- Our Town
What happens in the yurt stays in the yurt
I consider myself new to Bowen Island even though this August my family will be celebrating five years as post-townies. It was a gut decision to move our brood of five here, having only visited Artisan Square and driven around the island once. The truth is though, as with most of us here, the decision to move to Bowen made us and not the other way around. Now it wasn’t by some magical spell, accidental stumble upon, or happenstance, that we arrived, the decision to follow our heart lead the way and then continued, bringing me to Angelyn Toth’s Xenia Centre and delivering my new career as the founder/creator of Live Your Best Story, a boutique PR Firm and workshop series that connects the dots between personal development and branding.
I’ve made tons of decisions in my 43 years and this one wasn’t any more special than the other ones. There’s a pattern I follow when making big decisions: first I’m unshakeably restless, then I become unquenchably curious, on to incessant blathering, next I’m writing, writing and still writing, until finally the aha moment strikes and the decision makes me. Over and over again, this is my pattern. On to small decisions: they always start at the kitchen sink, I’ll be washing dishes and an insight will happen. Later in the day lightning will strike while I’m in the shower, followed by the instructions to implement as I’m hiking up the back of Mount Gardner with my dog, Muttley. This is how I hear my best story.
As most self-employed artists, I’ve worn many hats: Actor/Writer/Director, that would be career #1, Publicist/Marketer/Media Relations, as career #2, General Manager/Facilitator/Leader as #3, Filmmaker/Screenwriter #4, Entrepreneur/Network Marketer/Lipstick Lady as #5 and the ever-present maker of muffins, washer of dishes and folder of laundry Mom. Why does any of that matter? None of it does, yet all of it does. Each piece individually is just a different marble in my pocket, but roll them all together and it becomes a body of work that has been leading me to this place. Art, message, purpose, personal growth, leadership, branding… it’s all the same conversation to me. In my head, in my heart, listening to my ego, or to my calling… it’s all connected by one thing: story, and the real, authentic, punchy, POW story is the differentiator that can cut through the noise of all the blah blah blah ticker tape media out there, and the chattering board members that advise us from the table in our head. This is how I’ve given my best story.
Authenticity is the new spin that grabs listeners by the collar and shakes them to hear and calls them to action. We answer texts instead of the phone because the message is short with little noise to listen through. Our attention span isn’t shrinking, our tolerance of distraction is. When story is compelling, when life is delicious, when the message is worth hearing, we suddenly have all the time in the world. Personal growth and PR are connected. Tuning in to ourselves and mastering our own message is directly linked to giving our powerful story away. This is how we live our best story.
The workshop of LYBS happens because I see greatness in people and I fall easily into the story that lives inside them. Sounds lofty, but trauma has given me the gift of sight. Not to get too personal, but I’ve had a lot of death, upheaval, damage… you know, all the stuff great poetry is made from and through my own relentless unraveling of story (thousands of dollars and decades of therapy, books and workshops later), I’ve developed some pretty cool spidey senses and chops for deep listening. My Live Your Best Story career began when I decided to embrace mine by moving here. Through long showers, dishes and gut decisions, I keep jumping into the fire to fail, flail and to fly.
The world needs more of us in it, and three times per year at Xenia, at the end of Smith Road, stories get a chance to live. I can’t tell you much about that though, because during the workshop, what happens in the yurt, stays in the yurt.