Newsletters

Root Canal and Mink Coat: Finding Tensions in Opposites

By Jean Storlie / February 2, 2015 / 8 Comments

The Chicago wind slapped my face as I stepped out of the dentist’s office on Valentine’s Day in 1989. My first root canal and no plans for a romantic evening … or any romantic prospects on the horizon … had me down. It was 3 pm and I felt lousy, so I decided to go…

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Don’t Let Other People’s Inhibitions Stifle Your Creativity

By Jean Storlie / October 31, 2014 / 5 Comments

I’ve always been an enthusiastic Halloween Mom, decorating the house for parties, sewing elaborate costumes, hosting my kids’ friends for pizza before trick-or-treating, and inviting all the “spirited souls” (young and old) to join the fun. Sometimes, I even go over-the-top! Halloween Night when my son was 11 years old, he was the last of…

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“Stationwagon Trouble”: Stories to Convey Rather Than Convince

By Jean Storlie / August 1, 2014 / 2 Comments

My dad loaded the last pieces of luggage into the back of the station wagon. While spreading sleeping bags on top of the cooler and suitcases, he told my sister and me how “comfy” we would be riding in our “cozy bed.” At first, we thought it was fun, cuddled together, whispering and giggling. But…

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What “Say Yes to the Dress” Teaches Us about Creativity

By Jean Storlie / June 2, 2014 / 2 Comments

  When my daughter, Jayme, was 12-years-old, one of her favorite shows was “Say Yes to the Dress.” My first reaction was total dismay that they actually made an entire TV series about shopping for wedding dresses. But once she started recording the episodes on our DVR, I figured rather than dismiss it, I should…

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How Will the Animals Read? Watch Out for Communication Blind Spots

By Jean Storlie / May 1, 2014 / 1 Comment

One day, when my daughter was about 6 years old, my husband was helping her get ready for a Brownie Field Trip to the Humane Society. After signing the Permission Slip, he was ticking through the checklist of gear she needed, including old newspapers for animal bedding. I was upstairs on the landing supervising our…

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Change is Not a Light Switch: The Grief in New Year’s Resolutions

By Jean Storlie / January 6, 2014 / 4 Comments

Bernie joined the Cardiac Rehab program where I interned in grad school. He was angry and resistant to the lifestyle changes we promoted. I remember him standing in the back of my nutrition class, making jokes and snide remarks under his breath – he was distracting and made me feel uncomfortable. He sent his wife…

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Wallflower or Dancer? Three Common Barriers to Personal Storytelling

By Jean Storlie / December 10, 2013 / 1 Comment

During a networking breakfast, Maggie shared a story that had me transfixed: I vividly imagined her epiphany moment when she sat at her corporate desk in a large technology company at 8:30 one night and realized that she needed to leave her career in Information Technology. While searching internal job postings, she decided to roll…

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Secret Decoder Ring: Solving the Mystery of Social Tribes

By Jean Storlie / November 5, 2013 / 0 Comments

About a year after I joined General Mills in 1999, I was talking to a friend about how I still felt like an outsider. She said, “Jean, that’s because no one gave you the ‘secret decoder ring’ to help you understand the company’s culture.” At the time, I felt like she read my mind and…

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Watermelon Grudge: Your Customer is the Hero of Your Brand Story

By Jean Storlie / October 17, 2013 / 5 Comments

During the time when my mother was juggling life as a 50s housewife and mother of three pre-school kids in La Crosse, Wisconsin, she spotted an ad in the paper for 50¢ watermelons. Since they only had one car, she rushed out one noon hour when my dad was home for lunch to take advantage…

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Truth Wrapped in Story: Beware of the Evil Villain

By Jean Storlie / October 1, 2013 / 3 Comments

Truth, naked and cold, had been turned away from every home in the village. Her nakedness frightened people. When Parable found her she was huddled in a corner, shivering and hungry. Taking pity on her, Parable took her home, dressed Truth in story, warmed her and sent her out again. Clothed in story, Truth knocked…

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