Leadership and Storytelling with David Hutchens

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David Hutchens’s work centers on storytelling for leaders and businesses.  If you’ve been following this show for any amount of time, you’ll know how important story is to understanding who you are and how to find work you love.

David’s work centers on that idea.  As you’ll hear in the interview, he likes working with a few different types of stories.

We talk about his transition to his calling for storytelling, we give us some tips and tricks to be better storytelling leaders and even better parents, enjoy the episode.

Listen in here:

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In this episode you’ll learn:

  • What David Hutchens does. 
  • How David helps leaders to tell stories
  • Why David uses story types
  • David’s work inside big companies. 
  • David’s journey from advertising to HR
  • What we talk about when we talk about stories. 
  • Why leaders should be storytellers
  • Why you should tell your resilience stories to your kids at the dinner table

Resources Mentioned:

David’s website


Software Generated Transcription:

Dan: David. Welcome to The Meaning Movement podcast. I’m so excited to have you here with us today.

David: Thank you, Dan. I am a fan and I am delighted to be.

Dan: I love it. I love it. The question I like to start with is how do you begin to talk about the work that you do in the world?

David: So, um, it, it, it’s funny there. I was talking to my, my 86 year old mother, uh, uh, last week and she said, I still don’t know what to tell people when they ask me what you do for a living. And I’m like, Mom, I’ve written books about it. All you have to do is read one of the books. So, so what is it that I do for a living mom?

If you are listening? My, my role is to go around the world and help leaders and organizations tell stories. And they’re telling stories about who they are and what they do and why they do it. And so it simply, that’s what my work is. It

Dan: I love it. I love it. Why? Um, and we’ll get in. I wanna get all into your backstory, but let’s just ask this 1, 1, 1 question that will tease, you know, what’s to come. Why are, why is that important? Why do organizations and leaders need to tell stories?

David: it’s, it’s a simple idea. And as, as you certainly know, Dan, that when we tell stories, when people use this language that is narrative. Something different happens there. There’s a different kind of connection that happens when people start telling stories and, and it’s powerful. And if you’re a leader in an organization and you’re tasked with moving the work forward or to bringing the vision forward, We want that this connection that happens, we can bring that into more parts of the work that we do as leaders.

And so the, the work that I do most often, it’s, it’s a, it’s a day long learning experience where we’re building skills of strategically selecting certain kinds of stories, and then connecting ’em to the work that we care about so that we can create engagement and belief.

Dan: I love it. I love it. We’re

David: It’s

Dan: gonna, I know we’re gonna get it in deeper. Yeah. Deeper into all of that. But just to, to, um, rewind a little bit, how did you get into this specific, very specific, uh, and, and, um, I don’t, I wanna say unique, but that’s not right. I’m trying, what I’m trying to say is like mother, mother confusing kind of work, right.

The kind of, kind of work that, that, uh, that’s harder, hard. Ethereal E the, is that the right word? I don’t know. It’s it’s like, you know, how did you get into such a, such a, a great niche?

David: Uh, it’s funny. A lot of people ask me that, cuz it is a, it’s a sweet gig man, flying around the world, hearing inspiring leaders, tell emotional stories. Uh, so how do I get into it? , you know, part of my interest in this work is the strategic piece of it. And I talk about different types of stories. Leaders should be selecting certain kinds of stories intentionally and connecting them to outcomes.

And one really powerful personal story that leaders have is the, the origin. Story. It’s a great identity story, especially for people who are thinking about meaning. So, so you’re asking me for one of the origin stories. I have a lot of them. So here here’s one, here’s one of, of what brought me into this work.

So. I actually grew up, uh, in new Orleans and, uh, Louisiana and, uh, my family were, were members of this small conservative church. It was a fundamentalist church, very conservative. And it was, it was the central organizing. Aspect of our lives. I mean, we, we went there multiple times of a, a week. The people in this church were the people, we, we had dinner with it.

It was like everything centered around it. And it was a church that, that hurt people. And as a kid, These are the most important people in my world. I, I, I love them. And so I kept having this experience of why are people getting hurt here? If you’re, if you’re a member of this church and you get divorced, you’re gonna have a really painful experience in this community.

If, if you’re a woman who has skills for leadership, you’re gonna get hurt in this system. I remember one year, uh, a man committed suicide. We found out later he was gay. And I remember how silent everybody was. Nobody talked about this. And I remember thinking, did we have something to do with this? And so as a kid, you don’t have language for this.

Right. All I know is I felt was this disconnection. And so I carried that with me for a really long time. And, and so it set me on this path of inquiry of. I, I knew these people who I love did not. Most of ’em, I don’t think wanted to hurt people, but when we came together, we did things that were hurt. What is that?

What is happening when people come together collectively and they start behaving in ways that might be different than how they would behave separately. And so that brought me into organizational work and my career has been looking at rewards systems, which I did not enjoy that very much. And then it brought me into the work of organizational learning.

If you’ve read Peterson in systems theory, and that started getting me closer to the answers. Ultimately where I’ve landed is on this topic of story. And what are the stories we’re telling ourselves about ourselves? And could we get different results simply by telling different stories? And so that’s the work that I.

Dan: love that. I love that. So just to kind of add another dimension to that, like, how does that, how does all that, that journey translate to, to like the day in day out of, of work? Like, were you in organizational, like, like HR, were you like, where are some of those stopping points along, along the way before, you know, before getting into launching your own thing?

David: Okay, so perfect question be because one of the other story types that I wanna share today, which is a great identity, meaning making story that entrepreneurs might be thinking about, including you, Dan. Uh, it, it’s a story that I call the leap. The leap. And the idea is that, especially, you know, we’re in this age of entrepreneurship where lots of people are stepping into things that are new.

Well, that’s a great story to tell. And the way you tell that story, it’s not, oh, I’m, I’m doing this new thing. And I just got here and I’m trying to figure it out. And there’s lots of people who’ve been doing this longer than me. It’s not that it’s. I come from this other world and I bring with me something that makes me different.

I bring a gift. Into this work that I’m doing now. So my work now to answer your question is organizational learning. You know, I’ve been working with Coca-Cola and IBM and Google to, to create leadership development. I actually began my career in advertising. So for the first few years of my career, I was a copywriter.

I worked at big advertising agencies in, uh, Dallas, Texas, and in Atlanta, Georgia. And I loved the creative process and, and that story driven work also. Right. I, I learned early in my career, if I tell a story, people will buy more. Coca-Cola um, after a couple years of doing that, I started getting frustrated because I was spending 60 hours a week writing about hamburgers, you know, um, I was writing about stuff I didn’t care about, and I knew I wanted to write about.

Leadership and innovation and teams. So, so I quit my job at the ad agency. I actually went to different HR training industries and all I had was my advertising portfolio. So, you know, like on the big expo floor, they have all the training companies with booths. I, I went from booth to booth showing people my advertising portfolio.

I was naive. I was like 24 years old. I showed people my ads and said, could you use this kind of thinking in the learning work that you do. so that’s kind of the journey that brought me into organizational learning. I, I still kind of think of myself as an ad guy now instead of selling Coca-Cola I help ideas move through organizations.

Dan: I love it. And then when you left that, that marketing role, did you L did you join another organizational learning company or did you decide at what point did you go out on your own?

David: 1994 was the year. Uh, I have been on my own for 25 years now or more. Yeah.

Dan: Yeah. Wow. Well, well, 25 years. Does that add up that doesn’t, I’m trying to do the

David: Oh, don’t call me out on my, oh, getting close to

Dan: 30. Yeah. Yeah. That’d be that’d. Bemo that’d be thir 28. Uh it’s it’s more, you gotta give yourself some more credit. You’ve been at this a long time. Um, yeah. Yeah.

David: yours who are watching can see a little bit of the gray hair.

Dan: Exactly. Exactly. Don’t mean to call you out on your, on your mouth. but yeah, so, so you did some, did some time with some other companies before stepping out and launching your own.

David: Yeah, um, with, with advertising agencies, but, but since then, literally for the past three decades, um, I’ve partnered with organizations never internally. So I did a lot of work with Coca-Cola. Um, in communications work, I wrote some of their annual reports. I was a speech writer for their CEO. With IBM. I did team development work that ended up going all around the world for IBM.

So, so communications and organizational learning with a, with a foundation of storytelling has always been a part of my career.

Dan: That’s great. That’s great. And did you feel like your love for storytelling? Did it, like what was the, the Genesis of that? I mean, you, you told, you told us a little bit about the, the, you know, the, your church experience, but like when did story as a, as a category, as a lens for the world, like emerge in your, you know, in your story,

David: It, it, it was a, it was a dawning awareness, uh, because it really, it truly was the common element to all of the work that I was doing from advertising to organizational learning, where I really started to notice it was, uh, in the late 1990s. Uh, I was doing some work with Coca-Cola and, uh, they were on this journey, this transformation journey to become what is known as a learning organiz. If you’ve read Peterson, getting the fifth discipline, you know, it was a bestselling book in the 1990s. It was like a bestseller for 10 years. It’s all these arts and practices of what does it look like to learn together? And so Coca-Cola was investing, bringing the entire system into this journey of organizational learning and early in their work, they came up against a problem, which was nobody at Coke understood what they were talking about. Some people can read the fifth discipline and they love the systems thinking stuff. Most people found it. Yeah. Impossible to access. And so as a communications guy, they said, they asked me, could you create a solution that helps people at Koch? Understand what we mean? When we say we’re becoming a learning organization.

And so I, I wrote this silly story. About a, a flock of sheep that outwits a pack of hungry wolves. And in the process, they display the characteristics of a, of a learning organization. And I, I had a buddy who was a children’s book, illustrator, Bobby, and I said, Hey, Bobby, I need you to do me a favor. You know, draw me some really crazy illustrations of some sheep and some wolves.

And I called this manuscript out, learning the Wolf.

Dan: Yeah.

David: And Koch ended up not buying it, but I brought it to a publisher and outlining the wolves is now like in 12 different languages. It went all around the world. It keeps selling, it’s like a quarter million copies and all these different, and I still get calls from people who are, who are, who are putting on out learning the wolves.

Puppet shows a as, as a way of, of creating this conversation. So, Dan, that was probably the moment where I really. This inquiry around storytelling where I said, all right, why did that work?

Dan: yeah,

David: trying to write a hit book. I was trying to solve a problem for my clients. Why did, and that brought me really deep into the story conversation.

Dan: I love it. It’s well, it feels like you, you knew it at some level in your bones, right? Like you had the intuition to, to, to frame it in that way. And then that kind of brought it, brought it into the, for the forefront. And so then how do you, let’s just do kind of dig into your expertise a little bit here, cause I’m, I’m curious for listeners that maybe less familiar with story.

What are we, what are we talking about when we talk about story?

David: Ah, I, I bet your listeners all have an answer to that. If I were to said to your listeners, what is this story? One thing a lot of people say is, well, it has a beginning, a middle and an end. Okay. Yeah, that’s pretty good. Um, I have a friend who says, well, yeah, when, when I went in for my, to my proctologist for my colonoscopy that had a middle beginning and end also, and I don’t recommend it.

But, but yeah, as a beginning,

Dan: That’s not a story we

David: um, I, a story is. About people and the things that happen to people. And that sounds really simple, but I’m working with a lot of technology leaders who are, you know, they, they’ve got these slide decks with, with data all over them and they’re bringing those forward to their marketplace and they’re not getting the engagement they want.

And I’m saying to them and their markets are saying, show me who you. Let let us, let us see more of you, put you in the message. And some of my really smart technology leaders really struggle with that, you know?

Dan: yeah. Yeah. I love that. Well, I know that, you know, from a psychological perspective, Story literally is who you are. If you try to find, you know, dissect a person to try to find their identity, the closest thing that you can get is, um, a story that they tell themselves a story that we repeat, um, that, that we assign meaning to as humans we’re meaning, meaning making machines.

And so identity, like really, you could say human beings at our, at our very core, the way we understand ourselves is through that lens. It is literally like we are stories. Um, and so, um, I think it’s a great,

David: Identity is nothing but stories. You’re it? It’s funny. Cuz when I work with leaders, everybody says the same thing everybody says, oh, I can’t think of any stories. Everybody says. I can’t think of any stories, which is, which is, I love it when people say that, cuz it’s so easily disprovable. It’s not that you can’t think of any stories it’s that you have so many, your brain has nothing but stories overlapping other stories.

When you go to sleep tonight, your brain’s gonna keep telling stories cuz it can’t stop. So it’s not that you can’t think of any it’s that we don’t know which ones to isolate. And so that’s a lot of my work is helping people identify the stories. They should be. The,

Dan: What I imagine some of that too, is like believing that our stories are worth sharing. Right. I feel like that’s, that’s where, where that’s, where I go, where I go with that. When someone says that they don’t, they don’t have any stories to tell, it’s not that they don’t have any stories. It’s just that they don’t think that their stories are worth being heard or worth, worth repeating.

Um, or at least don’t belong in the context in which you’re asking them to share them.

David: the biggest part of the work that I do is helping leaders work through fear. You’re right. It’s it’s fear. You just described fear, you know, and it’s, it’s part of this technology that a story, because when I tell you a story, I just told you a couple vulnerable stories. I felt a little weird, you know, there’s still a part of me.

That’s going, Ooh, I hope this is okay. You know, I, I have some shame around the church stuff. Ooh. I, I, I hope Dan doesn’t judge. Right? I’m I’m I still encounter that. So that is a feature of this technology. That is story, because. The reason my scientists don’t wanna tell stories is if they’re just showing data now, I’ve, you know, just vomit up everything, you know, on a slide.

Now I get to show you how smart I am without actually revealing myself, you know? And, and so to take that next step and show who we are, we are in this age where we’re being called to more humanized leadership and story is the fastest path to that. I think.

Dan: I love that. I love that when I think that’s one of the questions I wanna wanna ask. I think you’re, you’re getting, getting to it is like, what is the like it’s it’s story can feel. I think I tried to use, I keep trying to find that word ethereal. That’s not, not, not really quite the word word, but it’s like so hard to like grasp and, and put your finger on.

And so when you’re engaging with leaders and with organization organizations, what is the pain point that leads them? To engage with someone like you around building about story, story building, because it’s not like they wake up one day and they’re like, Hey, we need more, we need better storytelling around here.

Um, and so the, I guess the other way to ask this question is like, what is the result? What is the, what is the end of this journey that you take people on look like for organizations.

David: So, so when we talk about outcomes, why should leaders be telling stories? There’s, there’s a lot of reasons to do it. The most common pain points that, that I’m hearing from my clients. One is disengagement, you know,

Dan: Mm.

David: People it’s not that they don’t know it’s that they don’t care. Well, story is the language of creating that engagement.

People are more likely to care and believe when we tell stories. So, so disengagement another is we’re not being heard. And when we tell stories, stories are particularly good at punching through the, the noise we’re in this noisy world where mind shares an increasingly precious resource that’s harder and harder to get.

And story is especially good at getting that, that mind share.

Dan: Yep.

David: It’s great for selling right. Again, I learned that early in my career, when I tell stories, people buy Coca-Cola. So sales people want this, uh, culture and belonging work. Everybody’s talking about employee experience right now, you know, talented young people are leaving.

What are the stories we’re creating to, to, to have the culture in the meaning that, that they believe in that will make them want to stay? Another outcome is simply connect. We’ve come through this COVID experience. A lot of people are saying, you know what? I’ve, I’ve hired an entire team over the past two years, and we’ve only seen each other on zoom.

And now we’re gonna be in the room together for the first time. What a great opportunity to tell stories, to take a team that’s been fractured and isolated and reconnect them in a deeply human way. So there’s a lot of outcomes for this.

Dan: I love it. I love it. Well, as people are listening, they might be thinking, you know, how does this, how does apply to me? You know, they’re, they’re in a place where they’re looking for some, maybe they’re looking at, at making some sort of career change. Maybe they’re just looking for more, more meaning, more purpose in, in their own work.

You know, they’re not. Not organizations may they may or may not be leaders, but I, I know that there’s, you know, from my own work with people, we do a lot of story work. That’s a, a big part of, of the vocational process that I’m always inviting people to that, that vocation is a, a journey of identity and identity formation.

Um, and that’s. Like we already talked about identity is, is story. But I’d be curious to hear some of your, how you would speak to these folks and say, here are some things you should be thinking about in how you tell your story and things that you can do even right now to help get clarity on where you’re going and what you wanna do with your life.

David: Sure. Well, the first I wanna comment on leaders, uh, which is my. But, but I think that’s your audience too. I use that term leadership pretty broadly. If your, if your listeners are pointing to the future and saying, let’s go this way, they’re leaders, that’s leadership,

Dan: that’s a great point. That’s a great

David: and they should be telling stories about that.

And, and so, so, and I work with a lot of entrepreneurs for individual storytelling as well. And I, I start with select. A lot of people talk about how to tell a good story and emotional content and protagonist and a conflict and all, and that’s great stuff. I, I, I have those conversations too, but first I start with selection.

Which stories should you be telling? Uh, one of the resources that I use with people is this, it, it, everybody loves this one. This is the leadership story deck for your listeners. Um, you know, on the video, I’m, I’m holding up a. A box, uh, that is this product and it’s a deck of cards. It’s dozens of cards, of ideas, of story types that you could be telling, including innovation story, sales stories, but they’re also personal stories as well.

I’ve already shared a couple types with you, right? One is the origin story. I call it a leader with conviction. There’s something that brings me to this work. Then there’s another one I showed you, which is, uh, the leap. I used to be in this world and now I’m in this world and I bring something with me that makes me special and different.

Here’s another one that, that your listeners might be thinking about. And that is the values story, the values story. There, there’s some things that I care about. There’s some things I believe. That I’m not going to compromise that make me different. And when you work with me and partner with me, you’re going to feel and see those things.

And it’s going to make me working with me different from working with the, the other people. Um, so here’s an example of one and, um, This, one’s kind of interesting. Um, this one’s recent. I, I just told this story, uh, a couple weeks ago, I originally put it on my Instagram page and then I thought, I wonder what would happen if I put this personal vulnerable story on LinkedIn. And so I, other than LinkedIn, I haven’t shared this publicly, so I’m, I’m gonna test this with you in, with your audience.

Dan: let’s do it.

David: So I, I, so I printed it out cuz I know, I, I don’t think I can do a, a screen share on Z caster. So, so on LinkedIn. So there’s the photo. There’s a photo of me. This is in my childhood bedroom where I grew up and there’s a mural of the Beatles on the wall.

And it’s, if you’re a Beatles fan, if you know yellow submarine, it’s the front cover of the yellow submarine album. I painted this as a giant mural of my wall. And so there’s a picture of the adult, me sitting underneath this mural and, um, Here is, uh, oh, I closed the page. So I’m going to pull this page up again.

Here’s the story that I told on LinkedIn. Dan, I don’t know if you do editing. This might be where you want to cut out five seconds here. It is found it found it. Okay. Maybe you don’t have to cut out any, all right. Here’s how I put this personal story on LinkedIn, right? With this photo? Um, I, I said, mom, dad, I want to paint the Beatles on the wall of my bedroom.

This was in 1982 and I was 14 years old. They said, okay. They didn’t even pause during dinner. They just said, don’t get paint on the carpet. They always said yes and celebrated my weird ideas. They believed I loved them for that. And it gave me my career. It’s a gift that I was intentional about bringing forward to my own kids.

So I went with yellow submarine because well, it’s easy flat colors and two dimensions. Revolver. Would’ve been way too hard when hurricane Katrina ripped our house apart in 2005, this is in new Orleans. The wall with the Beatles stayed dry. It was a miracle in proof that God loves the Beatles. Mom and dad, mom and dad rebuilt the entire house around that wall. years later, John Paul, George, and Ringo are still there. this year, we moved mom out of the house. Since dad died last summer, she just hasn’t been able to take care of herself. Last week, we moved all the furniture out. Mom asked me if I wanted any of the furniture, but I said, no, I don’t need anything.

I have the stories. And, and that’s enough. It was so. Weird walking through the empty house. I could hear echoes of kids laughing. I could hear shouts of war and I shot you. You’re dead in the backyard, but mostly I heard the Beatles. I am the walrus good day, sunshine, Ringo solo in the Abbey road side two medley. I don’t know what the new owners will do with the Beatles mur. Probably paint over it. Why wouldn’t they, if they don’t have the story, I stopped by my room last to say goodbye to the boys. I raised my hand and returned the, the love sign to John linen. Goodbye. I said, thank you. Love is all you need.

Dan: That’s beautiful.

David: Well, thank you. I. I posted that on LinkedIn. And I thought, th I wonder if this is weird, cuz it, it wasn’t a business story. Right? I mean, I, I don’t talk about my offerings. I’m demonstrating storytelling, but I don’t, I’m not pitching.

Dan: Mm-hmm

David: And remember, we’re talking about punching through the noise.

Here’s what’s interesting about this post I’m. I’m gonna hold up the screenshot again. If you look, where is it?

Dan: It’s a little bit fuzzy on my side, so you’ll have to just narrate it for us.

David: um, 18,000 going on 19,000 views of that post, which for me is a lot. I don’t, I don’t know what other people get. I never get that. Yeah.

Dan: I

David: I get, yeah, when I post stuff, I usually get a hundred views, 120, you know, going on 19,000 views of that state. Isn’t that crazy?

Dan: Yeah.

David: Even better.

Dan: that? Yeah, well, yeah, well continue. Yeah.

David: No, no, no. What, what do I make of it is, is the better question. I like that better than where I was going. What do I make of it? It’s I think it’s, it’s a subject that, that you could speak to beautifully, which is a, a hunger for meaning. You know, I, I find that LinkedIn is a pretty sterile kind of environment, you know, and this is the first time I’ve pre presented something with vulnerability, with emotion.

Where I allowed people to see more of who I am and the reward is 18,000 views. Right? And so, as we’re talking about this humanization of the organizational world, I go back to my original statement, show us who you are, let us see more of you. And, and not just a value statement on your website. Don’t just say, I, I believe in entrepre.

Tell us the story that bring, breathe life into those beliefs, with the, the, the living stories that you have.

Dan: Yeah. Mm. That was so good. That was really, really beautiful, really moving. And I feel like, um, Yeah, a good challenge of like how much like we’re so we could be so afraid of telling those really vulnerable stories, afraid of, you know, that people will think it’s weird reading, something like that on LinkedIn.

Um, and. Or, or even, even if they should be shared at all. Right. But then to like, see, you know, you leading by example, sharing that, um, sharing that piece and then seeing how, how people respond. I think it’s real a real, a real challenge, um, in a really positive way to, to, to, to go and do likewise right. To, to share the stories you have to share.

And people, people are hungry for. Hmm.

David: That’s the challenge and you, you know, a lot of my work is with European organizations and this. Americans struggle with this. I think this is even harder for my European leaders, cuz they say, oh, this is something Americans do. Right? All the, all the emotional stuff is what Americans do and, and the French, the French don’t do this.

But even in that culture, it’s, it’s changing right now. The, the, the European culture, the new generation of talent is coming in and expecting a different kind of more human conversation. They’re talking about meaning and all of the things you’re talking about, Dan. So there’s this huge. Shift happening right now, not just in the United States, but all around the.

Dan: I love it. I love it. Um, when, when people, I guess, just to, to be. I don’t know, like is the invitation is, is what you’re calling people to, to just share, just share stories more. Or is there a, like, how do you choose which stories? How do you, you know, I’m gonna pull up my LinkedIn and I’m gonna say something, right?

Like, um, I mean, clearly that. You, you worked on that piece, like that was very well, very beautifully. You, you took, you took us there, you know? Um, but how do you, how do you help people think about what is, what is this, what are the stories that they should share and what is maybe too personal or too vulnerable or too traumatic.

And, um, and do you need to have an end goal in, in mind as to why you’re sharing what you’re sharing? How do you think, how do you think about those kinds of questions?

David: I, I think about exactly those questions and the, the focus of my work is on the intentionality of this be because we’re, we’re already telling stories. You know, if, if you go. When you sit down for dinner with your family tonight, and they’re, they’re gonna say, Hey, what, what did you do today? I mean, you’re, you’re gonna, you’re going to fall back to this story language.

So we’re already doing this all the time. And what I’m saying is that as, as leaders, if you’re an entrepreneur or a leader that we want to. To focus on outcome. Um, one of the resources, another resource that I use with my groups is this, I’m holding up, uh, an image that is the story canvas. It’s a large visual framework for after you’ve selected a story from the story deck and said, okay, here’s a story I want to tell.

Then we use sticky notes and we build it on the story canvas and in. I’ll share this for free with your listeners. If they’d like to have a copy, we’ll, we’ll provide a, a, a way to reach out at the end. But the last box is a story canvas. There’s a place down here at the bottom where it’s, and now we know there’s a reason.

I told you this story. And so at the end of the story, there’s an invitation. Either for people to believe something or feel something or do something. And so that’s the strategic and the intentional piece of it is identifying the outcome. And then making sure is the story, getting me to

Dan: Mm, I love it. I love it. That’s so that’s so great. It’s be beautiful work that you’re, that you’re doing. I really, I really love it. Definitely, you know, just resonates so, so much with, yeah. So much with what I, what I do. And, and, and, um, yeah. I’m curious how in all of your work, how do you think about words?

Like what, whichever words are in your vernacular, calling purpose, um, vocation, which, which words do you use when you’re thinking about what you do and, and how, how do you think about them?

David: We at our dinner table, we talk about those things openly. You know, my, my kids are both in their twenties now, but for years we’ve talked about calling and my kids just grew up with this expectation. That work is not just a means to a paycheck, but it’s an expression of who you are. And what’s special and what’s different about you.

And so, so they know that the, the journey of life is figuring out how to be more of myself as an and express that in the work that I do. So this is a huge conversation for us, and it’s why I was excited to be on your, do your podcast, cuz you’re, you’re hosting this beautiful dialogue around this.

Dan: thank you. That means so much. Um, and I love that you’re, you know, L lucky kids to grow up in a household that’s so, you know, that’s addressing it head on, right? Like, I feel like so often this conversation is just a conversation. People have to have. F figure navigate on their own or find their way into, into which is, you know, why I, why I’m trying to make this resource, why I am building this resource as a, as another way in.

Um, so I I’m, I’m jealous of your, your, your kids having that experience. Um, it’s

David: No, don’t we, I, do you have young kids or?

Dan: I do. I have a six and a half year old, almost four year old and almost two year old. So just a, a few years behind you.

David: What an opportunity. You have to tell stories at the dinner table. I, I was, I made sure to tell my kids, like resilience stories that, you know, the times daddy failed, but it was okay. Um, and they loved those stories. You know, the, the times that I felt alone, but I knew I was loved,

Dan: yeah.

David: instead, instead of shaking your finger and telling your kids, don’t, don’t give.

Tell stories about a time you wanted to give up, but you’re

Dan: love that. I love that that’s such a great invitation and, and just in general, like instead of just telling them don’t more often, tell them, tell them, tell them the stories of why they shouldn’t, right. Like the stories from your own, from your own story, which is, which is great. That’s really, that’s really fantastic.

I love it. If we could, um, put a billboard on the moon. That everybody could see this, this magical universe I’m creating here. Uh, like what’s the message that you’d want the whole world to, to read it. Doesn’t have to be a literal billboard. We don’t need a billboard on the moon, but I’m just, uh, what’s the message that you could send to everyone.

If we could send one message to every person in the world.

David: You win for coolest question. Um, Okay. Here’s maybe a counterintuitive response because I I’m using this word storytelling. I keep saying, telling it sounds like a one way transaction and it’s not because after the story has been told, now the invitation is for us to do the sense making together. So the billboard says, listen,

Dan: Mm. Oh, that’s good. I love that. I love that. Yeah, that speaks to me. I feel it. I feel it. My bones. Uh, thank you

David: I see, I see it in, I see the billboard on, on, on the moon in my head. It’s it’s a beautiful image. Thank you for that. Get me how.

Dan: that’s so great. Well, this has been so fun. I feel like we could go on indefinitely, uh, geek out on story and love all your expertise that, um, and, and what you’re doing with, you know, with, with leaders and organizations. If, if people wanna follow along with your work, is there anything specific you’d like to invite people to.

David: Um, so if you’d like the free resources, I’ll send you some of the cards in PDF format, as well as the, the story canvas. Send me an email. I assume you’ll put this in the, the show notes as well. Right? Email is David David Hutchins. Dot com and you gotta spell Hutchins correctly with an E N S not an I [email protected] or just go to my website, storytelling leader.com.

Dan: Perfect. I’ll make sure to link up to those in the show notes. So people can just click right on, on, through. Thank you so much, David, for being on the show. This has just been so fun. I look forward to staying connected and, and watching, watching you out there doing your work.

David: Thank you for hosting this, this beautiful and, and really. Urgent for our times conversation, you are, you are bringing a great gift forward. So thank you for your work, Dan.Dan: Thank you. That means a lot.

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