. And thank you very much. And you move on to the next.

Suzie Price: [00:33:04] 

I did the best I could do with what I knew at that point.

Doug Stevenson: [00:33:06] 

That's right. Some are going to be great and some of them are going to be clunkers.

Suzie Price: [00:33:11] 

Yeah. And that's just part of getting out there and being in front of people.

Doug Stevenson: [00:33:15] 

That is, that is that that's why it's so challenging. That's why you need to love yourself and let them watch. Because different rooms, different audiences, different vibe, different stuff is going to happen. And occasionally one's going to just be a clunker and you have to just walk away and go, oh, well.

Suzie Price: [00:33:31] 

Oh well, yes. And you know, having the confidence of your system helps. So I liked when I came to your workshop, I can remember how vulnerable I felt. I can see myself back then. I mean, we all evolve and I still have a much more way to go. But the fact that I had done my homework, I had studied the process. I knew I walked in still kind of nervous because it's vulnerable. You don't know these people and you're going to present in front of them and then get feedback from a coach in front of them. But your process, if you and listeners, if you love Doug's stories. I was going through my mind as you were doing the stories, the nine steps of story structure, and I could hear each step along the way. And that's also something that gives you confidence. You know you've crafted a good story, you've put in the work, you've done the fitness reps in the gym. So you're ready for the competition or the race or whatever you've done. You're running and now you can finish the race, basically. But, you know, you set the scene, you introduce the characters, you begin the journey, you encounter an obstacle. You overcome the obstacle. You resolve the story. You make a point. Then you ask a question and then you do the phrase that pays. So I mean, you just did it every time. And each story that you told, it's a wonderful method and process. 

Doug Stevenson: [00:34:52] 

I think the thing that surprised me is that as I was evolving and building and growing my Story Theater Method, every time I would do a retreat, people would ask me a question which I didn't have an answer to. We would do something and I would say, okay, I want you to do this thing. And they'd say, ooh, what do you call that, Doug? And I'd have to say, um, oh, I don't know. Come on, guys, what should we call that? And we'd come up with a firm like, hold the moment or do the sprint or do the drag and out of that, I evolved the nine steps of story structure because I realized there's this hero journey out there, but the hero's journey is so obtuse. It is so weird. It is so strange. It's like the prince rescuing the damsel in distress and everything. It's very weird. Joseph Campbell language. Just like it doesn't apply to business, it is very hard to translate to business. So I broke it down into my nine steps and boy oh boy, did that set people free. Just like it sets you free. Because it's like, how do you tell a story? Well, let's start with the structure. Yes. Let's start by crafting the story based on steps. One, step two, step three. And these steps in this sequence will allow you to tell any story better. And what was amazing to me is, oh my God, I thought I was just this goofy creative, like ADHD, you know, crazy actor person. It's like, no, I actually have this analytical brain that breaks things down and analyzes them and creates methodologies and systems for people, systems around storytelling. It's a system. Yes. That's why I call it strategic storytelling. It's storytelling technology for people who need to tell a story to get a predictable result.

Suzie Price: [00:36:40] 

Yes, because you have these stories or these ideas all running through your head. And it's like you don't even know how to order them. But the minute you apply them to your method. And just starting there, it's like it all kind of crystallized. And I was like, well, wait a minute, I might give a good story. I think this might be a good story, you know?

Doug Stevenson: [00:36:56] 

And it doesn't have to be a big thing. It doesn't have to be some big, gigantic tragedy. No. The best stories, Garrison Keillor, the host of A Prairie Home Companion on National Public Radio, he's a master storyteller. And I listened to him on the radio for like 20 years. I was just mesmerized by how well he could tell a story and draw me in. And in an interview, he said, the best stories are about mistakes, failures and small disasters.

Suzie Price: [00:37:22] 


Doug Stevenson: [00:37:23] 

Well my goodness, mistakes? Got those! Failures? Small disasters? Well, I've got a lot of small disasters, a lot of screw ups, a lot of misunderstandings. I don't have any big hairy stories. I am known as a master storyteller. I don't have a climbing Mount Everest story. I didn't survive a tragic car accident. I didn't lose a limb. I have all my fingers and digits. So what have I got? Mistakes, failures, small disasters, misunderstandings, screw ups, dumb, dumb, dumb choices over and over again. Well, that frees me. I don't know about you, but mistakes, failures and small disasters. Misunderstandings. Okay, there you go. Now you got some stories?

Suzie Price: [00:38:11] 

Yep. And that's like in the workshop that I did today. I have a small disaster that relates to what we were covering, and I always share it. And then all of a sudden after you share it, everybody's like, because I need them to participate because we're going to create something together that they're going to use in their work, you know? And so all of a sudden everybody starts saying, well, yeah, me too. And, you know, it really just opens the door. And it was a small disaster. But it is related to the topic and, you know, it's just a miracle, uh, the way it engages people and it and that idea of connecting, creating a bridge of connection, it's through that process. So it's just amazing. You talk about how I saw something that you were presenting to Google, and you talked about how storytelling is a product or is like a product, and you talked about how Google had to tell stories in order to get their first investment. Right? And so making that connection makes this more to the very practical minded person who's listening. And like you said, it doesn't have a dramatic story to tell, but you've got to tell a story to get the engagement. Why do stories work so much? It's the emotion. Talk a little bit about that.

Doug Stevenson: [00:39:18] 

Well, first I want to address the story as a product. I had the experience of telling my streaking story many, many, many, many times in many, many keynotes. And I really worked on that story. I scripted it, I memorized it, I could replicate it time after time, and I was trying to get a speaker bureau to represent me. And all of these speaker bureaus would say, no, no, no, we don't take new people. You're not experienced enough. You don't have a recommendation. I don't know who you are. No, no, no, no. Well, I found this one speaker bureau in Iowa and she took a phone call with me one time, and she said my initial connection with her. She answered the phone. She said, all right, I got ten minutes. Tell me who you are. And we had a conversation. She said, you're not ready yet. Keep me informed. Let me know what you're doing. Well, I took her at her word and I kept her informed for years. I would send her reviews. I would send her videos. I would send her all kinds of different things to just keep me on top of mind. And one day, after years and years and years, I had a really good video of a good keynote and I sent it to her and I called her up and she said, you're ready, Doug. You're ready. You've been working it, you've been paying attention. You've really been doing your due diligence. But that streaking story, Doug, that is gold. I can sell that. And when she said that story is gold, I can sell that. That's when I realized the story is a product. It is something that someone can sell. It is something that someone buys. And so when I have been going out into the world of speaking, more often than not, I've been hired for two things.

Doug Stevenson: [00:40:52] 

One, I have a methodology. I have the Story Theater Method. I got the nine steps and the phrase that pays and all these different things. And people love methodologies because there's a lot of left brain. And engineers and they want the stuff. Yeah, the left brain stuff. But they also know he's going to tell that look for the limo story. And oh my God, we love that. Look for the limo story or the Oscar story about leadership. He's going to tell the story and show us how to do it. And so what you said just now, Suzie, about you told a little small disaster story in your workshop and everybody was like, oh, oh, oh, yeah. I had something like that story that stimulates within the listener their own story. They don't just passively listen to the story. They participate in the story as if what's happening in the story is happening to them. Now, when you do story theater and you act it out and you animate it like I did with my streaking story, people find themselves living inside the story. So once in a group of speakers that I was doing this for, I got done with the streaker story and I said, okay, so tell me, what was your experience while I was telling the story? And one lady said, I was in that movie theater line I saw you run by. I was giving you applause. I thought that was so great when you ran past, I was in the movie theater line and another person, and this really cracked me up. Another person said I was doing a ride along with the cop who arrested you.

Suzie Price: [00:42:24] 

Oh. What? What?

Doug Stevenson: [00:42:26] 

Talk about like a leap. An imaginary leap is like she wasn't a cop. She wasn't a person at the end of the alley, watching me being arrested naked. She was inside the cop car watching the cop arrest me because she was doing a ride along. That is when I knew, oh my God, this is the power of story. People don't just listen. And if you know what you're doing, you can literally bring them inside the story. And then when you make the point of the story, when you say look for the limo, notice, never interpret. They have been experiencing themselves in the story. And when you land the point, it goes deeper inside their system. They go, oh my God, that's what I needed. That is what I needed. Just like the lady who I called dagger lady who came up to me afterward and said, as a result of you telling your story about letting go, I was able to let go of my husband, who's been dead for six months. That, to me, is transformational. Yes. That's why stories are so powerful, if you know what you're doing. That's the caveat. If you know what you're doing, if you don't know what you're doing, and you just get up and you tell a story and it doesn't work, you probably walk away thinking, I'm not a good storyteller. That's not true. You just don't know how to use the tool.

Suzie Price: [00:43:45] 

Yes, you need a process.

Doug Stevenson: [00:43:47] 

You need a process. You need structure. You need somebody to help you craft the story. And my book does that. I'll hold up my book. So the people who are watching the video can see this.

Suzie Price: [00:43:57] 

And we'll put a link to it in the show notes. 

Doug Stevenson: [00:44:00] 

You can get it on Amazon, either as a paperback or as a download.

Suzie Price: [00:44:04] 

And we'll put a link to your podcast as well. Storytelling that Sticks, I think, is the name of it, right?

Doug Stevenson: [00:44:10] 

Storytelling That Sticks for Business and Life.

Suzie Price: [00:44:13] 

Gotcha. Okay, good. 

Doug Stevenson: [00:44:15] 

What a joy it is to be able to repurpose my content and methodology and stories onto a podcast now. It's just so great.

Suzie Price: [00:44:21] 

Fantastic, fantastic. So let's continue on with a little bit. People can learn a little bit more about you. I always think that it's inspirational for people to understand who's influenced you in your life and career? What did they do and say that influenced you?

Doug Stevenson: [00:44:38] 

Boy, I tell you what, looking back, I had no idea because I had a contentious relationship with my father. But my father, Jerry Stevenson, was an incredible mentor and role model for me because he was always at the front of the room. When I was growing up, he was the Boy Scout leader. He was a Cub Scout leader. He was the president of this group. He was the president of that group. He was always at the front of the room, running the meeting, giving the speeches, reading poetry, singing a song. He was just always there. And he got me my first speaking gig in Boy Scouts when I was 13 for this public speaking merit badge. And he got me this gig, and it wasn't a paid gig, but, I mean, it was an opportunity for me to give a speech like a five minute speech in front of 150 business leaders. And so there wasn't this fancy hotel up there in my Boy Scout uniform behind a lectern. I actually have a little picture of it at 13 years of age giving my first speech. So he was an incredible role model for me, and I didn't realize until many years later it's like, oh my God, I'm at the front of the room like my dad now. The next one was my first acting teacher. He's a man named Ted Lewis in Chicago. I started studying with him when I was 19, and he drew out things in me that I didn't know I had, and that was a foundational thing for me.

Doug Stevenson: [00:45:49] 

Later on when I started coaching, I realized he challenged me. He didn't let me skate. Just like I challenged you when you came to me. He challenged me. He brought out the best in me. He made me go further and further and. Deeper and higher and wider and it's like, oh my God, leave me alone, God, would you leave me alone? But he wouldn't leave me alone. He kept challenging me and challenging me, and I became a really good speaker. But what I did not realize once again, I was the analytical person watching how he would coach other people and get the best out of other people, which showed up when I started coaching people in my Story Theater Retreat. It's like I saw how it's done. I saw how you challenged people, how you drew them out, how you got the best out of them. And then when I got into speaking, I remember one of the first times I was in a National Speakers Association meeting and a speaker named W Mitchell got up and he did his presentation now. W Mitchell has a crucible story. He has tragedies. He got burned when he was on his motorcycle and a truck pulled out from in front of him, and he and he laid his bike down on the ground and it burst into flames and he got burned.

Doug Stevenson: [00:47:00] 

And then years later, after he was healed from being burnt, he was flying a plane and he crashed and he got and he got crippled and he got up there and he was doing a speech that in a wheelchair, but he was using staging and dramatic silence and movement and inflection in a way that allowed me to see that I could do what he was doing, that I could be the dramatic actor, that I was in plays as a speaker. And he was just modeling. He didn't come out and talk to me. I just watched it and went, I can do this. I can be a speaker, I can be a speaker. And then my last role model has been my wife, Deborah Merriman. You met her in the retreats and she has been a revelation to me. She has changed the story of my life because up until Deborah, I had never had a successful relationship. I didn't think I was capable of having a successful relationship. I thought I was flawed and damaged and you name it, just go down the list of I'm Broken and when I met her and I got with her, I realized I can be in a relationship.

Doug Stevenson: [00:48:05] 

She was showing me how to be in a relationship. She is teaching me how to be in a relationship, how to be in a loving relationship, how to be supported. And she has taught me so much over the years how to communicate, how to be supportive, how to argue just all of those things. And also in our business, I mean, she's the VP of everything here. She's been an inspiration to me on a daily basis because she is able to help me to know when I'm going off track with what I do and when I'm on task, when I'm straight on task, when I'm in my sweet spot. And so she's kind of my coach and my guru and my guide in 12 different levels, and she's just been an incredible role model. So these are some of the people I have learned so much from her and so much from all these others. But I've also learned a lot from my students. My students taught me how to coach them because they would comment to me afterwards. And I still remember the first person who said, do you have any idea how good you are at this coaching thing? Do you have any ideas? You don't, do you? I was like, no, I don't know what I'm doing. It's like, well, you're really good. And I was kind of flying blind. I was like, I'm just doing it, but I don't know what I'm doing. And my students helped me to learn. What am I doing?

Doug Stevenson: [00:49:23] 

And they also asked me questions and challenged me, you know, and my audience members challenged me. So I've learned by doing the one thing that I think I would encourage people to do is don't be afraid to try things and fail and fall on your face and learn from those experiences. I mean, going streaking and getting arrested naked. That was a huge, stupid risk. And oh my God, it transformed my entire life. It was one of the most pivotal things I've ever done in my life. Hitchhiking across the country with 250 bucks in my pocket. Oh my God, get out there, folks. Get out there. Get out there and do stuff. Try stuff. Fail. Oh, well, whatever you'll learn.

Suzie Price: [00:50:02] 

Yeah. Explore. See what happens. And so much of that too is kudos to you in regard to willing to take the risk and then learning from the risk, you know, learning from what happened and then taking that and saying, okay, now what? Not letting it take you down.

Doug Stevenson: [00:50:21] 

You just gotta start where you are. And learn as you go. I think I think the thing that holds a lot of people back is, well, I don't want to look like a fool. Yeah, well, in not wanting to look like a fool, you look like a fool. In trying to avoid pain, you create more pain. By not taking a risk. You risk not having any experiences that are worth remembering.

Suzie Price: [00:50:43] 

Staying safe is boring.

Doug Stevenson: [00:50:45] 

Well, I remember there's a sign in the retreat. You might have it, safe is a very dangerous place to be.

Suzie Price: [00:50:53] 

Yes. When we speak and present, we bring ourselves to whatever we're doing. And so I've learned more and more how important it is. And you said it, connect with yourself. And I think we can do a much better job connecting with ourselves if we're taking care of ourselves. And so I would be curious about when you are presenting, people underestimate or don't often talk about how much toll that can take on you personally and how you feel physically and how even more important it is to take care of yourself. So talk about some of your favorite things that you do around mind, body, spirit have helped you kind of stay centered and stay connected with yourself. I know you're a runner, so that'll be one of the things that you talk about maybe.

Doug Stevenson: [00:51:36] 

I was on track in high school and I sucked, but I was on track and I liked the physical activity. And I've always been a runner whenever I can. That's what I'd always done. And I realized when I was on the road, it's like, oh my God, I'm out of shape. I need to have more stamina. So I started running and I took running seriously. And I did a lot of 5K's, 10K's. I've done six half marathons, but then my knee kind of gave out on me and I couldn't get it to come back. And so I got on my bike and I started riding my bike. And so physical activity going into the gym here in Tucson in the summer, you can't ride your bike. It's too darn hot. So I go into the gym and then in the winter months, I can get on my bike and I could ride 15 miles. And so physical activity of some kind. And I've always done yoga. Yoga is incredibly important. Nutrition, learning how to eat correctly, getting rid of sugar, getting rid of flour.

Doug Stevenson: [00:52:29] 

You know, learning to balance things, breaking patterns that are self-destructive, patterns of belief or behavior. So in terms of what have I done? I've had to recognize my destructive patterns and break those. That's how I ended up being with Deborah. I've had to recognize what my nutritional patterns are. I've realized now I'm 73 years old. Alcohol is not my friend. It just is not my friend. I don't sleep well, and if I don't sleep well, I don't function well. So, you know, those are some of those. And also I've had to learn the hardest lesson, which is to remove toxic people from your life. If there are people that you avoid being with, because when you're with them, you get that pit in your stomach and you just know this is going to be bad. I won't know what to say. I'll have to lie. I'll have to hide. It's like I'm avoiding them. Well, then get rid of them. Even if they're family, get rid of them. Yeah. So there's. There's all of these different things we have to confront first.

Suzie Price: [00:53:30] 


Doug Stevenson: [00:53:31]

I've had to confront myself on my patterns. Douglas, this is what you did that caused you pain in Los Angeles in Hollywood? This is what caused you pain. You were a drama queen. You did stupid things. You did that to yourself. Stop doing that. In a relationship. You kept choosing the same kind of woman and it never worked. Stop doing that. So I've had to confront myself time and time again and oh my God, that's hard because you end up going to say, oh my God, I'm the only common denominator in all this pain. Yes, I did this to myself. And so those kinds of things. But there's just so much to do in terms of life balance. And it all comes down to self-analysis. Yeah. And hanging out and supporting your supporting yourself by being with the right people and getting rid of the wrong people, literally delete them from your life, cut them out, family or no family, cut them out and surround yourself with the family of your choice, the people who love you and support you and help you and call you out. Yes, on your off track.

Suzie Price: [00:54:30] 

That's wonderful. It's wonderful. It's what we do. Mind, body, spirit and what we do with the people, how we take care of ourselves. That is how we connect with ourselves more easily. When we're speaking or presenting. We can't be all wrung out and then go out there and think that we're going to present and take the energy from the people in the room and be able to handle it.

Doug Stevenson: [00:54:50] 

I have felt that as an actor, I could hide in a role, and I wasn't alone up there and it wasn't my lines, and so I could be totally free within the role as an actor. But when it was like Doug Stevenson out there trying to do stand up comedy, I was absolutely lost. I had no idea. And I have found that the most challenging place to be is to stand at the front of the room as the expert in that room on a topic, and to do your material and your stories, and to trust that you're enough, that you're smart enough, that you're good enough, that you're talented enough, that you're good looking enough, whatever. And to get rid of all this. But I'm not enough, and I'm not smart enough, and I don't have and I'm not. And it's like you just got to get to the place of self-acceptance, self-love, love yourself and let them watch. And there was a point at which I was giving a speech, a keynote speech. And I realized as an actor, this would be considered a one man show. I wrote an entire one man show. Yeah, like Mark Twain tonight or something, or somebody doing Abraham Lincoln. It's like I'm doing a one man show, but I'm the man. And I realized, oh my gosh, I'm doing a one man show and I'm the star of the show. And this is great.

Suzie Price: [00:56:00] 

It's something honoring about just acknowledging that because I know when I come down off of this workshop, that is my material that I've created, that I've lived with, I've massaged into being, you know, I've thought about every part of it to make it add value. And then I've thought of the stories and the segues, and then you do it and it goes, well, there's just no way to describe to anybody else how that feels, because it isn't. It isn't like you're delivering somebody else's stuff. It's your stuff and how vulnerable you feel when it doesn't work out, it's devastating. Or when you even make some mistakes. I can be particularly hard on myself, and I'm better and better at it. And I, you know, in a much better place. But it's, it's a, it's harder and it's not something that people talk about that much that are in the role of presenting or facilitating or speaking. I don't know how much people talk about it, but it's common to have self-doubt.

Doug Stevenson: [00:56:55] 

It causes us to do self-therapy.

Suzie Price: [00:56:58] 


Doug Stevenson: [00:56:58] 

Doesn't it cause you to look at yourself and go, so, Suzie, why are you why are you hard on yourself? Why are you giving yourself a hard time? They loved it. People said it was wonderful. Why are you giving yourself a hard time? They're not giving you a hard time. Why are you? And it's just been the most amazing thing for me to work through all of my stuff to get to this place, of this is an act of service, Douglas. This is not about you. This is an act of service. You are being compassionate to these people in the room. You want to help them. Therefore get out of your own way. Yes. Do your dance, sing your song, tell your stories and let them have an experience of themselves. And everybody is in a different place. Yes. Aren't they? Suzie, some of the people in your room are so ripe for your message at that moment. And they're just like, ah, they're just gobbling it up. It's exactly what they needed at that moment. And other people are not quite ready, but they're getting what they need. Okay, the seed has been planted. They got what they needed. They just didn't look like it. Not everybody's going to come up and give you a hug and tears.

Suzie Price: [00:58:04] 

Yes. They're not. They're not. And you know, so much so was that an issue for me? I mean early on I think after I did your workshop, I so much wanted to feel better and I knew I wasn't. And I ended up hiring a coach to kind of help me figure out what is getting in the way, because I've got the skills, I know what I'm doing, I've got the methodologies. I, you know, what else is it that is stopping me? So it's like you're breaking self destructive patterns. Um, and she was able to untangle some of that for me. And if it takes that I think if, you know, I'm here to live fully um, I'm here I talk about wake up eager and it's just as important for me to have that in my life. And, um, you know, grew up with role models that didn't and became very determined, you know, to make it different. But it's a journey and it's not easy. And if you have a visible role, if you're a leader in front of a company or a team, um, there's always vulnerabilities there. And just, uh, taking care of yourself and doing all the things that we've been talking about, uh, can help get you there and help it go better to help you feel better.

Doug Stevenson: [00:59:05] 

The rewards to me, the rewards of loving yourself and letting them watch and developing methodologies and systems and good content, good material that is useful to people. The reward is so exponential because not only do you get to make a difference in the lives of the people in that room, people validate you by hiring you and paying you lots of money and asking you to come and speak all over the place. I have spoken in Malaysia and Japan and Australia and Germany and Austria and the Netherlands and Spain and Portugal and England and Ireland and Canada and Costa Rica and Colombia. It's like, oh my gosh, what is with these people that are asking me to come to Malaysia? I don't even know where it is on a map. I had to look it up after this guy said, I want you to come to Malaysia and speak in Kuala Lumpur. And I'm like, great. And I hung up the phone. I said, Deborah, we need a map. We're going to Malaysia. Where is it? What is it? I don't know what it is, but I mean, the dual reward of you can feel amazing about yourself because you've given this gift and it's self validating. You've made a difference in the room to those people. But also people will say, oh my God, hire Suzie Price. She's amazing. She will transform this room full of people. She will give them the content. But she's also just awesome. Hire Suzie Price, and all of a sudden you start getting hired all over the place and you get to get on a plane and go somewhere and go, this is awesome.

Suzie Price: [01:00:34] 

Yeah, this is awesome.

Doug Stevenson: [01:00:36] 

I mean, I spoke in London. It's like I never get I wouldn't have gone to London. I wasn't planning on going to London. I did a keynote in a workshop on the south of Spain, on, on the Mediterranean, in the south of Spain. And as I was there, I'm looking at the Mediterranean out the door, and I'm in this fancy resort and I'm thinking, oh my goodness, little old Douglas, who didn't make it in Hollywood, is standing here in a resort. On the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean is like, what a wonderful thing. How is this? Well, it happens because you've taken the time to work on yourself, work on your material and work on your stories.

Suzie Price: [01:01:15] 

Yes, there we go, there we go. What would you tell your 25 year old self?

Doug Stevenson: [01:01:19] 

When I saw that question on the questionnaire asking me, what would I say to my 25 year old self? I'd been in Los Angeles for three years. I was trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do, and how I was going to make it in Hollywood. Trying to make it in Hollywood is like climbing Mount Everest without shoes. It's just really weird. And I can remember being 25 and I would say to myself, you're good. Just keep doing what you're doing. You're okay. You're learning what you need to learn, because I don't look back with regret and say, oh my God, I would change this or I would change that. It's like, because I can now see all the patterns unfolding, how.

Suzie Price: [01:01:54] 

It all led to where you are today. You had to have those experiences to be where you are today and haven't been looking out in the Mediterranean.

Doug Stevenson: [01:02:03] 

It's a mystical, magical adventure. And I would say to my 25 year old self, just keep going for it. Because when I was 24, I did the streaking thing.

Suzie Price: [01:02:12] 

That was when you did that, okay.

Doug Stevenson: [01:02:15] 

So when I was 25, it's like I was doing some experimental stuff and I was trying stuff and I was running around trying to get an agent and I was teaching yoga and it's like, oh my God, my life was pretty, pretty fascinating. It was an adventure.

Doug Stevenson: [01:02:37] 

I think one of my answers is you can't screw this up. You cannot screw your life up. You might think you're screwing your life up, but you can't screw it up. If you marry the wrong person, you get a divorce. Oh, well, you can't screw it up. You weren't supposed to be with that person long term. If you get into the wrong job and you have to quit. Okay, fine. If you, you know, make mistakes. If you gain too much weight or you smoke or you drink or it's like, okay, fine, you can't screw it up. You're learning what you need to learn and you will evolve into the person you need to be, or you'll just suffer in pain for the rest of your life. So figure it out, guys. Choose. Make better choices.

Suzie Price: [01:03:14] 

Yes, I like that you can't get it wrong because you're never done. That's right. You're not done. You just keep trying again and again and learn from each thing. If you could put a billboard anywhere, where would you put it and what would it say?

Doug Stevenson: [01:03:27] 

You know, there are these billboards that are on, uh, like vans or trucks. That's like an electronic billboard on a truck that's moving around the city.

Suzie Price: [01:03:36] 


Doug Stevenson: [01:03:36] 

And on the side of that billboard, I would have, love yourself and let them watch. Uh, and then it would say safe is a very dangerous place to be, and it would just keep rotating. Safe is a dangerous place to be. Love yourself and let them watch and would just keep rotating and it would just drive around town and it wouldn't be in some like strategic place. It would be anywhere at any given time. And it would always be in the right place at the right time, which is what I would also say to you and me is we're always at the right place, at the right time doing exactly what we need to be doing. Just keep doing it. Yes, do your dance, tell your stories

Suzie Price: [01:04:17] 

Do your dance, tell your stories. It's such an honor to do that. Life is really, really good. And let's close with your wisdom or advice you'd like everybody to remember around storytelling or anything that we talked about today.

Doug Stevenson: [01:04:31] 

Well my message around storytelling is that you have the stories. They're right there in your life. So you start with the point in mind. What is it that you want to teach? What is it that you want to share with an audience? What's that lesson? And then you go in search of the story where you learned that lesson. And it doesn't have to be a big story. It doesn't have to be something that, like nobody else has experienced. It's your story. It's your life. So once you identify what is the lesson that I want to teach? What is the story that fits that? Where did I learn that either from observing someone or from my own personal experience, and then get to work with my Story Theater Methodology? The nine steps. The phrase that pays look for the limo, pick a date, notice, never interpret. Work the methodology. And you can take a very simple, ordinary moment in time, a meaningful moment. And with craft and development and time, you can turn that into something that is very healing and illuminating for someone else. So the first thing is, don't think that you have to have some big story. You do not.

Suzie Price: [01:05:36] 

Yes, you do not. Yes. Now, like you reminding us of the starting point, what is the lesson that I'm trying to get across?

Doug Stevenson: [01:05:44] 

I remember somebody came to me once with a story for coaching and he said, I want to work on this story. And I said, okay, go ahead, tell me the story. And he told me the story. And when he got done, I said, why are you telling me that story? What is the point? I don't know why you're telling me that story. And he says, well, it's funny. And I said, yes, it's funny. What's the point? What's the utility? What's the lesson? He says, well, I don't know what the point is. I just like it because it's funny. I said, we're not here to just tell stories that have no point or no utility or no lesson. We're here to learn how to tell stories that do something, that teach something that moves the needle, that help someone. And so it was a real lesson to me. It's like, oh, people think I've got a story, but I don't know what to do with it. It's like, well, then figure out what to do with it because it's a tool. And unfortunately, if you tell a story that doesn't have a point, people will follow you right to the end of that dead end, and then they'll be sitting there with you at the end of a dead end going, why are we sitting at the end of a dead end street? And you're like, well, I don't know. I just started driving. You have to start with the point in mind and then you drive the story to that point.

Suzie Price: [01:06:50] 

Yes. Well. Thank you for being you and thank you for your journey and sharing it with us today. I love, love your story, love the work you do that you've done, and I'm glad we're reconnected.

Doug Stevenson: [01:07:04] 

Well, it's a pleasure to be reconnecting with you and to all of your Suzie fans out there. Keep listening to Suzie. She's giving you good stuff.

Suzie Price: [01:07:11] 

Thank you. Take care.

Suzie Price: [01:07:13] 

So I hope you enjoyed our conversation as much as I enjoyed having it. I feel so blessed to be able to do this podcast and have these just high energy, meaningful conversations. Doug is a treasure. His book and his storytelling process is amazing. So I really encourage you to go get his nine Steps to Storytelling. In his book, The Story Theater Method. Go register for his podcast or put it in your podcast feed and just check him out. If you have a special talk and you need support, reach out to him. He will not fail you and he is so encouraging and has the science and the structure to help you. And it's just a perfect mix. I'm so glad that I got to experience him 1 to 1 all those years ago. He will help you craft a story based on that structure. And you'll find out that you can really tell stories and that you do have this great storytelling potential within you. Even if you are thinking right now, there's no way I even know what to do. I love his emphasis on the importance of self-trust, self love, and self-appreciation. You know, he talked about speaking to the military audience, and we all have those moments. And I'm hoping or assuming that you are related to that as well. And I had a real aha moment back in 2009 and continued to realize that more and more every day now is that we don't need to connect with our audience, but we've got to connect with ourselves.

Suzie Price: [01:08:43] 

And when we do that, we will connect with the audience. And so connecting with ourselves means different things. And for me, over time, it's been about feeling really comfortable and assured in what I'm delivering. So I feel like I've mastered whatever it is I'm delivering. That's what helps me connect with myself. Having a good night's rest, taking good self care, getting some experience, practicing, you know, all of those things. And I think that when people do this really well, it looks like it was easy. And we don't realize how much work went in behind the scenes to make it look easy. And so if it's hard and you've got to do a lot, a bit of work to perfect it, just understand that you're right on track. That was something that I really learned too, that there, you know, the people that do this really well are people who have practiced and put in the work, and it's worth it's worthy work. There's nothing better than moving an audience or delivering your message in a way that you intended. There's a self-confidence that you can't get from any other thing. When you have set your goal on something and then reached it by doing the work. So I also love what we talked about around maintaining confidence and self-assurance and just enjoyed him so much.

Suzie Price: [01:09:59] 

And I'm so happy that we had a chance to reconnect and that he took the time to connect with us. So thank you for tuning in. Thank you for being a part of the Wake Up Eager Workforce podcast. We certainly would love you to leave us a review. They make a difference for us. We've gotten some reviews lately, and it really just lifts my spirits and lets me know that you are tuning in and you're getting something from these episodes. And be sure to give us a review. If you're not sure how to do that, go to and you'll see how to leave a review. And if you do leave us a review, shoot me a note at S-u-z-i-e and I will send you a complimentary Wake Up Eager Motivators Assessment and access to some tools and resources that can help you understand it. So just thank you for tuning in. Subscribe to us wherever you get your podcasts. Wake Up Eager Workforce podcast and we will see you on the next episode. And. Continue just going out and living the life you love and creating days that you do really do. Wake up eager. You're happy about what you're doing and who you are, right? Thank you. Take care.

Intro/Outro: [01:11:24] 

This episode of the Wake Up Eager Workforce podcast was brought to you by Priceless Professional Development. Thank you for tuning in. If you enjoyed today's show, head over to to gain access to more professional development resources.

Contact us to schedule a Complimentary Consulting Call

or to ask questions about any of our Hiring,
Coaching, Training and Assessment services.

Copyright © 2004-2021 Priceless Professional Development

Privacy Policy   |   Sitemap   |   Powered by Solo Built It!